Personal Injury Blog


Florida No-Fault Insurance Repeal Killed by Sub-Committee

We were this close. Florida was poised to join the other 38 states that have done away with, or never required, no-fault insurance. But like they say, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

So what happened?

No-Fault Insurance Explained

First, let’s recap how no-fault insurance works. In most states, insurance operates within a fault-based system, wherein insurance companies pay out based upon each individual’s degree of fault in an accident. To avoid lengthy and expensive court battles to get to the bottom of who was to blame, no-fault insurance was created. With no-fault, your insurance company pays for your damages up to your policy limit, regardless of fault. Because you have this guaranteed payment, you relinquish (in most cases) your ability to sue the other driver.

The thought was that no-fault would lower insurance rates because it eliminated damage awards and legal fees needed to defend liability claims. However, Florida ranks fifth in the nation when it comes to auto insurance rates; on top of that, we have some of the lowest coverage amounts (i.e. $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) to cover a driver or passengers injuries regardless of fault).

House Bill 19: Eliminating No-Fault

Filed in October of 2017, House Bill (HB) 19 aimed to repeal Florida no-fault law and usher in a new era for the Golden State!  Rather than carry $10,000 PIP to cover the injured regardless of fault, HB 19 states that drivers would instead carry bodily injury (BI) insurance of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident to cover injury or damage to other individuals.

But surely this would result in rate hikes, right?

Not according to regulators. More than 90 percent of Floridians already have BI coverage, so they’d save money by no longer having to pay for PIP. For proof, one needn’t look further than Colorado, the most recent state to repeal no-fault; Colorado residents now enjoy an average of 35 percent savings on auto insurance since the repeal. So, with HB 19 in place, most drivers stood to benefit from reduced rates and increased coverage—talk about a win-win!

Better Luck Next Time

Unfortunately like many bills, HB 19 died on the vine. On March 10, 2018, Banking and Insurance, an Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, indefinitely postponed the bill and it was withdrawn from consideration. Why? According to the Tampa Bay Times, opponents contended the change was “too hasty, and that coverage provisions within the bill could cause premiums to rise” (despite evidence to the contrary).

So, fellow Floridians, all we can do is wait and hope another bill will be floated up the pipeline soon. In the meantime, with no-fault in place, bad drivers will continue to be protected with the knowledge that they often can’t be sued for damages they cause.

There are exceptions to every rule, however, and if you’ve been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, or the other driver was uninsured, be sure to contact an experienced auto injury attorney for further advice.

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