Bill passed could increase car insurance rates for Floridians

Bill passed could increase car insurance rates for Floridians

Major changes could increase insurance costs for many Florida drivers after the state House and Senate voted Friday to repeal the state's no-fault auto insurance law.

"I don't think things were very carefully thought through on this," said Dr. Eric Hermann.

Hermann owns Ocean Ridge Chiropractic in Boynton Beach. On Friday, his attention was on Tallahassee.

"If the law does go into effect, more people will not be able to get insurance because it's going to be too expensive," Hermann said.

In Florida, drivers are required to carry $10,000 in personal injury protection, or PIP insurance, which covers you if you're in an accident, no matter who is at fault.

But if PIP is repealed, experts said it will be replaced with a mandatory $25,000 worth of bodily injury coverage.

"It would have a gigantic impact from a financial standpoint," said Tara Kopp, a PIP attorney in West Palm Beach. "The premiums would skyrocket."

Kopp said repealing PIP has been debated before and could cause insurance rates to jump up hundreds of dollars each year for many Floridians.

"If PIP goes away, whether you are at fault or not in an accident, that will matter. And if you are at fault you won't get anything from PIP anymore," Kopp said.

Kopp believes the increases will lead to more uninsured drivers on Florida roads, which she said already stands at about 20%

But supporters said a repeal could mean savings for motorists who already purchase bodily injury coverage.

But Hermann argued that's unlikely, and said this will hurt consumers and medical providers.

"Most clinics and hospitals are either going to go out of business or they're going to have to drastically cut back their staffs and that means a lot of unemployment," Hermann said.

The bill will now head to the governor's desk.

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