Personal Injury Protection insurance is big business in Florida, where some drivers pay hundreds of dollars more each year in premiums to stay covered.

You can be the most expert defensive driver in the world, but sometimes, accidents happen. That’s why you have insurance. Unfortunately, not everyone has insurance, which means hospitals, clinics, homeowners and others, don’t get reimbursed for the damages caused by someone else’s negligence. This has led some Florida lawmakers to look at ways of defending against fraud which might lead to a decrease in insurance premiums, especially where PIP insurance is concerned.

In 1972 Florida introduced PIP insurance to provide benefits for anyone injured in an automobile accident no matter whose fault it was. The law guarantees that a driver’s insurance company will pay up to $10,000 to cover medical bills and lost wages in the event of an accident.

Unfortunately, PIP also opens the doors for fraud. A recent investigation in Dade County showed rampant fraud at some clinics who claimed they had treated accident victims without insurance, but who could not produce records of those patients. In fact, Florida is now the #1 state for staged accidents, where nobody actually gets hurt, but lots of people collect money anyway. This fraud has forced insurance companies to raise premiums to compensate for losses. Some estimates show that the increased premiums costs Florida drivers an extra billion dollars or more every year.

The proposed legislation will close a loophole that exists for smaller clinics (where some say the majority of fraud takes place) and set up a fee schedule for reimbursements. It is also intended to bring the existing bill payment system into the 21st century, thereby reducing costs and speeding payments. The new law also gives hospitals the first priority when it comes to PIP claims, mainly because they are usually the care provider when someone is involved in an accident.

So, if you’re living and driving in Florida make certain you have your PIP, and consider a defensive driving course. The safer you drive, the less it’s gonna cost you.

Image: Bill Longshaw /