April 3, 2012

An Overview Of New PIP Automobile Insurance Legislation In Florida

Florida's state Congress is considering several measures that would alter the way that personal injury protection coverage (often abbreviated as PIP) works in the state. The reforms are a reaction to insurance company claims that widespread PIP fraud has affected insurance rates throughout the state. Legislators hope that the new reforms will limit insurance fraud and allow Florida to enjoy cheap car insurance rates without completely overhauling Florida's no fault insurance. As the proposed legislation will affect all motorists in the state by changing insurance requirements, Florida drivers should understand the proposed PIP automobile insurance coverage changes before it takes effect.

There are a number of potential changes making their way through Florida Congress, but many analysts consider the changes in the House version of the bill as the most realistic and the most likely to pass. The House bill will eliminate Florida's personal injury protection requirement for drivers, but will replace PIP with a special emergency care coverage. This coverage will work similarly to PIP by covering claims for medical damages resulting from an accident, regardless of fault. However, the emergency coverage will expire in 72 hours and will only cover visits to emergency rooms and approved physicians.

The bill will likely change before it is finally approved, however. Legislators have suggested changes that would allow drivers to use chiropractors and any physicians or clinics approved by a state commission. There are also alternative bills that would keep personal injury protection as a Florida automobile insurance requirement and require insurance companies to pay all claims quickly. Insurance industry lobbyists have argued that this requirement could potentially increase the number of fraudulent claims in the state, driving up the cost of car insurance in the process. Democrats and Republicans have made a number of revisions to House and Senate proposals to try to make sure that the reforms will guarantee cheap car insurance for Florida drivers, including one provision that would require insurance companies to cut drivers' rates if the insurers could not prove that their costs were reduced significantly after the bill takes effect.

Florida drivers will likely see lower automobile insurance rates in the last half of 2012 as a result of Florida's personal injury protection legislation, depending on the final form that the reforms take. Nevertheless, drivers in the state should carefully evaluate their insurance needs and wait to alter their insurance policies until the reforms take effect. Insurance companies are having trouble addressing the possibility of rate changes in the wake of Florida PIP reform, so drivers should monitor their own policies and look for insurance quotes online to keep their rates as low as possible.