Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of life, and they can lead to a host of complications, including potential increases in car insurance rates. This is a common concern among drivers in Florida.
The question that often arises is, “Do car insurance rates go up after an accident that wasn’t my fault?” The answer to this question is complex and depends on several factors.
The Basics of Car Accident Claims in Florida
Florida’s no-fault system means that you must file a claim with your own insurance company first. You can file a liability claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver if the accident causes a “serious injury” as defined by Florida Statute 627.737.
The following injuries meet the threshold:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
- Permanent injury.
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
- Any fatal injury.
Even if your injury is not severe, Florida law allows you to sue the at-fault driver if your medical costs exceed the $10,000 PIP coverage limit.
If you can file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance, you’re less likely to see an increase in your insurance premium. Some insurance carriers won’t raise your rate even if you need to file a claim against your own policy.
Car Insurance Rates After an Accident
As a general rule, if you’re involved in an accident and it’s your fault, your insurance rate is likely to increase. Factors such as the circumstances of the accident, your claim history, and the type of insurance coverage you have can influence this.
It’s important to note that Florida Statute 626.9541 prohibits insurance companies from raising rates just because you were in an accident. This applies unless it can be proven that you were substantially at fault for the accident.
If an insurance company fails to comply with this statute, they may be subject to civil liability and fines.
An insurance company can choose not to renew your policy if you’re involved in three separate accidents within three years, regardless of fault.
Steps to Take if Your Insurance Company Illegally Increases Your Rates in Florida
If you believe that your insurance company has unlawfully increased your rates in Florida, it’s crucial to take the following steps.
Understand Your Policy
Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. Ensure you understand the circumstances under which your rates can be increased.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Reach out to your insurance company for an explanation. There may be a valid reason for the increase that you’re not aware of.
File a Complaint with Florida’s Department of Financial Services
If you’re not satisfied with the response from your insurance company, you can file a complaint with Florida’s Department of Financial Services (FDFS). They regulate insurance companies and can investigate your claim.
Consult a Lawyer
If your rates continue to increase illegally, it may be time to consult with a lawyer. They can provide advice tailored to your specific circumstances and help you navigate the legal process.
How to Protect Yourself
If you’re involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself. First and foremost, ensure that you have all the necessary information about the other driver and the accident itself. This includes the other driver’s contact and insurance information, photographs of the accident scene, and any witness statements.
It’s also crucial to report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in Florida
Florida law mandates that every vehicle registered in the state must have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP insurance. This coverage provides no-fault benefits to the insured, household residents, vehicle operators, and others involved in an accident.
PIP insurance in Florida covers a range of expenses.
Medical Expenses (80%)
PIP covers 80% of medical costs related to the accident, up to the $10,000 limit per covered person. This includes costs for ambulance services, hospital bills, doctor visits, dental work, and more. It’s important to note that initial care must be received within 14 days of the accident for these expenses to be covered.
Lost Wages and Services (60%)
If you’re unable to work or have to miss work due to injuries from the accident, PIP pays 60% of your regular income, up to the $10,000 limit per covered person. It also covers services you can’t perform yourself due to the accident, such as house cleaning or childcare.
In the unfortunate event of a death resulting from a car accident, PIP provides a $5,000 benefit for each covered person who passes away.
Call Our Miami Car Accident Lawyers Today!
Generally, your car insurance rates should not go up after an accident that wasn’t your fault in Florida. Dealing with insurance claims and navigating the legal process after a wreck can be complicated.