PIP Changes Possible in the Florida House
Florida’s Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law, aka Personal Injury Protection or PIP, requires all drivers to carry $10, 000 in medical, disability, and funeral protection at minimum. No matter who is at fault, this law applies. Critics of the law, however, say that this isn’t enough to cover health care costs when there is an accident. Because of this, lawmakers are considering changing insurance coverage requirements for drivers.
Rep. Erin Grall has moved forward with legislation to do away with PIP and raise bodily injury coverage to $25, 000 per person and $50, 000 per incident. Drivers must have bodily injury coverage before registering a vehicle. Floridians who have been in accidents support this move after having trouble covering medical expenses and funeral costs after vehicle accidents when one driver only had minimal coverage.
Insurance companies and physician groups oppose the legislation, saying that dumping PIP would shift Florida to a state of litigation. They feel they can’t support this move because they are not protected from phony legal claims. PIP, in fact, has been blamed for insurance fraud. The legislation has been revised several times since 2000 to try and curb the issue but has mainly restricted coverage to drivers.
Lawmakers made changes to Florida’s No-Fault law in 2012, with the aim being to reduce Floridians’ auto premiums and reduce PIP claim amounts. A legislative analysis in January 2014 showed that premiums fell by more than the statewide average of 13 percent. But, a 2016 report on the PIP reforms found that the savings are eroding. The legislation was formed in 1971 to reduce traffic lawsuits.
Grall’s bill made it out of its first committee, but it will be an uphill battle. Similar legislation was also filed by Senator Jeff Brandes, Senator Tom Lee, and Representative Bill Hager.