Once again, Florida lawmakers say abuse of the system and fraud are forcing them to re-think mandatory vehicle insurance called personal injury protection but better known as PIP.
Personal Injury Protection has been around in some form or another in Florida, since 1971. Today, PIP pays up to $10,000 in damages for anyone injured in a vehicle crash, no matter who is at fault. Insurance industry statistics indicate the majority of PIP claims are for lost wages and medical bills but it could also be used in a claim for a death benefit.
While the House bill and the Senate bill have some differences between them, both eliminate mandatory PIP and replace it with bodily injury insurance instead-$25,000 for injuries to another person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people.
In the House, Rep. Erin Grall, (R-Vero Beach) told the members of the Banking and Insurance subcommittee that more than 90% of Florida vehicle owners have not only the minimum coverage of PIP, but even more optional coverage, like bodily injury. The good news is Grall says these same insurance customers will see a drop in their rates, with an average savings of $81 a year.
The bad news from the same bill is that drivers struggling to pay just the minimum already will see their rates increase by an average of $250 per year.
Rep. Jay Fant, (R-Jacksonville) and Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Hernando) both expressed concern for what this proposed bill will do to some Florida drivers. Both voted no to the House bill.
On the Senate side, it actually gets worse for those drivers Fant and Ingoglia are worried about. In the proposed Senate plan, the rates increase more than $320 per year.
The plan proposed by Sen. Tom Lee, (R-Thonotosassa) has another major difference from the House bill in that it includes coverage to help doctors and hospitals by including mandatory medical coverage for $5,000.
Lee says this will help make sure health insurance rates don’t increase.
These lawmakers admit it will be a burden for some drivers but a cost savings for others. And what’s more, a system that better protects everyone on the road is worth any cost.