Is the end finally near for PIP coverage in Florida?

Fri Jan 6th, 2017 on     Insurance Law,    

Over the course of the last year, our blog has been closely following the growing debate over the utility and even the future of personal injury protection — otherwise known as PIP — here in Florida.

To recap, PIP, or no-fault insurance, has been mandated by state law for over 40 years with drivers currently required to maintain a minimum of $10,000 in coverage. While the original motivation for PIP was to help relieve the court system from having to hear small-dollar cases and to help accident victims secure payments faster, it has since been falling steadily out of favor with the general public.

Indeed, despite multiple attempts by lawmakers to repair the system and address problems with fraud, PIP rates have continued to increase dramatically with some South Florida drivers seeing spikes of up to 40 percent and the Sunshine State as a whole currently paying the fourth-highest car insurance premiums in the nation.

This reality, coupled with the fact that many drivers already have health insurance via private plans or Medicare, has resulted in a growing call for PIP coverage to be eliminated altogether.

Interestingly enough, Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) introduced a bill late last month — Senate Bill 156 — which calls for PIP to be gone by 2020.

Brandes, who sponsored a similar measure last year, has argued that the benefits of eliminating PIP coverage have been aptly demonstrated by previous research, including a study released this past September showing that the elimination of PIP would save Florida drivers $81 per car or roughly $1 billion per year.

It remains to be seen whether SB 156 will gain the necessary traction. Even if the bill manages to be passed by lawmakers, there is no guarantee that it would be signed by Governor Rick Scott, who has previously defended the PIP system.

Stay tuned for updates …

Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if your insurance company has unnecessarily delayed payment in connection to an auto accident claim or otherwise underpaid your claim.

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