Will My PIP Insurance Rates Increase If I’m Involved In A Car Accident?
In Florida, motorists who are involved in car accidents and who are attempting to recover compensation for their losses will need to first file a claim with their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance providers. It is only when an injury qualifies as serious and permanent, that a person can file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver in court. Many accident victims, however, are wary of filing any type of claim, even with their own insurers due to fears that their rates will increase as a result. Fortunately, there are protections in place that help shield policyholders from unfair increases in their rates.
Under Florida law, insurance companies are actually barred from requiring policyholders to pay higher premiums for PIP, Property Damage Liability (PDL), collision insurance, or medical payment coverage simply because the insured was involved in a car crash. The only time doing so is allowed is when the insurer has evidence that the insured was substantially at fault for the crash. Basically, a PIP insurer can be held liable for bad faith practices if it increases a policyholder’s premium rates and is unable to demonstrate that he or she was substantially at fault for the accident in question.
What Qualifies as Substantially at Fault?
Unfortunately, there is no clear description of what constitutes being substantially at fault for an accident, so whether an insurer deems a policyholder to be substantially at fault will largely depend on the insurer’s specific practices and policies. Some insurance companies, for instance, won’t rule a person as substantially at fault for an accident unless he or she was 50 percent or more at fault for the crash. In these cases, an insurer could choose to increase a policyholder’s premiums after the collision. If, however, there is evidence that the company’s investigation wasn’t conducted in good faith or that the insurer was otherwise engaged in bad faith practices, then it could be held liable by the wronged policyholder.
When Can Insurers Increase Rates?
Insurance companies, while they cannot increase a policyholder’s rates automatically just because he or she was in an accident doesn’t mean that they can’t raise rates for other reasons. They are, for instance, allowed to increase premiums for reasons unique to someone’s policy, such as learning that there is another household resident residing with the policyholder who requires coverage. Alternatively, a company could raise all of the premiums for policyholders in an entire geographic location.
Here to Help with Your Car Accident Case
If you were not found substantially at fault for a car crash, but your insurer still increased your rates, or if you believe that your insurer is otherwise operating in bad faith, don’t hesitate to reach out to the dedicated Tampa car accident lawyers at Anderson & Anderson for help. Our legal team has been assisting Florida accident victims for nearly 40 years, so we know exactly what to do to give you the best possible chance of filing a successful claim for compensation following a crash. To set up a meeting with a member of our legal team, please call us at 813-251-0072 today.