MIAMI — Advocates of new legislation aimed at cracking down on dishonest claims and other abuses of Florida’s no-fault private vehicle insurance system are hoping new laws could potentially cause skyrocketing premiums to level out for drivers in that state, according to Online Auto Insurance (OAI).
Insurers and lawmakers say unscrupulous claimants, lawyers and medical providers in the Sunshine State are driving up costs for insurers through staged accidents, padded bills and other illegal claims activity. Experts say that has forced insurers to raise rates for all consumers, making it a challenge for anyone doing auto insurance comparisons in Florida to find affordable coverage.
But a quartet of bills in the state legislature seeks to cut down on dubious claims and billing practices by, among other steps, allowing law enforcement officers to testify at trial about vehicle accidents and requiring crash victims to seek medical treatment at hospitals instead of clinics.
The bills also would allow insurers to institute preferred-provider discounts and would require more extensive accident reports.
Florida is one of 12 states with no-fault systems that were put in place in order to make it easy for accident victims to file claims and to cut down on the number of lawsuits stemming from vehicle crashes.
State law requires motorists to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP), which covers policyholders up to that limit no matter who caused an accident. But industry experts say dishonest policyholders, lawyers and providers of medical care and equipment routinely file bogus claims for as close to that $10,000 limit as possible.
According to a report released last month by a working group of state officials formed to analyze problems with the state’s no-fault system, abuse and inflation in the cost of medical care has caused the average paid personal injury protection (PIP) claim to rise by two-thirds in the last three years. And the Insurance Information Institute (III) has stated that Florida insurers must pay 70 percent more each year to cover the costs of bogus accidents and other scams.
Industry experts say that cutting down on illegal claims and billing activity would limit increases in insurer costs and prevent premiums for all drivers from continuing to rise.
To learn more about this and other car insurance issues, readers can go to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/florida/quote-comparison/ where they will find informative resource pages and a helpful rate-comparison generator.