Back in the 1970s, lawmakers in Florida sought to reduce the burden that constant car accident lawsuits imposed on the courts. That’s when they devised a system of no-fault benefits that every driver was required to purchase, called personal injury protection benefits, or PIP insurance. It’s intended to serve as a basic level of medical coverage for individuals who are injured in car crashes – no matter who is at-fault.
The law requires drivers to buy a minimum of $10,000 in PIP protection, and only if their damages exceed that amount or if the injuries are debilitating, permanent or scarring can those injured seek compensation outside of that system, per F.S. 627.736. Drivers here also aren’t required to buy bodily injury liability insurance (though it’s usually a good idea).
But now, legislators say they are going to be rethinking Florida’s PIP no-fault auto insurance this spring. A study commissioned by state leaders shows that if the PIP system were tossed, drivers would save an average of $80 on their policies. That doesn’t sound like a ton, but of course Florida has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country and we’ve also got one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers – 1 in 4. Meanwhile, the cost of PIP benefits has soared in recent years, climbing 14.4 percent between 2013 and 2014 and then again by 25.7 percent between 2015 and 2016. Continue reading →