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PIP Repeal Faces Difficult Road Ahead

The past few legislative sessions, Florida’s House and Senate have attempted to repeal the state’s requirement for drivers to carry personal injury protection insurance. This year’s legislative session has proved no different. However, much like years past, the effort to do so has seemingly hit a roadblock.

Personal Injury Protection

Florida’s personal injury protection mandate was originally passed into law in 1972. The law requires drivers to carry $10,000 in personal injury insurance. Personal injury insurance is considered to be a no-fault policy, which means the policyholder reaps the benefits no matter who was at fault in an accident.

A $10,000 policy covers 80% of medical expenses and 60% loss of income. Additional variations of the policy can also be purchased through insurance providers. Florida is one of ten states to require personal injury insurance.
Unfortunately, there has been a rise in scams and fraudulent schemes that take advantage of the PIP mandate. Fraud is the main reason why Florida’s legislature has continually pushed forward with repeal.

Maintaining Certain Provisions During Repeal

Although the legislature is attempting to repeal the mandate, there are certain provisions that lawmakers differ on. Whether a compromise can be reached will ultimately determine the fate of the PIP law.

The Senate’s version of the repeal bill will require drivers to purchase $5,000 in medical payments coverage. This would be a flat rate, and would not account for other health insurance policies that drivers already have. The House version of the repeal bill, however, does not require medical payments coverage. The House will vote on their bill when the legislative session re-opens in January. If the House passes the measure, it will then head to the Senate where it could be voted into law.

Florida Senate President Joe Negron recently drew a line in the sand, declaring that it was important for any potential replacement coverage to include access to medical coverage and funeral benefits. He maintains that if an auto accident were to occur, it’s important that the emergency room is compensated after treating the injured individual. Furthermore, he believes that if death were to occur, making sure that the deceased’s family can afford the funeral is a reasonable expectation.

It sounds as though Negron is not willing to budge on either. As Senate President, he has a tremendous amount of sway, and can ultimately decide whether a bill goes to vote. It’s reasonable to assume that if a proposed bill does not include access to medical coverage or funeral benefits, Negron will not consider bringing it to the floor.

It’s been estimated that Florida drivers will save $81 per car if the PIP mandate is repealed, but the Senate version of the bill could all but eliminate those savings.
Senator Tom Lee informed the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee that the Senate’s proposed repeal bill protects hospitals. Based on Negron’s comments, it’s easy to see how that would be the case. If repeal is going to pass, something will eventually have to give between the House and Senate versions of the bill.