Yes. Motor vehicle owners in Florida are required by Florida law to carry PIP coverage on their motor vehicles. Aside from being against the law, there are a host of other, more practical reasons, why it is a really bad idea for Florida consumers to let their automobile insurance expire, thus having no PIP coverage.
PIP coverage (also sometimes called “No Fault” coverage) pays reasonable medical bills that are made necessary as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Although there are some exceptions and recent legal loopholes (for more info, download our free PIP handbook, The Clever Client's Guide to Avoiding Disaster Under the 2013 PIP Law), PIP coverage provides people injured in car accidents $10,000.00 available to pay medical bills and other related expenses.
Here’s Why Having No Florida PIP Coverage Is a Really Bad Idea
The cost of medical care is (generally) sky-rocketing. A few years ago, we typically saw emergency room bills totaling a few thousand dollars after a car accident. In recent years, it is rare that we see an emergency room/hospital bill less than $10,000.00. If an accident victim does not have PIP coverage, these bills will become the responsibility of the injured person.
Some people might think, “Well, the accident wasn’t my fault, so these bills will be the responsibility of the driver who hit me, not my responsibility.” Unfortunately, this thinking is misplaced.
Ultimately, medical bills are the responsibility of the patient—no matter the cause. If an at-fault driver denies liability, or if a personal injury case drags on over many years (as they sometimes do), unpaid and overdue medical bills remain on the injured person’s credit history—not the at-fault driver’s. Even if money is eventually recovered from a negligent driver, oftentimes it is too late to repair damaged credit
Many people let their PIP coverage expire because they have group health insurance, and they figure they’ll just let their health insurance pay their accident-related medical expenses. This is also a bad idea.
Unlike PIP coverage, any bills paid by group health insurance have to be paid back if the injured person recovers any money in their personal injury case. There is no such reimbursement requirement for PIP. This reimbursement requirement can easily eat up a large portion of a personal injury settlement.
A person who decides not to have PIP coverage will not recover more money simply because their initial medical bills have not been paid. Because it is a violation of Florida law not to have PIP, the at-fault driver’s insurance company still gets to act as if the injured driver had $10,000.00 in medical coverage when they evaluate the underlying personal injury case.
All of this being so, having no PIP coverage does not mean that an injured driver cannot pursue an injury case against a negligent driver. Not having PIP just makes things a lot more difficult.
We help people all across Florida who have been injured in car accidents—even those people who do not have PIP coverage. If you have questions about any aspect of a Florida car accident, call Winter Park attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-644-4444.