As the current Florida legislative Session wears on, once again a major topic of concern is our current law regarding automobile insurance.Every year, we hear our legislators bemoan the fraud inherent with this system and question how to fix it.
Make no mistake, there do exist individuals and businesses that abuse this system by submitting fraudulent claims. But the legislative response, especially in the House, always tends to strip consumerâ€™s rights to simply add to Big Insurance already substantial bottom line.
The Current Law
To understand this issue, we must first understand the current Florida laws regarding Automobile Insurance. To begin, the only mandated coverages are property damage coverage of $10,000 and Persona Insurance Protection (PIP) of $10,000. Property damage covers damage an â€œat fault â€œdriver does to the property of another, and PIP provides the insured and family a â€œpotâ€ of 10,000 to apply to medical or health care bills related to injuries and, in some cases, to apply towards lost wages, arising from the operation of a motor vehicle. It is important to note that these benefits are not fault
based, e.g. no matter who caused the accident, theses benefits flow from the
insured drivers or owners own policy. Additionally, the law provides that there
can be no recovery for â€œpain and Sufferingâ€ from the at fault driver unless the
injured person suffers â€œdeath, loss of limb, significant scarring or permanent
injuryâ€.Â When these laws were passed, there was much publicity on how they would greatly reduce all Floridians Auto Insurance Premiums!
The Actual Effect
As any Floridian driver knows, the great reductions in our insurance premiums never materialized.Â Instead, we now live in a state where the only insurance one needs to be
â€œlegalâ€Â is mere $10,000 to fix someoneâ€™s property and $10,000 to pay for oneâ€™s own
medical expenses.Â Accordingly, under these policies, if oneâ€™s medical expenses exceed $10,000, well… too bad.
Additionally, because of the defined 10,000 pot for medical expenses, an entire shady industry of fraudulent â€œHealth Careâ€ providers sprung up whoâ€™s sole purpose is to grab as many $10,000 â€œpotsâ€ as they can, without any real consideration to the injured patients needs. The final outcome to Floridians thus is continuing premium increases, dwindling treatment options, and in cases of serious injuries and deaths, total financial collapse.
MANDATORY BODILY INJURY COVERAGE!Â Bodily Injury coverage provides money from the at fault drivers insurance to pay for the innocent victims entire damages,
medical, financial and mental.Â 48 out 50 states in the U.S. require that their driver carry this coverage. Of course Florida is only one of two states that do not. This coverage is only logical; it shifts the burden of the injured personâ€™sÂ expense to the person
who caused the injuries. By combining this coverage with a subrogable medical
pay coverage (an amount of money from your own insurer to apply to your medical
bills but then gets paid back through the at fault persons bodily injury coverage), we can afford our citizens economic protection, end the â€œPIP Millsâ€ who exist only to drain PIP benefits, and see a semblance of reasonableness in our insurance premiums.
It is time for our legislators to get serious about protecting Floridians! Instead of dreaming up new ways to limit injured peoples benefits, letâ€™s get in step with rest of the United States and require drivers to carry MANDATORY Bodily Injury Coverage.