A common questions we hear asked is about PIP insurance coverage. Many clients express concern that their insurance rates will go up or their policy will be cancelled if they use their PIP insurance benefits after a car accident. The general answer is that using your PIP insurance benefits should not cause your rates to go up, or your policy to be cancelled.
Florida Personal Injury Protection
Florida Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) is required by law and can be found in Florida Statutes Section 627.736. The concept behind PIP is based on “no fault” insurance and is designed to pay a majority of your initial medical expenses and other damages after a motor vehicle accident without regard to who is at fault for causing the accident. In particular, PIP pays 80% of your reasonable, related and necessary medical expenses incurred due to an automobile accident. In addition to medical expenses, PIP can also be used to pay:
- 60% of your lost wages
- Mileage reimbursement for your travel expenses to and from your doctor
- Reimbursement for household service
Emergency Medical Condition under Florida PIP Law
Florida’s PIP Statute limits your PIP benefits to $2,500, unless you have been found to have an Emergency Medical Condition (“EMC”). As defined in the statute, an Emergency Medical Condition is a medical condition that requires immediate medical attention, and/or the Emergency Medical Condition could be reasonably expected to result in serious jeopardy or health of the patient. After opening a PIP claim, speak with your medical provider right away about whether your injuries qualify as an Emergency Medical Condition.
Time Limitations for PIP Coverage
Florida law also limits PIP coverage as follows:
- You must receive medical treatment within fourteen (14) days of the accident to qualify for PIP coverage.
- PIP covers many types of treatment, including Chiropractics, but will not pay for acupuncture or massage therapy
Will My Car Insurance Rates Go Up?
Again, your insurance rates should not go up if you use your PIP coverage after an accident. There is some consumer protections built into Florida Law that prevent your insurance company from arbitrarily increasing your rates or cancelling your coverage. Florida Statute Section 626.9541 prohibits insurance companies from raising rates or cancelling coverage for improper reasons. The law provides that it is a deceptive or unfair act or practice when an insurance company raises rates or drops a policy holder without a legally valid reason and the insurance company may be subject to civil liability and fines.
Insurance companies can increase rates and cancel policies based on claim and accident history as well as other factors. Insurance companies are in the business of managing risk. Insurance companies will not only review claims history and driving record, but also may utilize formulas that analyze many factors such as your geographic location, traffic conditions, population density, and crime rates. While your rates may go up or your policy may be cancelled after an accident, it likely has nothing to do with your PIP claim.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
PIP benefits are limited and only cover the first $10,000 of your accident related medical bills. If you are seriously injured and have suffered damages that exceed the limits of PIP coverage, you may be entitled to recover personal injury damages from the liability insurance policies covering the person and/or vehicle that caused the accident. For more information or for help with your Tampa Bay car accident, please contact Spinner Law Firm – Injury Attorneys. We are standing by to help at (813) 991-5099.