Could Personal Injury Protection Insurance Soon Be Eliminated?
Florida is currently one of only two states that do not require its drivers to carry liability insurance. Instead, drivers are required to carry no-fault personal injury protection insurance policies. Drivers in the state pay more than $1,200 in car insurance premiums annually, a figure that ranks among the highest in the nation. Florida lawmakers are currently deciding on a repeal of the state’s personal injury protection policy.
Personal Injury Protection
Florida’s personal injury protection auto insurance policy provides injured drivers immediate medical coverage when an accident happens. The policy grants at least $10,000 in coverage to matter who was at fault in the accident. Personal injury protection was intended to reduce payment delays for those injured in an automobile accident while reducing the number of court resources spent determining fault in a case.
The policy is required for all motor vehicle owners. Unfortunately, the system has been abused in recent years, with the number of fraudulent claims skyrocketing.
Currently, Florida legislators are in the middle of debating a repeal. The House is expected to soon vote on their version of the repeal bill. The Senate’s Banking and Insurance committee recently scheduled debate to discuss their version of the bill.
If repeal were to pass, it would be substituted for bodily injury liability coverage. Drivers would be required to buy higher amounts of the liability coverage, while not having access to personal injury protection.
The proposed House version of repeal would require vehicle owners to purchase at least $25,000 in coverage for the injury or death of one individual and $50,000 for more than one individual beginning in 2019. The Senate version of repeal would require vehicle owners to purchase at least $30,000 in coverage for the injury or death of one individual and $60,000 for more than one individual beginning in 2023.
There is also a difference between the two bills regarding emergency medical coverage, known as MedPay. This feature is designed to combat the fast-reimbursement feature that is a feature of personal injury protection. The Senate bill contains MedPay coverage, but the House version does not contain a MedPay requirement.
Results Of Repeal
If personal injury protection were to be repealed, Florida would join 38 other states that feature a tort system. There would be fewer barriers to pain and suffering awards. Those who were injured in an accident would be able to recoup damages that more accurately represented the distress they went through as a result of the accident. The Florida Justice Association says that there is a moral imperative for an at-fault party to be held responsible for an accident.
Opponents who prefer not to see the policy repealed believe that savings for Florida drivers will be minimal, fraud will still exist, and hospitals and low-income drivers will suffer.
Opponents of repeal have indicated that personal injury protection is the only form of health insurance some of these drivers have. For example, the Florida Hospital Association said that the current system is working for hospitals because it provides basic coverage to the 2.6 million Florida residents without health insurance in case they are involved in an automobile accident.
Colorado was a state that had a mandatory personal insurance policy until it was repealed in 2003. At the time of repeal, Colorado had the 9th-highest auto insurance premium. After repealing the policy, the state’s premium costs fell to the 21st-highest in the nation. Average premiums declined from $921 to $738. The state’s premium rates have stayed stable since repeal.