I had the opportunity to do an interview with WDBO in Orlando yesterday, talking about the New Florida PIP Auto Insurance Law, which took full effect on January 1, 2013. Here is a summary with references of the questions the interview focused on:
Joe Ruble from WDBO had some questions regarding the recent changes to Florida’s insurance coverage.
1.) Will the premiums be cut as well?
2.)If there’s less coverage, in the case of an accident, what’s a driver to do if they are found responsible and may have to pay out of pocket?
Here are the answers:
1) Unfortunately no. The final bill which became law did not require a mandatory minimum premium decrease from insurers. All insurance companies had to do was file some type of explanation with the Office of Insurance Regulation as to why they could decrease rates. That is exactly what almost all of them did. Here is a link which explains the same. http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/11/average-pip-savings-under-new-car-insurance-law-25-percent.html.
Basically, in exchange for losing 75% of available medical benefits, Florida drivers are getting a 2.5% premium savings.
Also, this does not account for anticipated increases that this law will cause to other lines of coverage, such as bodily injury and uninsured motorist coverage increases. http://www.floir.com/siteDocuments/HB119ImpactAnalystFINAL08202012.pdf.
2) Great question, and unfortunately, the answer probably involves that person’s health insurance, if any, and the hiring of a lawyer. The monies that pip used to cover will have to be made up from somewhere. For folks who have health insurance, the health insurer should be obligated for any charges that PIP doesn’t cover. However, most, if not all, health insurers, will inquire if the treatment is a result of an auto accident, and if it is, they are hesitant to pay. Usually, in my office, we have to step in, explain what PIP covers and does not cover to the health insurer, before we receive their cooperation.
Secondly, most of, if not the majority of outstanding medical expenses will come from a settlement with the at fault person’s insurance carrier. This is where Floridians are really getting the short end of the stick. About 50% of drivers in Florida do not have bodily injury liability coverage – the coverage that pays damages for personal injuries to another. That means that if you are injured by someone without BI, and you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you could be left without any source of recovery, after PIP
Hire an Experienced Orlando Auto Accident Attorney
The best thing to do, to insure the cooperation and proper investigation of all available coverage, is to retain an experienced accident attorney as soon after the accident as possible. Even a minor accident can get complicated, and it is better to be safe than sorry, especially given the very fast deadlines this law requires.