Will My Car Insurance Rates Go Up If I Use PIP?
If I make a PIP claim following a car crash that is not my fault, will my rates go up?
Car insurance is expensive, especially in the Florida Keys. Logically, no one would want their car insurance rates to go UP following a crash that was not their fault.
“Will my insurance rates go up?” is a common question following a crash. In fact, the two most frequent questions we receive from prospective clients are: “Will my car insurance rates increase if I file a claim for my injuries?” and “Why does the doctor need my auto insurance (PIP) information – why don’t they bill the other party’s insurance?”
- Your car insurance rates should NOT increase if you were not “substantially at-fault” for the car accident;
- Your car insurance rates should NOT increase if you use your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to pay for medical bills, if you were not “substantially at-fault” for the car accident; and
- You are legally required to use your PIP coverage. Your PIP insurance is the primary insurance following a car accident, even before your health insurance.
The State of Florida legally requires all owners of motor vehicles registered in Florida to purchase PIP coverage through their car insurance. Regardless of who caused the accident, PIP covers 80% of your reasonable and necessary medical bills up to $10,000.00. Florida is considered a “no-fault” state. Since you own a car in a “no-fault” state, you are legally required to use your PIP coverage to pay for medical bills. 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 forbids your insurance company from raising your rates or cancelling your coverage for an improper reason. Florida law provides that it is an unfair or deceptive 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 car accident that is not your fault is an invalid reason. When an insurance company is determined to have committed an unfair or deceptive act, that insurance company may be fined up to $10,000.00 for every violation.
Insurance companies make money by managing risk. It makes sense that higher risk drivers should pay higher premiums than lower risk drivers. All things being equal, a 16-year-old male who owns a Mustang should pay a higher rate than a 40-year-old female who owns a Civic, as the 16-year-old male is a riskier driver. Insurance companies are allowed to raise premiums and cancel policies based on claim history, as well as other considerations. Insurance companies will not only review claim histories but also employ complicated computer programs that analyze many factors, including but not limited to, the number of claims, the types of claims, the age of the drivers, the vehicle(s) insured, your geography, the numbers of miles driven per year, your credit score, your type of employment, where your car is stored, and crime rates in your zip code. Every insurance company employs its own algorithms to set rates, which is one reason State Farm quotes a different rate than GEICO or Progressive.
Brass Tax: regardless of whether you use or PIP coverage or file a claim, your insurance company may recalculate your rates following a crash. Your rates may go up (or down) or your policy may be cancelled. An insurer can legally choose to non-renew your policy in which you have had three or more crashes during the most recent three-year period, regardless of fault.
To be clear, however, any increase in your premiums CANNOT have anything to do with filing a PIP claim to pay for your medical bills following a car accident where you were not found at fault.
Injured in a car crash due to someone else’s negligence? Call one of our local and experienced personal injury lawyers now for a free consultation. Let us navigate you through this process.
Please be advised, even though Florida is a “no-fault”/ PIP state, a car accident victim 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 driver. Do not speak with the insurance company before learning about your rights. Our personal injury attorneys can help.