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Should Floridians care if no-fault auto insurance gets repealed?

Ron Hurtibise, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Automotive News

Should Floridians care if their state legislature repeals the no-fault auto insurance law that’s been in effect since 1972 and replaces it with one requiring bodily injury coverage?

That depends on how much auto insurance coverage — if any — they currently buy.

The no-fault law is on the verge of joining caged monkeys and backyard citrus trees on “remember when” Florida history websites.

Following the Florida Senate’s passage of the no-fault repeal bill last week, the House Judiciary Committee approved it by an 18-2 vote Monday. The bill next goes to the full House, and if it prevails there, to the full Legislature.

The decades-old law requires drivers who want to legally register and tag their vehicles to purchase policies that provide up to $10,000 for their own medical, disability and funeral expenses if they get hurt in a crash, regardless of whether or not the other driver has insurance.

Many Florida drivers are happy to buy just the minimal level of insurance, but many who understand that they could be sued if their victims’ medical treatment costs exceed that paltry minimum opt to purchase much more coverage.

 

If enacted, the proposed repeal would require drivers to buy coverage that would cover medical care for occupants of vehicles they hit — a minimum of $25,000 per occupant and $50,000 per incident.

Proponents of the proposed repeal, including the Florida Justice Association lobbying organization for plaintiffs attorneys, note that the $10,000 minimum medical coverage guaranteed by the law hasn’t changed and isn’t sufficient to cover most hospital visits.

The attorneys, who have been pushing the repeal effort for several years, say the change is necessary to bring Florida in line with 48 other states.

The current law is riddled with fraud and “obsolete,” the association contends. Association president Ed Romano said the no-fault law is a “socialized law” in which “responsible drivers are forced to subsidize irresponsible drivers” and forces 86% of Florida drivers who already have health insurance to buy additional health insurance they don’t need.

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