Car accidents in Florida are often costly. Depending on what happened, you could be looking at medical bills, repair costs, rental fees, lost wages, and maybe even the expense of a lawsuit and attorney’s fees. In addition to these costs, there is the reality of your monthly car insurance premium increasing. However, is an increase guaranteed? How much would it be? The answers to these questions will probably surprise you. Below, our Hollywood, FL car accident attorney from South Florida Law, PLLC, looks at what could happen to your insurance costs if you are involved in an accident.
Common Reasons Car Insurance Rates Increase in Florida
What causes your car insurance rate to increase? There is no one simple answer to why car insurance rates increase after an accident. An insurance company will consider many factors when determining if your rate should increase after you file an accident claim. For instance, an insurance provider will look at your driving history, the severity of injuries, the amount of property damage, and who caused the accident.
Typically, an insurance company will base a significant part of its decision on how much money it is required to pay because of the accident. This concept also applies to drivers that are involved in frequent accidents. Insurance companies work to minimize their risk.
Some insurance companies offer accident forgiveness to certain drivers. The underlying principle is that, no matter how safely or carefully a person drives, accidents still happen. These types of protections differ from company to company. For instance, one company might offer a first-time accident allowance while another will reward drivers who have been customers for years.
Florida Insurance and Car Accidents
if you live in Florida, the first thing to understand regarding your car insurance is that you live in a no-fault jurisdiction. How does this impact your insurance coverage? In a no-fault state, your insurance provider will handle your claim – no matter who caused the accident. Therefore, if you get into a car crash, your first option is to file a claim with your insurance company – even if you were at fault. Contact our Hallandale Beach personal injury lawyers to learn more.
Under Florida law, car insurance companies are required to provide Personal Injury Protection (PIP). While this coverage is available to anyone involved in an accident, it only pays 80% of the medical bills and 60% of lost income to select individuals under the policy, including the insured driver, relatives residing in the insured’s home, someone operating the insured’s vehicle, injured passengers, and other people injured in the accident.
To receive benefits through PIP coverage, an injured person must file a claim with their insurance provider and seek medical treatment within 14 days of the crash. If these benefits are not sufficient to cover your damages, and the accident was not your fault, you would have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Our personal injury lawyers in Ft. Lauderdale are available to explain this process.
Florida Law and Increased Insurance Rates After a Car Accident
Florida law provides an additional benefit to drivers who are involved in an accident. Under Florida law, an insurance provider is prohibited from raising an insured’s premiums for personal injury protection, liability, medical payments, or collision only because the insured driver was involved in an accident. To increase your rates, your insurance company must determine, in good faith, that you were substantially to blame for the accident.
This means that unless an insured driver is more than 50% at fault for an accident, their insurance company cannot raise their rates. This is where an experienced car accident attorney in Miami and Florida can help you. As stated above, under Florida law, you do not have to be blameless, just not substantially at fault. To assess blame requires an investigation to determine what occurred. Proving that another driver caused your accident is also essential in prevailing in a personal injury lawsuit.
For example, suppose your car was rear-ended by a driver who was texting at the time. Because you were not to blame, you can file a claim under your PIP coverage and file a personal injury case against the at-fault driver and their insurance company. If your insurance provider raises your rates, then it could be acting in bad faith and breaking the law. Suppose an investigation determines you were partially at fault because one of your brake lights was malfunctioning. An increase would still be considered bad faith unless your contribution passed the 50% threshold. However, if you were 75% at fault for an accident, then your rates could legally increase. An experienced Florida car accident attorney can represent you in a personal injury lawsuit while working with your insurance company to determine fault.
While your rates should not increase if you were not at fault in an accident, there could still be negative consequences. An insurance company is not required to renew a policy if you were involved in three accidents within three years. Under this provision, it does not matter who caused the accident.
Call Our Florida Car Accident Attorney to Help Keep Your Insurance Rates Lower
if you are in a car crash, the last thing you need is increased insurance premiums. Luckily, Florida law prohibits insurance companies from raising rates for drivers who did not substantially contribute to an accident. Additionally, you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver if your coverage is insufficient to cover your losses. An experienced Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyer can work to establish you were not to blame, representing your interests in both a civil lawsuit and in negotiations with your insurance provider. If you were in a car crash, contact South Florida Law, PLLC at (954) 932-7877 to schedule a free consultation to review your rights and options.