Will My Car Insurance Rates Go Up If I Use PIP?
Your car insurance premiums should NOT increase if you make a PIP claim following a crash that is not your fault.
Car insurance is expensive, especially in South Florida. The last thing anyone would want is for their car insurance premiums to INCREASE following a crash that is not their fault.
Not surprisingly, the two most common question we get from prospective clients following a car crash are, “Will my car insurance premiums increase if I file a claim for my injuries?” and “Why do I have to file a PIP claim through my car insurance?” Here are the simple answers:
- If you were not “substantially at-fault” for the crash, your car insurance premiums should NOT increase.
- If you were not “substantially at-fault” for the crash, your car insurance premiums should NOT increase if you use your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to pay for medical treatment.
- Your PIP insurance is the primary insurance following a car crash, even before your health insurance. You are legally required to use your PIP coverage.
Florida is considered a “no-fault” state. As such, the Florida legislature legally requires all owners of motor vehicles registered in Florida to purchase PIP coverage through their auto insurance. PIP covers 80% of your necessary and reasonable medical expenses up to $10,000.00 regardless of who caused the crash. As Florida is a “no-fault” state, you are legally required to use your PIP coverage to pay for medical expenses. Because you are legally required to use your PIP coverage, your insurance company CANNOT raise your rates for exercising this right.
Please see Florida Statute 626.9541(o)(3), Unfair Methods of Competition and Unfair or Deceptive Acts.
Florida Statute 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. Raising your rates for utilizing your PIP coverage following a crash that is not your fault is not 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.
Of note, even though Florida is a “no-fault” state, you can still seek damages (i.e., past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering) from the at-fault party. An experienced personal injury can help.
Insurance companies are in the business of managing risk. Apples to apples, higher risk drivers should pay more in premiums than lower risk drivers. Insurance companies are permitted to increase premiums and cancel policies based on claim and accident history, as well as other factors. To do this effectively, insurance companies will not only review claim histories but also employ algorithms that analyze many factors, including but not limited to, the age of the drivers, the vehicle(s) insured, the number of claims, the types of claims, your credit score, your geography, the numbers of miles driven per year, your type of employment, the population density and neighborhood crime rates. Every insurance company employs its own algorithms to price policies, which is one reason Progressive quotes a different rate than State Farm, GEICO or Allstate.
Bottom line: regardless of whether you file a claim or use your PIP coverage your rates may be recalculated following a crash. Your rates may go up or your policy may be cancelled. An insurer can legally choose to non-renew your policy in which you have had three or more accidents, regardless of fault, during the most recent three-year period.
Having said that, any increase in your rates CANNOT have anything to do with filing a PIP claim to pay for your medical expenses following a crash that was not your fault.
Injured in a car accident that was not your fault? Please call one of our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free consultation. We can explain and help simplify the process and protect your rights.