Q&A – Should We End Florida’s “No Fault” Auto Insurance Law

Today’s entry: Your story on Hit & Run is timely and I think it is time to replace Florida’s No-Fault and give teeth to current law. My wife was recently a victim of a Hit & Run in Palm Beach County. Thankfully, she was not hurt and was vehicle 3 of the 3 in the crash. Vehicle 1, plowed into vehicle 2 and in turn hit my wife. Tag number, vehicle and driver description were collected and given to the CSA. Follow up to the crash report by a second deputy days later, revealed the registered driver, while having insurance (minimum), does not have a valid license. As a primary insurance policyholder, I have been in contact with PBSO to obtain update. According to the deputy in central records, a Hit & Run offense is not an arrestable offense. Should Florida’s No-Fault Be Replaced?

Bottom Line: In June of 2010 my wife was involved in a seven-car crash on 95 that resulted in all southbound lanes being shut down for over two hours. So I get what you're talking about. She suffered a fractured vertebra and a concussion that led to post-concussion syndrome taking more than six months to recover. Round trip costs, not including any damages which we didn’t seek were over $50,000. That’s not factoring in the stories of the other five victims. Anyway, the driver didn’t have a valid license or insurance either. It’s the quintessential South Florida problem that’s led to us having auto insurance rates that are 52% higher than the national average. Worse still, as I cited in the hit and run story, it's bad in Florida but it’s worst in South Florida. We’re 31% more likely to be victims of hit-and-runs in South Florida than the rest of our state and twice as likely as anywhere else in the country. These issues are all intertwined. So, should Florida’s No-Fault law be replaced? I’ve got some encouraging news for you. 

Currently, Florida’s “No-Fault” law states that regardless of who was responsible for causing a crash, it’s up to each person to file insurance claims with their own insurance provider. Study after study has shown the law and the process drives up insurance costs as it mitigates the responsibility of the guilty party. Florida’s auto insurance rates are the third-highest nationally. South Florida is the top five nationally for the highest auto insurance rates. We’re one of only two states that operate under PIP, or personal injury protection, aka No-fault status which doesn’t require drivers to provide injury coverage for victims if they’re at fault in a crash. That’s a big part of the problem we’re talking about. If it’s not required, it’s not a legal violation not to provide it.

Last week in Florida’s House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee, by a 13-1 vote, the repeal of PIP passed its first House committee. This as its companion also passed its first committee. The legislation would require a minimum of $10,000 in property coverage and $25,000 injury coverage for victims. There’s movement, if not momentum in the current session to potentially do exactly what you’re asking to be done. The Insurance Institute estimates the initial insurance savings for Floridians will be $81 per insured vehicle per year. It’d also provide more legal muscle to combat those who drive illegally, potentially addressing your other concern. I’ll keep you posted as to its progress.

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Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

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Brian Mudd

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