Florida’s Insurance Commissioner, Kevin McCarty, recently proposed to repeal the Personal Injury Protection car insurance system, allegedly due to its alleged propensity for fraudulent activity.

Florida’s no-fault system of “PIP” insurance essentially provides $10,000 coverage for reasonable and customary medical expenses and loss of income related to a covered accident, regardless of who is found to be at fault. 

Insurance Commissioner McCarty made the suggestion at the Florida Chamber of Commerce Summit in Orlando.  Commissioner McCarty compared the state of New Hampshire as an example of a state that does not require PIP or similar coverage.  However, New Hampshire’s own Division of Motor Vehicles even “strongly recommends and urges all owners of motor vehicles to carry standard liability and property damage insurance.”

Since its inception, there have been numerous attempts to repeal PIP (Florida’s Automobile Reparations Reform Act), but none have been successful.  While some alternative measures have been proposed, Florida has a large uninsured population, which without PIP insurance, would potentially leave many drivers vulnerable to pay for their own costly medical treatment and the hospitals who couldn’t receive those benefits for the emergent care provided would suffer financially.

Another argument for dropping the PIP requirement is that under the Affordable Care Act, everyone is required to carry health insurance, and that means carrying PIP is somewhat redundant.  However, many of the low cost plans made available by the Affordable Care Act also carry high deductibles, which still leave those in need of medical care with very high out-of-pocket expenses; and therefore it would likewise leave the hospitals that provide emergent care without hundreds of millions of dollars each year in PIP insurance benefits.

There is little doubt that the prevalence of uninsured motorists in the state of Florida remains an issue.  Despite the widespread idea that PIP is riddled with fraud, statistics have shown that the program has been improving over recent years, with fraudulent claims in decline. 

Aside from PIP, it is also critical that South Florida drivers look into uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.  This coverage protects you and possibly others in your household who are involved in an accident with someone who has minimal coverage or none at all.  Always consider electing uninsured motorist coverage at the highest amounts offered and utilize the stacking option to maximize your protection.

For further discussion on this topic, or any other personal injury / insurance related legal issues please feel free to contact the experienced attorneys at the Schulman Law Group by calling (954) 349-3300, or by email at: info@www.schulaw.com

 

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