Check out our updated blog from May. Florida’s auto insurance laws changed in July and many individuals and consumer groups are not happy.
Archive for the ‘florida auto insurance’ Category
A few months ago, we wrote about the changes being made to Florida’s auto insurance laws. A MarketWatch press release shows how disappointed many Floridians and consumer groups are with these changes. In “Opponents blast auto insurance reform, medical care cuts,” we learn that many opponents of Governor Scott’s auto insurance changes believe that they are only in the best interest of auto insurance companies. Governor Scott disputes those claims and says the main purpose for these changes is to cut down on fraud and eventually lower Florida’s cost of living.
In July, around 150 new laws took effect, including the limitation of medical benefits that will be paid out and the stipulation that injuries must be reported within 14 days of a car accident. The government in Florida says that the $1.4 billion that personal injury protection claims have increased over the past 4 years is largely due to fraud in the insurance market. Now that PIP benefits are capped at $2,500 unless an “emergency condition” is reported by a valid medical professional, Governor Scott believes there will positive strides in Florida’s auto insurance marketplace.
But opponents say that many terms in the new laws are too vague, such as what constitutes an “emergency medical condition” and what providers can be seen. Chiropractors, acupuncturists, and physical therapists say they are concerned that people will develop many more chronic conditions after car accidents because they aren’t getting reimbursed for seeing these types of providers. They government disagrees with these claims and is trying to assure Floridians that they will be treated for their valid medical claims following a car accident. They say they are just trying to get rid of the rampant fraud caused by many of the things they have changed or banned.
The most important thing to remember if you are a Florida driver is that you have to file any medical claim within 14 days of a car accident. Once you have done that, follow the exact procedures listed under the new laws so that you will be reimbursed by your car insurance company. Despite the battle between consumer groups and the government, you need to follow the laws until they change, if they do.
After years of debate, changes have been finalized for Florida’s PIP auto insurance. According to Tampa Bay’s Fox 13 News, Jeremy Campbell says “Car insurance changes (are) coming soon.” Rick Scott, Governor of Florida, signed a bill this week that will take effect on July 1st of this year. Auto insurance companies and lawmakers have been working for years to battle fraud related to Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. They say that these changes will help to lower auto insurance rates because the fraud was out of control.
What will the new bill change? First of all, Florida drivers will have to seek medical attention for any injuries related to an automobile crash within fourteen days of the occurrence. At one point, there was no cap on the amount of time that could lapse between an accident and receiving medical treatment. Unfortunately, some drivers were abusing the PIP system and seeking treatment for injuries or medical conditions unrelated to the crash quite a time later.
Drivers will also have to seek this medical attention from a certified medical doctor or dentist. They cannot go to see a chiropractor or a holistic type of healer for care if they have been injured in an automobile accident. The amount of benefits you can be paid has now been capped at $2,500, unless a certified doctor says that you have an “emergency medical condition.” The cap used to be $10,000, so this is quite a significant change. If you live in Florida and need to use your PIP insurance, make sure to have your claim documented by a medical professional within fourteen days of your accident.
Auto insurance quotes in Florida continue to rise and this is causing some serious concern for consumer advocate groups in the state. According to the article “Fla. Consumer Advocate Focusing on Auto Insurance” by The Associated Press on MiamiHerald.com, Florida’s insurance consumer advocate is forming a solid group to address the issue of increasing auto insurance rates.
Robin Westcott, appointed by Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, points out that one of the main reasons rates continue to soar is because of the no-fault coverage for personal injuries layout of Florida auto insurance law. Westcott is encouraging those who have stake in the personal injury protection system including lawmakers to considering these groups and join to show support. This would be a huge move in the industry to work towards bringing rates down for the residents of Florida.
Westcott says she hopes to submit the group’s research to Atwater and the Florida Legislature by November of 2011 and make serious strides towards a solution. Florida’s rising rates have been an issue for many years now and the way the law is set up is encouraging rates to keep rising. Something needs to change to protect Florida drivers from experiencing some of the highest auto insurance quotes in history. The time and effort it will take to implement changes is huge, so the more support they can rally the better. Florida residents need a voice to ensure rates are kept affordable. Times are tough enough without the rising costs of auto insurance. Since auto insurance costs are necessary for most Florida residents, it should be a top priority for lawmakers. Time will tell if their efforts will pay off in the end.
Written by Sara Smart
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/SaraSmart55
Florida has not had a hurricane for years, yet Florida auto insurance quotes continue to rise. It’s been six years since the devastating Hurricane Wilma took it’s toll and since then every day claims for homeowners and auto insurance, including reopened claims, have risen 80%. At this point insurers feel like there is not choice but to ask for higher homeowners and auto insurance rates according to the article “Soaring Claims Drive Florida Insurance Rates Higher” by Kenric Ward on SunshineStateNews.com.
Insurance companies are asking for rate increased for a couple of reasons. First, there is a certain projection of future claims due to natural disasters and most states witness this type of increase. Secondly, they are raising rates due to claims that have already been paid out that went above and beyond previous predictions. Lynne McChristian, a Florida representative for the Insurance Information Institute confirms that these rate increases are due to future and past claims.
Just recently, Allstate Insurance Co and two of their affiliates asked for rate increases averaging 30%. Castle Key Insurance Co. and Castle Key Indemnity Co. reported that there could be rates increases as high as 68% for individual customers. These astronomical rate increases can devastate families financially, but it seems to be a no-win situation for everyone involved. Some industry officials are blaming such increases on a new law, only affecting the state of Florida, which says insurers must pay full replacement costs for home repair upfront. In addition to this, policyholders have up to five years to file a claim due to a particular hurricane which is throwing projections off. The Insurance Information Institute reports that claims costs are increasing on average around 17% per year, and if this continues, no one will be able to afford a quality home or auto insurance policy.
Written by Sara Smart
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/SaraSmart55
Many states are still working under the no-fault auto insurance ruling and experts believe this is causing a crisis in the auto insurance industry. The laws were originally put into place to stop ambulance chasing lawyers from submitting small-claims cases, and it helped car accident victims receive funds quickly instead of waiting for the determination as to who was at fault.
Unfortunately, these laws are backfiring since many believe its contributing to fraud, rising medical costs, large benefit payouts, and excessive lawsuits. Auto insurance quotes in Florida are skyrocketing and many are blaming their no-fault laws according to “Why Does Everyone Hate No-Fault Car Insurance?” by Barbara Marquand on FoxBusiness.com. Some insurance companies have actually limited their business in states with no-fault insurance laws since it ends up being so much more expensive for the insurer. This ends up affecting competition and can drive up auto insurance rates.
Currently, 12 states and Puerto Rico have no-fault auto insurance laws including Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah. The laws allow policyholders to collect funds for car accidents from their own insurance company regardless of who was at fault. The laws also prevent people from suing for pain and suffering unless their injuries are a certain extreme. Florida is the nation’s staged-accident capital and this of course drives up Florida auto insurance quotes. Many industry experts believe no-fault auto insurance needs to be eliminated altogether or the crisis will continues and rates will keep going up.
According to the article “Florida Senate Panel Advances Auto Insurance Bills” by Brent Kallestad on Business Week’s website, two Florida bills aimed at cutting down the amount of fraud running rampant through Florida moved passed an important Senate panel. The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee barely approved the bills after some debate between lawmakers.
Legislature is trying to get a handle of the amount of auto insurance fraud that is frustrating insurers enormously. The bills move forward after being backed by the insurance industry which would give them more power to deny claims they deem suspicious for fraud. A similar bill is moving through the Senate as well. Florida auto insurance quotes are impacted by the amount of fraud going through the state, so hopefully as fraud decreases so will auto insurance quotes Florida.
The bills are guaranteed to pass. Mark Cedarberg, an Orlando lawyer, cautions lawmakers about giving the insurance companies too much freedom. He believes that if the bills pass it will make it harder on honest people, including honest doctors who need to be paid. Once an auto insurance company decides to deny a claim it will be challenging to get it reversed. Insurers, medical providers, and lawyers all agree that fraud is too prevalent, but they can’t agree on the best solution to fix the problem just yet.
Louisiana once again is experiencing the highest median auto insurance costs throughout the entire nation. Coming in at $1,111 on average according to the InsWeb survey, Louisiana feels the weight of these high rates especially when compared to other states which are significantly lower.
According to the article “Louisiana Auto, Property Insurance Rates Highest in US” by Christopher Tidmore on BayouBuzz, North Carolina’s average cost is $495 and Virgina comes in at $521. Both of these rates are less than half the cost of Louisiana auto insurance. Florida auto insurance quotes have jumped and are on the higher side as well, coming in at about $750, which is worse than last year.
InsWeb’s 2011 Car Insurance Rate Report comes in handy when people are shopping around to compare auto insurance. It gives consumers an idea of what to expect and what might be considered “high” in their state. The annual report ranks all 50 states and Washinging DC and bases their rankings on the median household car insurance rate for a 6 month policy. InsWeb gets their rates from a system that tracks rates from the largest auto insurance companies in every state in addition to actual profiles of their customers.
A survey released earlier this week revealed some good news for Florida residents. Insure.com released a survey which found Florida’s average annual premium for auto insurance was $1,476 which is $85 less than the national average.
Florida does happen to be one of the most expensive markets for property insurance, but the auto insurance market stays competitive according to the article “Florida Auto Insurance Cheaper Than Average, Survey Finds” found on FloridaTrend.com. Compared to all of the other states and Washington DC, Florida ranks 29th overall in expensive auto insurance. The most expensive states from the survey were Michigan at $2541, and Louisiana at $2453. The cheapest auto insurance rates will be found in Vermont with an average premium of $995 and South Carolina at $1095.
Florida auto insurance quotes being lower is great news for residents since they are already paying higher rates for property insurance. This is probably due to hurricanes which can devastate properties and cause homeowners insurance rates to soar. Lower auto insurance quotes Florida help offset those costs.
According to the article “Broward County Cracks Down on Car Insurance Fraud” found on MiamiHerald.com, auto insurance fraud is through the roof in Florida where studies indicate 23% of drivers were uninsured in 2007. Representatives from 17 auto insurance companies throughout Florida joined forces with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office during a crack down on drivers on the road with no auto insurance coverage.
The recent crackdown on insurance fraud in Florida was a one day initiative put together by the sheriff’s office alongside the National Insurance Crime Bureau which works hard to combat insurance fraud. Auto insurance agents actually waited at the sheriff’s substation as deputies called in to confirm auto insurance information during traffic stops. They handled 39 calls by 3pm. Deputy Marty Chastain advises that similar crackdowns are planned for the future and warns they will be random.
Not only is insurance fraud inherently wrong, but it causes Florida auto insurance quotes to rise across the board. The innocent end up paying for the perpetrators’ schemes. Auto insurance quotes Florida will need to rise to make up for the losses caused by auto insurance fraud. Let’s just hope it’s not substantial and the efforts to bring fraud down have an impact.
According to the article “Florida Lawmakers Seek to Reduce Costly Court Battles Over Auto Insurance” by Sally Kestin on OrlandoSentinel.com, Florida auto insurance lawsuits are out of control and need to be reined in. Florida auto insurance quotes are increasing and insurance regulators agree that pricey court battles are partly to blame.
Rep. Bryan Nelson believes something must be done soon. He says it’s critical they take a hard look at ways Florida can reduce costs over time. There is currently a proposal under consideration in Tallahassee which would limit the fees lawyers can collect when they win a personal injury protection suit. Fees can be upwards of $100,000 for disputes of just a few thousand according to the Sun Sentinel in Florida.
Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, a Fort Lauderdale Republican and a chief negotiator in legislation passed in ‘07 that revised the state of Florida’s no fault insurance system, says Personal Injury Protection has become a multibillion industry. She said the original purpose was to reduce suits, but it is actually increasing them causing serious financial stress on the state of Florida.