What is PIP anyway? Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is an extension of car insurance available in some states that covers medical expenses and, in some cases, lost wages and other damages. PIP is sometimes referred to as “no-fault” coverage, because it is designed to be paid without regard to “fault,” or more properly, legal liability. PIP is also called “no-fault” because, by definition, a claimant’s, or insured’s, insurance premium should not increase due to a PIP claim.
Florida adopted the personal injury protection law in 1972 and served it’s purpose very well for many years. Unfortunately, PIP costs have risen by $1.4 billion since 2008, largely because of the runaway fraud that threatens the system, most notably in the metropolitan Miami and Tampa areas. Florida ranks first nationally in staged accidents.
The newly passed Florida PIP reform legislation requires an accident victim to obtain treatment within 14 days in an ambulance or hospital, or from a physician, osteopathic physician, chiropractic physician, or dentist. The full $10,000 PIP medical benefit is available only if a physician, osteopathic physician, dentist, or a supervised physician’s assistant or advanced registered nurse practitioner determines that the insured has an “emergency medical condition.” Otherwise, the PIP medical benefit is limited to $2,500.
Follow-up services and care requires a referral from a physician, osteopath, chiropractor or dentist. Massage therapists and acupuncture was eliminated from eligibility for PIP benefits.
Proponents of the measure claim that PIP cost savings will ultimately result in lower premiums for consumers, though nothing is guaranteed. The measure requires insurers who do not provide their customers a minimum 10 percent rate reduction to explain in detail the reasons why they are unable to lower premiums. Not exactly a toothy punishment…
Ultimately only time will tell if the measure puts a few extra bucks in consumer’s pockets, or simply increases insurance company profits.