This year, the Florida legislative session meets from March 2, 2021 and adjourns on April 30, 2021. There are bills in both the Senate (SB 54) and the House (HB 719) that would eliminate Personal Injury Protection insurance commonly called PIP. I still remember being told in law school, in my Florida Constitutional Law class, that when the legislature meets briefly each Spring the best we can hope for is that they do not change anything. Although not always true, it is correct when it comes to this proposed repeal of PIP.
Currently Florida is one of thirteen (13) states that require PIP insurance. PIP insurance is mandatory in Florida and ensures that drivers who are hurt in an automobile accident, regardless of who was at fault, are able to get their medical bills paid. That means there is no need to argue or wait to see who was at fault, a driver can immediately be treated as medical providers trust that PIP will provide them with payment. In a time when many people are not carrying health insurance, or have health insurance with high deductibles, this is especially important.
The bills in front of the legislature will end the ability of hurt drivers to get medical treatment. Instead, drivers will be required to carry $25,000.00 in Bodily Injury (BI) insurance and there is an amendment that would require low income drivers to carry $15,000.00 of Bodily Injury insurance.
When you purchase Bodily Injury insurance it does not compensate you if you are in an accident. Rather, it provides that the other driver can make a claim against your insurance. You would have to trust and rely that the other driver is insured to cover your injuries. And while PIP covers the medical bills of both parties in an accident, BI insurance will only compensate the driver who was not at fault. If fault cannot be determined (as often happens when both drivers claim the light was green) it may cover neither of the drivers.
Currently PIP insurance in Florida is inexpensive and it works. The push to end PIP is from the large insurance carriers who believe that by ending PIP and requiring only BI they can push out the smaller carriers and monopolize the market thus ending competition. If the repeal of PIP happens, car insurance rates will be higher and drivers hurt in an accident will only be able to rely on their health insurance to pay for their medical bills. The days of drivers hurt in car accidents trusting that they can get immediate medical treatment up to $10,000.00 will be over and Florida drivers will be worse off because of it.