Why Florida’s Car Insurance Requirements May Be Changing
Currently, Florida operates under a “no-fault” insurance system. This basically means that if you get into a crash, you file a claim with your own insurance provider before seeking damages from the other party’s carrier.
If you carried the required $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, and your medical bills were under this amount, there would be no need to sue the other driver. Only if your injuries crossed a certain threshold could you pursue damages elsewhere.
However, according to a recent article published by the Miami Herald, this could soon change. A bill at the House level seeks to repeal the no-fault insurance system and replace it with something else. Depending on the type of coverage you currently have, this could end up raising your insurance premiums.
What Is the Status of the Bill Right Now?
At the time the Miami Herald reported on the issue, the bill was at the House level. If the House approves the bill, it will go to the governor, who will make a decision. Governor Ron DeSantis is not opposed to the bill, but it is still up in the air as to whether the bill will become law.
If the bill does become final, you could see changes to your policy within a matter of months. It will not happen overnight. Now may be a good idea to review your coverage options in the event that you are required to carry additional types of protection.
What the Proposed Insurance Changes Could Mean for You
Most states work under a fault system. If you’re hurt in an accident, you would usually file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurer. Your total settlement could be affected by things like your role in the accident, the severity of your injuries, and the cost of your financial losses.
Per the Miami Herald, if Florida’s no-fault system is repealed and instead replaced with the more-common fault model, then:
. Driver’s insurance rates may go up.
· Fault will be more closely considered in collisions.
· You may need to carry more forms of coverage.
Colorado repealed their no-fault insurance system in 2003. People in that state saw their insurance rates go down. However, there is no telling whether this will be the same case for Floridians.
Who Wants the No-Fault System Replaced?
For years, both personal injury lawyers and insurance companies have fought over Florida’s current fault system. When you file a claim with your own insurance company under the no-fault model, you can pursue damages for your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. You cannot recover the cost of your pain and suffering; you would have to file a lawsuit to recoup those damages.
Insurance companies want to save money paying out claims. They want the no-fault system to be repealed––but only if they get a say in the matter. As you can imagine, this can get quite complicated.
How Would the Repeal Benefit You?
If the no-fault system is replaced, here are some ways that it could benefit you, such as:
· You could include more losses as part of your insurance claim.
· Careless drivers would be held more accountable for their actions.
· You would be able to recover more money than the minimum required insurance standards that are in place.
How Would the Repeal Work Against You?
There are always two sides to every coin. While having a traditional fault system could offer an array of benefits, it also has its drawbacks, such as:
· Insurance companies may purposefully delay the recovery process to avoid paying for claims.
· Determining fault with evidence can take time.
· In an accident, you would have to file a claim with the other party’s insurer, which may be less inclined to treat your fairly.
The Miami Herald says that one out of every five drivers in Florida is uninsured. If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver today, you would be able to file a claim with your own insurer under the no-fault system.
However, if this repeal takes place and you are hit by an uninsured driver, your options for financial recovery could be limited.
Today’s Required Insurance Minimums
To legally drive in Florida, you must carry insurance. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, all motorists are required to have:
· A minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage
· A minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability
Here is some more information for reference:
· PIP coverage covers your losses if you were injured in a collision (how much you can collect will depend on the details of the liable policy).
· Property damage liability pays for the cost of replacing or fixing the other party’s vehicle.
· Bodily injury liability (which is not required in Florida––yet) pays for the other party’s losses.
If a new policy is instated, people would have to carry bodily injury liability insurance. Per month, this could cost them more in auto insurance.
Can I Sue Under Florida’s No-Fault System?
A lot of people hear the term “no fault” and assume this bars them from filing car accident lawsuits. This is simply not the case. You can sue the other driver if you were hurt in a crash, however, your case must fit certain criteria as described under Florida Statute § 627.737.
You also must file your case within the parameters set by Florida Statute § 95.11. The state gives you four years to file an auto accident lawsuit. Remember: claims are different than lawsuits. You may have an even shorter amount of time to file your claim with the liable insurer.
Big changes for Florida’s auto insurance policy could be on the horizon. But until we know the full details about the proposed legislation, there is no need to concern yourself.
You can track the status of the bill by checking the Florida Senate’s website. Here, you can also get announcements from Tallahassee, check the status of committee meetings and hearings, and review other instated laws.