No-fault insurance in Florida on its way out?

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No-fault insurance is any type of insurance contract under which insureds are indemnified for losses by their own insurance company, regardless of fault in the incident generating losses. In this sense, it is no different from first-party coverage.

But here in Florida, no-fault insurance may be something of the past. Why? Apparently we have a high number of fraudulent car accidents which equal higher costs, or “fraud taxes” for us. According to the insurance companies, the cost of fraud in Florida is one of the highest in the country. Lawmakers blame the current system for problems and are now looking for change.

There are two measures (HB 267 and HB 269) filed in the House directed at making bodily injury coverage, which a vast majority of motorists in Florida already purchase, the replacement for no-fault. The measures replicate a draft being put together by a Senator from Altamonte Springs. These are additional changes from the legislation that had passed last year.

The 2012 law, signed by Gov. Rick Scott, requires that people involved in motor vehicle crashes seek treatment within 14 days and allows up to $10,000 in benefits for emergency medical conditions and $2,500 for non-emergency conditions. The bill was considered a last ditch effort to maintain the PIP system, which requires motorists to carry $10,000 in medical coverage. Ditching no-fault for bodily-injury, which provides coverage if a motorist causes an accident that hurts someone else, is expected to put more questions of medical coverage into the courts as injured parties seek to recoup expenses from at-fault drivers. There has already been challenges to the 2012 laws. I recently blogged about the group who challenged the 2012 PIP law and the recent decision by the First District Court of Appeal. The court upheld the statute and it looks like it is now going to proceed.

Hopefully, politicians will not punish the healthcare providers who need PIP to get paid and the injured car accident victims who need PIP to get treated . They should not allow the actions of a few to do away with a statute that helps so many Floridians. Why not give this law some time to see how it shakes out before making any quick decisions.

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