Is PIP auto insurance destined for extinction in Florida?

Over the last week, we’ve been breaking down the types of insurance coverage that Florida motorists are legally required to secure, including a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability insurance and a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance.

What may come as a surprise to many people to learn is that this longstanding requirement that motorists must maintain PIP coverage has long been under attack by state officials from the Insurance Commissioner to the Chief Financial Officer.

Indeed, this disillusionment with PIP coverage comes from concerns that the system is being exploited by far too many unscrupulous motorists and that this fraudulent conduct, in turn, is causing insurance companies to pass the cost on to otherwise honest Floridians in the form of increased premiums.

As it turns out, lawmakers attempted to address this problem back in 2012 by passing a bill designed to essentially reform the PIP system, establishing benchmarks for insurers to lower rates, and setting forth certain restrictions relating to medical treatment.

For instance, people seeking coverage for medical expenses under their PIP insurance were henceforth required to seek treatment within 14 days of an accident, and permitted up to $10,000 for emergency medical treatment and up to $2,500 for non-emergency treatment.

Fast forward to the present and lawmakers, still awaiting firm figures on fraud reduction from the insurance industry, are now considering legislation that would terminate the PIP coverage requirement as soon as 2019.

Specifically, House Bill 997 and Senate Bill 1112, introduced in the weeks before Christmas, would require motorists to carry a minimum of both property damage liability insurance and, instead of PIP, bodily injury liability insurance, which would cover any serious injuries or fatalities for which the policyholder is responsible.

Supporters argue that the legislation would reduce fraud, as more cases would have to be decided in the court system.

It will be incredibly interesting to see whether the call to end PIP insurance gains the necessary traction. Stay tuned for updates …

If you have questions or concerns relating to any insurance law matter, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.