Significant changes to Florida’s no-fault auto insurance laws that deal with coverage provisions and criminal activity will start taking place in July 2012, although residents will not experience the full effect until January 2013. Gov. Rick Scott said he officially approved these changes on May 4, 2012, to hopefully decrease the number of falsified claims being made in the Sunshine State and reduce coverage costs. The existing no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) setup in the state has been said to breed a high level of staged accidents, inaccurate claims, and other less-than-reputable activity.
Combatting Criminal Activity
Many of the upcoming changes to PIP insurance in Florida are being done in an effort to prevent unlawful activity and decrease coverage costs for vehicle owners. When insurers are forced to pay out dishonestly adjusted accident claims, motorists statewide end up suffering in the form of higher premiums. A resident making a Florida insurance quote comparison may notice that the Sunshine State is home to some of the highest average coverage costs in the U.S. These adjustments to the law, however, hope to make a significant impact.
One major change taking place in July is that law enforcement officers will start being required to list all passengers on crash reports more frequently. This is intended to help prevent motorists from creating “phantom passengers” to recoup additional insurance benefits.
To discourage dishonest activity, there will also be harsher punishments for clinics and doctors who unlawfully take advantage of Florida’s no-fault system.
To improve the chances of success, the Sunshine State will also be forming a statewide, nonprofit monitoring group designed to prevent, investigate, and prosecute unscrupulous insurance-related activity within FL. When insurers are forced to pay fewer and only legitimate claims, residents are likely to find more affordable protection.
Starting on Jan. 1, 2013, motorists will also face greater limitations on how they can use their coverage.
Changes to Coverage
Beginning in 2013, drivers will only have 14 days to seek initial treatment for injuries sustained in an accident. If they don’t go in within that initial period, treatment will not be covered.
Vehicle owners who experience a medical emergency will have limited access to their medical benefits, depending on whether their condition is considered an emergency. People who only require nonemergency treatment will be limited to only $2,500 of coverage instead of the full $10,000. The full $10,000 can be used for emergency conditions, though. To qualify for a medical emergency, motorists need to experience severe symptoms that, without access to immediate medical treatment, could cause serious harm or impairment.
These benefits will also no longer be applicable to treatment from massage therapists or acupuncturists.
PIP currently provides at least up to $10,000 in medical benefits to policyholders, their children, members of the same household, and certain passengers who are not insured. Starting on July 1, 2012, this will also include a $5,000 death benefit.