Florida is one of two states in the country that has mandatory personal injury protection, or “PIP,” which is a supplemental form of insurance that applies to injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents. All registered vehicles in the state of Florida must carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage. This mandatory requirement is referred to as Florida’s “No Fault” system, because the injured policyholder’s own medical bills are covered regardless of who was at fault. The PIP law was designed to pay for medical bills of the injured party in a quick, efficient manner, therefore bypassing the timely analysis of fault to determine who will be financially responsible.
At the time of this article, the Florida legislature has before it several bills that propose to repeal Florida’s “No Fault” auto insurance law. SB 1766 and HB 1063 propose to eliminate the mandatory PIP requirement and replace it with a mandatory bodily injury coverage. A large majority of auto policyholders already have bodily injury coverage, and medical insurance often covers healthcare costs of injured parties, so PIP is viewed as redundant and contributing to higher premiums.
A major concern is ensuring that drivers without medical insurance will remain protected through some form of coverage that will allow for emergency treatment. This concern prompted language in SB 1766 that includes a “medical payments” requirement of $5,000, essentially invalidating the savings on premiums in the event of elimination of the mandatory PIP requirement. And for Floridians, savings on insurance premiums is material: Floridians pay some of the highest auto insurance premiums in the country for the least amount of coverage.
So what would a repeal of mandatory PIP mean for Florida’s registered drivers? It could mean lower premiums, but there may exist a gap for medical treatment for those who do not carry health insurance. As the intricacies of health insurance continue to fluctuate, it is important to view both insurance and auto policies as cohesive plans that should work together. Given the House and the Senate have competing bills that—in large part—aim to repeal PIP, a change on the auto insurance front is likely in the near future. Stay informed, call your insurance company and ask the hard questions to ensure you are, and will continue to be, protected.