Florida’s new Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law passed in 2012 was supposed to eliminate up to $1 billion in fraud and cut no-fault car insurance bills, but an investigation led by The Palm Beach Post reveals Florida insurance premiums have increased by a whopping 40 percent since the start of 2015.
Floridians already pay the nation’s fourth highest car insurance bills, but the state’s top 25 insurers have raised overall premiums an average of 13.8% since January 1, 2015. Among the biggest bill raisers: Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., which has increased PIP premiums 39 percent in Florida and overall bills by 30.7 percent since January 1, 2015. Further, records indicate USAA General Indemnity Co. PIP rates soared 39.3 percent since the start of 2015, as part of an overall 19.5 percent hike. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co. posted a more modest 2 percent increase in PIP, but its overall bill climbed 14.1 percent. USAA Casualty Insurance Co. increased PIP rates by 3.9 percent, but overall rates by 21.7 percent.
The investigation revealed the insurance industry has benefited from these rising rates, collecting an average of $1.3 billion more per year in PIP premiums than they paid out in direct losses since 2013. Yet, how can PIP rates increase so drastically when the 2012 PIP reform law was supposed to do the opposite?
The answer is found in the law itself. The law allows insurance companies to not cut rates if they simply explain why, and many insurers can get around price inflations by claiming the rate of automobile accidents are also on the rise. A Geico spokesman also asserts that medical diagnostic and treatment costs are increasing and the frequency of distracted drivers is also the highest it has ever been.
PIP has covered minor injuries regardless of who is at fault in a Florida accident since the 1970s, but today Florida stands as one of a handful of states using a no-fault system. If residents want to drive, the state forces them to buy $10,000 of coverage no matter how much health insurance they already have from Medicare, employer plans or other sources. Premiums vary, but PIP can account for 20 percent or more of the total car insurance bill in Florida.
Regardless of the PIP rate increases, Florida PIP laws require an insurance company to pay at least 80 percent of the medical expenses related to an accident, including x-ray expenses and hospital stays. Yet, the recent changes in the PIP law can severely limit the payment of PIP benefits if medical care is not sought within 14 days of the accident. That’s why it is imperative to immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you recover the money you need to help get back on your feet.
Whether you have been injured in an auto or trucking accident, motorcycle accident, slip or fall, dog bite, or if your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death accident, you deserve an experienced personal injury attorney who will fight for your rights and protect you and your family. Before you speak with an insurance company, contact me for a free consultation. I will make sure that you are not bullied or rushed into making a decision, and you will not owe anything unless I win your case. Don’t delay in contacting me today at any of my four offices in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee. Call 866-460-1990.