Many of us believe our auto insurance premiums won’t rise unless we are involved in a car crash where it’s determined that we are the at-fault driver. It makes sense but that thinking doesn’t correspond with reality.
A recent Consumer Federation of America study found that Florida auto insurance premiums may rise even if you were not at fault in an accident. It seems from the study that Florida drivers who have an auto accident will likely see their premiums rise regardless of who was at fault, unless your insurance company is State Farm, who, according to the study, was the only major insurance carrier that didn’t raise rates regardless of the culpability of the driver. Progressive charged 16.6 percent more after not-at-fault accidents in research conducted in 10 markets around the country. Geico (14.1 percent increase), Farmers (11.1) and Allstate (4.8) followed.
California and Oklahoma drivers are not subject to such a rate increase thanks to legislation that forbids insurance companies from raising rates in these situations.
Florida drivers rank in the top five nationally for the highest auto insurance rates, thanks in part to a generally unpopular state law requiring all drivers to carry $10,000 for personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of minor injuries in accidents regardless of who is at fault.
The Florida Legislature is considering revising the PIP law which have been in place since the 1970’s. Major insurers have raised PIP rates in Florida 25 percent since the start of 2015.
The insurance industry is a major political force in Florida because they can afford to lobby our elected officials to pass legislation that is in the insurance industry’s best interest. The fact that insurance companies can raise auto insurance premiums even when an auto accident was not your fault is proof that they are a formidable, self-interested force in our lives.