Legislators in Florida are making moves that could spell the end of the state’s no-fault auto insurance rules.
Florida’s House of Representatives recently voted 99-11 to repeal the state’s no-fault auto insurance laws and require all drivers to carry their own bodily injury coverage. The Senate previously passed its own version of the bill weeks ago; once approved, it would take effect next year, on January 01, 2022.
According to the proposed bill, personal injury protection coverage and the no-fault provision would be discontinued. Drivers will instead be required to carry at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for the injury or death of one person, and $50,000 in coverage for the injury or death of two people. The insurance for the person at fault in the accident would pay out for claims.
The lawmakers believe that the discontinuation of no-fault insurance is needed to control Florida’s runaway auto insurance rates.
“Florida is out of step with almost every state, and yet your car insurance rates and premiums keep going up,” said Representative Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach. “I believe it’s incumbent upon us to make sure that people have adequate coverage.”
Florida’s no-fault auto insurance provision requires drivers to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection. The coverage pays the insured for any medical and funeral costs they may incur regardless of who was liable during a collision incident. However, the $10,000 minimum has not changed since the law was put into effect in the 1970s, and Florida remains one of two states that still does not require drivers to secure bodily injury coverage.
By ending no-fault insurance and requiring drivers to carry bodily injury coverage, legislators believe that the new rules can help lower premiums in the state. Officials also hope that since most insured drivers in the state already carry at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage, their rates should decrease.
Tampa Bay Times reported that approximately 35% to 45% of Florida drivers currently do not carry $25,000 in bodily injury coverage, nor $50,000 in coverage for two injuries/deaths. The state has also not done an independent study of the bill, which has drawn the ire of several Republican legislators.
Insurers have warned that the bill could backfire. They pointed out that one of the reasons for the large auto insurance coverage gap in Florida – wherein one in five drivers carry no insurance at all – is because the insurance is prohibitively expensive. If the minimum coverage requirement is raised, it might cause more drivers to drop coverage altogether, the companies cautioned.