PIP lives to die another day

Jul 9, 2021 | By: Christina Goldberg

I rarely like to blog about actual laws. Mostly because it can get monotonous, but also because I prefer to muse about other things. That said, I think it important to do a quick blog about the fact that Governor DeSantis recently vetoed a bill that had passed through Florida’s legislative bodies. The bill would affect automobile insurance and would have taken effect later this year.

The basics of the bill

The bill would have, essentially, done away with Florida as a “no-fault state” (i.e.: repealed mandatory Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage), and made Florida a pure liability state. I have blogged about Florida being a “no-fault state” previously, in an attempt to correct the ever-present misunderstanding among the general public about what this means.

Florida being a “no-fault state” has nothing at all to do with whether one can hold someone else responsible for causing a car crash.

What it means, however, is REGARDLESS of fault for a crash, under Florida’s current system, you must use YOUR OWN automobile insurance coverage to seek treatment (up to $10,000.00).

The “no-fault” designation ONLY applies to the type of insurance that must be primarily used to treat following a crash. That is it. It has nothing to do with who caused the crash.

What would change in regard to automobile insurance coverage

What the recent bill intended to do was make it so this system would no longer exist. Although it would be an optional coverage, PIP (“no-fault”) coverage would no longer be mandatory. Instead, Bodily Injury coverage would become mandatory so that there is available insurance available to those you hit and injure.

Unfortunately, although Governor DeSantis recognizes Florida’s auto insurance system is NOT up to par, he also determined the bill that had passed through the legislative bodies was not well researched. He also recognized it would likely result in increased insurance rates. This could lead to MORE uninsured drivers on the road.

Surely this issue will come up again in the next legislative session. I do expect that Florida’s current PIP statute will eventually be repealed. But until then, remember: just because certain coverages are not MANDATORY does not mean you shouldn’t carry them. Protect yourself. Have a plan.