Lawmakers look to get rid of Florida's no fault auto insurance law

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Florida’s no fault auto insurance law is riddled with fraud, and the fraud has led to higher insurance rates, but lawmakers are looking to replace No Fault with a new system.

Christine Rodriguez was the victim of three separate car accidents. None were her fault.

“And two of the drivers that hit me only had the minimum state required PIP benefit, so that did me no good with my medical expenses," said Rodriguez.

Afterward, Rodriguez was unable to work while her insurance rates skyrocketed.

“So I lost my career, I'm now in an office and I no longer travel," she said.

She blames the state’s no fault insurance law. It only requires drivers carry $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection or PIP.

During a three-year period, PIP was blamed for nearly 4,000 instances of fraud. A bill clearing a Senate committee Wednesday replaces No Fault with a mandatory bodily injury, or BI, coverage system.

“This imposes the cost of an auto crash on the person that caused it. Innocent people don't have their rates go up for accidents that they didn't cause," explained Attorney Dale Swope with the Florida Justice Association.

Whether motorists will save money will depend on where they live and how much coverage they carry.

“The issue of cost, I think, is the key question and it depends on who you are and where you live. I would imagine everybody who is in this room is going to benefit from getting rid of PIP and going to BI because we all carry the pretty much full compliment of coverages," said State Farm Lobbyist Mark Delegal.

Sponsors say bodily injury coverage will provide three times as much coverage per dollar than no fault.

“There's a lot more bang for your buck in the mandatory BI world than in there is currently in the PIP insurance," said Senator Tom Lee.

Currently, Florida is ranked the state with the fifth highest auto insurance rates in the nation.

The last time PIP insurance requirements were raised was 1979. Adjusting for inflation, the $10,000 of coverage then equates to about $1,500 now.