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Legal Update: Florida Auto Insurance

Florida motorists may face long overdue changes to auto insurance law, but whether proposed changes benefit drivers or the insurance industry is yet to be seen.

WINK News reports that a proposal moving through the Florida Senate wants to get rid of Personal Injury Protection, in favor of requiring drivers to carry mandatory bodily liability coverage. At least $25,000 in liability for the death or injury of one person in a crash and $50,000 if it involves two or more people.gavel21-300x200

The Insurance Journal reports several bills moving through the Florida legislature this session could impact how motorists purchase auto insurance coverage.

B 771: Motor Vehicle Insurance (Personal Injury Protection)

The measure would, among other things, repeals provisions relating Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law; revises minimum coverage requirements for proof of financial responsibility for motor vehicles; and revises financial responsibility requirements for owners or lessees of for-hire passenger transportation vehicles.

Florida Auto Insurance Liability Law

Our veteran car accident lawyers have reported in previous posts about the woefully inadequate mandatory minimums in Florida, which ranks 50th in the nation with it’s mandatory auto insurance of just $10,000 Personal Injury Protection and $10,000 property damage coverage. Florida’s so-called “no fault” law leaves minimally insured drivers (or their victims) with just $10,000 of their own insurance coverage, which pro ports to pay 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages, up to a maximum of $10,000.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the last time Florida lawmakers took a look at the state’s minimum coverage requirements, it was to pass a measure requested by the auto insurance industry, which further reduces those benefits to just $2,500 in many cases where a victim does not seek medical care in the immediate aftermath of a collision.

In other words, when lawmakers make changes to insurance law in Florida, it’s typically the consumer who loses. Despite such low liability requirements, Florida motorists already face average annual auto insurance bills of more than $1,200, making the Sunshine State one of the nation’s five most expensive states in which to drive.

Florida Personal Injury Protection

Mandatory Personal Injury Protection of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident would offer Florida motorists more protection, but would still be on the low end of what is required in many other states. More than 40 states require at least $25,000 coverage, according to the Insurance Research Council. 

What consumer advocates must watch for in this session is use of this proposal as cover for pushing through measures long championed by the insurance industry, which would further reduce consumer’s rights to sue when insurance companies act in bad faith or otherwise fail to pay claims. When it comes to watching Florida politics, it’s too often that consumers are sold one thing and big business is given the keys to the store.

Our experienced car accident attorneys in Fort Myers and Cape Coral will be watching this legislative session closely. As advocates for injury victims in Southwest Florida since 1971, you can count on us to be a vocal advocate, both in the halls of government and in the courtroom.

If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.

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