Will My Insurance Rates Go Up If I Use My PIP?
One of the main questions asked of our car accident lawyers involves clients’ PIP insurance. Many people are rightly concerned that their insurance rates will go up or their policy of insurance will be cancelled if they use their PIP insurance after a car accident. The short answer is that using your PIP insurance shouldn’t cause your rates to go up or your policy to be cancelled. But like everything involved with insurance companies and lawyers, it’s complicated.Florida Personal Injury Protection
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is required by law. The policy behind PIP is based on the concept of no-fault insurance. PIP is designed to pay a percentage of your medical bills and lost wages without regard to fault. Specifically, PIP pays 80% of your reasonable, related and necessary medical expenses caused by an automobile accident. As a policy holder, you can select a deductible which will influence the amount of your rates – the higher the deductible, the lower the premium.
PIP can also pay:
- 80% of out-of-pocket prescription costs, rehabilitative services and dental expenses
- 60% of your lost wages
- Five thousand dollars in death benefits. These are over and above the disability and medical benefits described herein
- Mileage reimbursement for your travel expenses from and to your health care professional clinic or office.
Due to recent changes in the PIP laws, you can only receive $2500 in PIP benefits unless you have an “emergency medical condition” which is specifically defined in the Florida Statutes. Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) is defined as a medical condition requiring immediate medical attention. Furthermore, the EMC could be reasonably expected to result in serious jeopardy of the health of the patient.Additional Limitations of PIP Coverage
Florida law also limits PIP coverage as follows:
- If you fail to get medical treatment within 14 days of the car accident, PIP will not pay any of your medical bills.
- PIP only pays for follow up treatment to the original condition diagnosed as an EMC
- PIP will not pay for acupuncture or massage therapy
All PIP paid, or payable, is deducted from any settlement or award following a car accident personal injury claim or lawsuit. Likewise, as with all insurance, any material misrepresentations can result in a loss of coverage. So when you purchase insurance, it is important to be truthful.Will My Car Insurance Rates Go Up?
Your insurance rates should not go up if you use your legally required PIP insurance. There is some protection in Florida law for consumers. Florida Statue 626.9541 prohibits insurance companies from raising rates or cancelling coverage for improper reasons. Florida law provides that it is a deceptive or unfair act or practice when an insurance company raises rates or drops a policy holder without a legally valid reason. When an insurance company is determined to have committed a deceptive or unfair act, that insurance company may be subject to civil liability and fines. The insurance company can be fined up to ten thousand dollars for each violation in addition to administrative penalties.
If your rates go up or your policy is cancelled and you believe that the insurance company’s action were wrong or illegal, you should request that your insurance company provide you with the reasons for the increase of your rates or cancellation of your policy. If the insurance company fails to adequately explain or answer your inquiry, you can contact the Florida Department of Insurance Regulation here:
Consumer Helpline Contact Information
Email Address: Consumer.Services@myfloridacfo.com.
Statewide Toll-Free: 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236)
TDD Line: 1-800-640-0886.
Out of State Callers: (850) 413-3089
You can also file a specific complaint with the Florida Chief Financial Officer at the Division of Consumer Services. It is most important that you understand that you do not simply have to accept the insurance company’s rate increase or cancellation. You are entitled to answers and the State of Florida provides an avenue for you to force the insurance company to answer your questions.
Insurance companies can increase rates and cancel policies based on claim and accident histories as well as other factors. Insurance companies are in the business of managing risk. To do this effectively, these corporations will not only review claim histories but also employ algorithms that analyze many factors such as locations, traffic, population density and crime rates. While your rates may go up or your policy may be cancelled, it may have nothing to do with your PIP claim. But you have the right at ask and the means to get your answers.
If you were involved in a car accident in South Florida, then you should speak with a South Florida car accident attorney or insurance claim lawyer in Miami-Dade, Broward or West Palm Beach. Get the answers you need so that you are informed about what to do next. At Wolfson & Leon, our car accident attorneys have helped the folks of South Florida since 1963 and we are still here to help you. Call us today for your free consultation at (305) 285-1115.