Floirda Insurance Home, Auto, Business, Health Insurance blogs

23Oct/120

Sweeping Changes To Florida’s Personal Injury Protection Law Benefit Insurance Companies Not Citizens

Changes to Personal Injury Protection Undermine Protection Of The Injured, Add Burden To Law Enforcement, Open Back Door For Insurance Companies to Be Excluded From Billing Reduction And Guarantee Increased Litigation.

As so many times before when politicians make changes to highly technical and complex laws their lack of understanding can undermine their intent. Due to the complex nature of the PIP law, it's understandable that the average Florida State Legislature would not have a complete working knowledge of how the PIP or No-Fault Law affects citizens, law enforcement, businesses and the courts. However, you need only to look at who are the winners and losers of the new changes to gain perspective on the motivation of the new rules. These changes were set in motion under the guise of reducing / preventing insurance fraud – a rampant problem throughout Florida.

After close examination of the new law it becomes obvious the new rules are a boon to Florida insurance companies. The new PIP rules will make it more difficult for people who have been injured on Florida's roadways to receive their claims benefits in good faith, and allow insurance companies a loophole for keeping rates high. The new rules will also have the unintended effect of increasing both litigation and administrative burden on law enforcement. Whether or not any of the new changes will actually reduce insurance fraud remains to be seen. Below I have outlined the ways the new PIP laws will affect all parties with a stake in Florida's No-Fault laws.

Effects Of The New Personal Injury Protection (No Fault) Law
Passed this Past Legislative Session

    1. Effect on Insurance Companies:
      The new statute calls for 10% reduction in insurance company billing for PIP benefits in October 2012 and 25% reduction in billing for PIP benefits in 2014 but the insurance companies have right to petition for exclusion from the above. Therefore, the effect on insurance companies billing reduction for citizens of Florida is unlikely.

 

    1. Effect on Law Enforcement
      A long form accident report must now be done in every accident involving death, injury, pain complaints, if wrecker is required or if collision involves a commercial vehicle. Therefore, law enforcement has a much greater burden to comply with this new law and its requirements.

 

    1. Effect on Fraudulent Claims
      This new statute allows a penalty for false applications in insurance policies and benefits. This portion of the statute reiterates laws already in effect on insurance fraud.

 

    1. Effect on Florida Citizens
      The ten thousand dollars ($10,000) personal injury benefits are restricted to a showing by a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathic medicine, dentist, physicians assistant or registered nurse practitioner that the auto accident injuries constitute a need for Immediate Medical Attention such that absence of medical care would result in:

        1. Serious jeopardy to health
        1. Serious impairment of bodily functions or
        1. Serious dysfunction of bodily organ or parts

      This finding of Emergency Medical Condition “MUST” be made within 14 days of date of accident. If NO finding of Emergency Medical Condition is made during the fourteen days after a collision, personal injury benefits allowed are restricted to twenty five hundred dollars ($2,500). If no treatment is received within fourteen days (14) then NO personal injury benefits need to be paid.

 

    1. Effect on Lawyers
      The wording of this new statute lends itself to a sharp increase of litigation as to wrongful denial of personal injury benefits by insurance companies. Lawyers may charge for time spent litigating these cases but can no longer seek a multiplier of fees through the judges. In addition to more litigation on personal injury benefit denials, this new statute is worded so that numerous constitutional challenges will be forthcoming.

 

    1. Effect on Chiropractors, Massage Therapist and Acupuncturist
      Massage and acupuncture are eliminated from personal injury benefits. Chiropractic Physicians can not render an opinion as to whether their patient has an Emergency Medical Condition qualifying their patient for the full personal injury benefits ($10,000) for treatment.

Effective Date:
Portions of this statute go into effect earlier but a majority of the new PIP law begins 1/1/2013. Note that an insurance company is NOT required to amend its policy or notify its insured for this new law to take effect.

Summary:

WINNERS: The insurance companies stand to collect fees and provide far less benefits.

LOSERS: Citizens of Florida will receive less benefits on their automobile insurance policy if they are injured in an auto collision.

 

by

9Oct/120

Is your car too small to be safe?

By Matt Brownell, Insure.com

New data suggest that the biggest menaces on the road aren't oversized SUVs, but tiny cars like the Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent. Several small cars are among the 10 makes and models found to be the most dangerous to other drivers on the road, but the data may not be as disturbing to small-car owners as it initially appears.

The new data come from "Insurance losses by make and model," a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute. The institutes analyzed claims data for model years 2009 through 2011 to determine which cars are involved in the most insurance claims.

Categories considered by the organizations include personal injury protection (injury to drivers and their passengers), bodily injury liability (injuries to other cars' drivers and their passengers) and collisions. Models were ranked by how frequently they were involved in such claims.

The Chevy Silverado 2500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee rank among safest to their own drivers and passengers. (The vehicles with the lowest level of PIP claims are the Porsche 911 2-door and Chevrolet Corvette 2-door. The Porsche, for example, is 68 percent less likely to have a PIP claim than the average vehicle. Isn't that odd? See sidebar at left.) The rest of the top 10 also are larger cars.

By contrast, the Toyota Yaris, Suzuki SX4, Chevrolet Aveo and other small or mini sized cars the bulk of the top 10 list of vehicles with the most claims for personal injury claims.

So word to the wise: The bigger the car, the less likely you are to get injured while driving it.

"The smaller the vehicle you're in, the more likely you are to hit something larger than you," explains Matt Moore, vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute. "And if you do, you're more likely to be injured."

More trouble with small cars

What's not easily explained, though, is that smaller cars (like the Rio and Accent) likewise dominate the "bodily injury liability" category. Seven of the 10 models with the highest likelihood of causing injury to passengers in another vehicle are small or mini sized.

So if the smaller car in a collision is more likely to get the worst of things, why do the data suggest the opposite -- that you're sometimes more likely to hurt someone when you're behind the wheel of a little car?

One possibility is simply that people are using smaller cars differently than they do larger ones. For instance, people may tend to drive faster in small cars. Or, it may be the drivers themselves: Small cars tend to be chosen by younger, inexperienced drivers who will have high crash rates no matter what car they're in.

Moore suggests another possibility: "Bodily injury pays for injuries caused to pedestrians as well as [people in] vehicles," he notes. "The smaller the car is, the more likely the vehicle is owned and operated in an urban area."

And in urban areas, you're more likely to be dealing with pedestrians. Compare car insurance rates for urban and rural areas, and you'll likely see this increased danger reflected in the premiums (among other urban risk factors).

One thing is for sure: The cars most likely to do damage to someone else's vehicle or property tend to be larger pickups and SUVs, as you might expect. They have the highest levels of property damage liability claims. The top offenders are the Dodge Ram, Chevrolet Tahoe and Toyota Tundra.

8Oct/120

How to Get Cheap Auto Insurance in Florida

Instructions

 

    • 1

      First, know the basics about Florida Auto Insurance...
      Knowing the basic requirements of Florida auto insurance is crucial. You do not want to buy more than you need or choose the wrong type of policy. Auto insurance in Florida requires 10,000 in PIP and PDL auto insurance at all times.
      The resource section below has a link to an additional Ehow article on the required insurance in Florida.

    • 2

      Next, do an online comparison to find cheap auto insurance in Florida...
      Once you have basic knowledge on what type of company you are looking for you should do an online comparison of cheap auto insurance options in Florida. Think of using a site like Progressive that will allow you to enter your information once and still give you a comparison of several companies. Many times insurance companies will offer better rates online because they know you can easily compare other offers. Once you have narrowed down your selection move on to the next step for additional savings.

    • 3

      Then, look for employee or membership discounts on auto insurance in Florida...
      Now that you have the names of a few auto insurance companies in Florida that fit your budget you can look for additional discounts. Do an online search using the insurance company name and the search term member discounts. You will find there may be some organization discounts. If you are a member of an organization you can take advantage of this. Check with your employer to see if they have a group rate or discount with any of the companies on your list. If you don't find any contact the auto insurance company directly and ask what discounts they offer. You may find that you are eligible for a discount you were not aware of. This will help make you auto insurance cheaper than expected.

    • 4

      Last, save more on auto insurance in Florida by earning rewards on payments...
      You can use a reward debit card as visa to make your auto insurance payments. Using a debit rewards program will not cost you more because there is not interest or fees involved. This necessary expense will earn you cash back or rewards each time you make a payment. The type of rewards will depend on your debit card reward program.

 

4Oct/120

Florida Auto Insurance

By

Florida auto insurance is mandated by the state. This area of the United States is a popular vacation destination and it is a popular place to relocate. Since there is so many people entering this state, car insurance is of utmost importance. More traffic means more risk of higher numbers of car accidents. Insurance policies are designed to help people involved in altercations.

Any vehicles registered in the state of Florida must have an insured driver. The minimum coverage is 10,000 dollars for personal injury protection and 10,000 dollars for property damage liability. This is just the bare bones insurance polices required by the state of Florida. Consumers can choose to purchase more coverage.

Bodily injury liability is not a requirement in this state. Drivers can opt to have this coverage anyway which is always a good idea. You can obtain a vehicle registration without having bodily injury liability but you can expect a significant penalty if you are found liable for an accident in which the other party is injured.

Florida Auto Insurance Cancellations

Remember that it is crucial to keep your car insurance policy up-to-date in the state of Florida. If the policy lapses and you fail to get personal injury protection and property damage liability through another agency, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver's license and revoke your vehicle's registration and vehicle tag as well.

You can get your license, tag and registration reinstated but it requires you to show proof of current insurance and the department will also charge a reinstatement fee. This can be a time-consuming and costly process so it is very important to keep your car insurance coverage from being canceled in the first place.

Finding Car Insurance in Florida

The process of finding the right policy to suit your needs used to be very cumbersome. However, the Internet offers an innovative way to research various car insurance companies and you can even get quotes and make comparisons in the meantime. Professionals suggest that you get between three and five quotes to compare while shopping for a new Florida car insurance.

29Sep/120

FR44 Florida Auto Insurance Facts For DUI Drivers

By Clifford J Schimek

 

Required liability limits are 100,000 of bodily injury for each person with 300,000 available per accident and 50,000 of property damage per accident. A total combined single limit, i.e. for bodily injury and property damage, of 350,000 also satisfies the requirement. These amounts are ten times what the State considers as being financially responsible for drivers without a DUI.

FR44 Policy Types:

In addition to a standard car insurance policy the FR44 can be filed with a non-owner policy or a motorcycle policy. In Florida these two policy types exclude Personal Injury Protection coverage which can be very expensive and is required on every any standard car insurance contract. The non-owner policy is only available to drivers who do not own or have regular access to a vehicle. The motorcycle insurance policy is the least restrictive and usually the least expensive of any type requiring the FR44 filing.

Florida FR44 Companies:

Companies respond differently to applicants requiring FR44 filings. Available through independent agents are Progressive and Foremost which qualifies most drivers but do not offer payment plans. Mercury and Infinity which are more restrictive with driving history but will offer monthly billing and Travelers which declines DUI drivers. Other companies include, Allstate accommodating current clients only, Geico requiring payment in full, and the largest company in Florida, unlike a good neighbor, declines DUI drivers altogether. These well-known companies demonstrate the variety of responses you may encounter from any provider.

FR44 Insurance Cost:

The filing (submission) fee for the FR44 form is 15.00 dollars. Other insurance related costs for the DUI driver are significantly more. Additional liability coverage, removal of safe driver discounts, and placement into a less favorable tier (category) with higher premium (rates) can be expected.

Form Completion:

Insured person information required is name, address, driver license number, and birth date. Insured company information required is name, NAIC code, policy number, FR44 case number, and certification effective date. Additional information indicates which type of two policies is selected. An owner's policy with year, make model and VIN of all vehicles registered and insured. Or an operator's policy applicable to any vehicle not registered or titled to the listed person. Authorized representative signature and date prepared completes form.

FR44 Filing:

The completed form is filed (submitted) to Florida's Bureau of Financial Responsibility. After June 30, 2009 all insurance companies must report FR44 filings to the state electronically. The DMV does not accept Proof of FR44 insurance from DUI drivers. Companies are required to notify the bureau when FR44 insurance policy are canceled, terminated, or lapses for any reason.

Miscellaneous Facts:

The actual name of the form is the Florida Uniform Financial Responsibility Certificate FR-44. Florida statute 324.023 addresses the FR44 and is applicable after October 1, 2007. Compliance period is for three years. There are no driving restrictions associated with the FR44 filing. Non compliance results in license and vehicle registration suspension. FR44 filing must be on a Florida auto insurance policy. There can not be more than one FR44 or FR44 and SR22 on the same driver.

29Sep/120

Florida Auto Insurance – State Required Cover

By

Florida auto insurance minimum cover required by law is one of the low ones, especially if you compare them with those of states like Alabama, Alaska etc. If you intend to drive legally in Florida, you should know what these state required minimum coverages are.

First, the state requires a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection. Unlike the minimum requirements in other states, this cover covers you in an accident without regard to who was at fault. Medical expenses, lost wages and some other related expenses are taken care of by this cover. There is also a $5000 death benefit should the need arise.

Next is the $10,000 minimum required in Property Damage Liability Cover. This cover however, takes care of damages done to other people's properties as a result of an accident caused by you. Some of the items regarded as property include telephone poles, fences amongst other things.

A person could easily get these covers and feel they have done all they should. This is far from wrong because in many cases this minimum cover is not sufficient to handle the liability that arises from an accident. Even if it does, remember that any damage to your own property would not be covered. You need more cover both for yourself and to save you the possibility of losing your savings, future wages, home etc to huge liabilities you were not insured against.

Talk to your insurance agent about getting more cover. There are options like Collision, Comprehensive and more.

If you are worried about the high cost of auto insurance, then you can try to get a more affordable auto insurance cover by getting and comparing quick auto insurance quotes. Auto insurance quotes help you find the best rates available. In addition to this, you can also get discounts from you insurer which would further reduce your rates. These discounts are available when you take some actions or when you have achieved somethings. For example, get a good credit score and your rate would be affected. Improve your driving by taking a course in defensive driving and also earn a discount. There a lot more discounts available for you to reduce your rates with. To know more about discounts, talk with your insurance agent.

Every driver in Florida has access to a wealth of information if they just call the Florida Department of Financial Services at 800-342-2762. Take your auto insurance seriously.

3Feb/120

Auto Insurance Lakeland, Fl.

Auto Insurance Lakeland, Fl.

When selecting your auto insurance policy and company, there are several factors to take into consideration. Full Cover Insurance has the ability to offer many different coverage plans from various companies to best suit your individual needs. With our list of important factors used to compare insurance companies, you’ll have the tools you need to begin your search for auto insurance in Lakeland, Fl.

5.  Credit & Driving History

Credit plays a big role in your insurance rates, as well as your driving record. Statistically, people with low credit ratings are more likely to file a claim. Insurance companies are aware of this and raise their rates for customers they view as high-risk.  If you have good credit, it gives you a huge advantage when buying auto insurance. People with high credit scores usually get lower rates and premiums for auto insurance in Lakeland, Fl. If you do have poor credit, there’s still hope! If you know your policy will soon be up for renewal, take some time to try and clean up your credit report. Paying bills on time, paying off balances on credit cards, and looking into getting any discrepancies cleared from your report are all good ways to bring up your credit score. Your driving record also plays a big part in receiving better insurance rates. Accidents do happen, but you can try to avoid them as much as possible by adhering to speed limits and other laws that apply to automobile drivers. Just one ticket or wreck can cause a spike in your insurance rates, so drive with caution!

4. Know Your State Laws & What Type of Coverage You Need

Florida requires that automobile drivers carry Personal Injury Protection coverage. This coverage will pay for your medical expenses and lost wages if an auto accident does occur. Liability insurance is what pays for bodily injury and property damage that you could potentially cause another driver. Your insurance minimums are determined by state, but for some people it is in their best interest to carry more than required by law. It is also important to know what options you would like your insurance to cover. In the event of an accident, do you need rental car coverage? If you have a leased car, you more than likely will need gap insurance. Gap insurance pays the difference between what your insurer pays and what you are left owing on your lease if your car is totaled. When choosing insurance, it is important to go over all of these details in depth with your local agent.

3. Know Your Vehicle

If your car was totaled in an accident, could you pay to replace it? If the answer is no, you will want to carry comprehensive and collision coverage. Most people base the decision to carry comprehensive and collision off of the value of their car. If your car is less than 2,000, it won’t be worth carrying the comprehensive and collision. If you own a car that costs 20,000 for example,  it would be more than worth it to pay an extra 100.00 yearly to make sure your car will be replaced if you get into a bad automobile accident. Anti-theft devices and anti lock brakes are also factors that can help reduce your auto insurance rates.

2.  Determining Which Discounts You are Eligible For

Most auto insurance discounts are fairly modest, but if you qualify for more than one, they can really start to add up! Our agents at Full Cover Insurance would be more than happy to help you determine which discounts you may be eligible for. Examples of some auto insurance discounts are:

  • Organizations : Such as, AAA or AARP. Lots of organizations like these provide auto insurance discounts to members.
  • Mileage: A lot of insurance companies will give you a discount for driving your car less than a certain amount of miles on a regular basis.
  • Combined Coverage: If you insure multiple vehicles or your home, you may qualify for a combined coverage discount.
  • Renewal: If you have carried insurance, without any lapses, for a long amount of time, you may qualify for a renewal discount. Making sure your auto coverage doesn’t lapse is another crucial part in keeping down your overall cost of insurance.

1. Understanding and Comparing Coverage

It may seem like a no brainer, but knowing what you pay for car insurance and exactly what coverage you’re getting is crucial. Understanding your current insurance rates and comparing them to your prospective new insurance policy is key to making sure you don’t pay a higher rate, or even pay a little bit less for a lot less coverage. You can request a comprehensive policy breakdown which shows what you pay and what type of coverage you’re provided with from your insurance company. Most people can even obtain this information by looking at your latest auto insurance bill. Starting your search for new auto insurance with this information on hand is vital.

Each company claims to give the best discounts, the most competitive rates, and the most superb customer care.  Full Cover insurance works with various companies to make sure you get the lowest rate and the best coverage. If you’re looking for auto insurance in Lakeland, Fl, stop by and see one of our agents today!