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What You Should Know

Florida Legislature Must Pass Mandatory Bodily Injury Auto Insurance In 2018 Session

The Florida Legislature must pass mandatory bodily injury auto insurance coverage during the 2018 Legislative Session!

Many people don’t know what bodily injury auto insurance coverage is, and this quick example makes it very easy to understand: If you are stopped at a red light minding your own business, doing nothing wrong, and a careless driver rear-ends your vehicle and causes you to suffer injuries, the careless driver’s bodily injury coverage is what pays for your medical bills, your lost wages, and any other damages you incur.

Too many times a client involved in this type of car wreck has hired me, and after investigating their case I have to inform them that unfortunately the careless driver did not have bodily injury coverage on his/her auto insurance policy. I had to break this terrible news to another client yesterday. Without a doubt, it is one of the most unpleasant conversations I have as an attorney.

When it happens, clients are always confused by this news. A typical response is, “What do you mean?! I thought that the careless driver had auto insurance.” At that point, I explain that although the careless driver did in fact have auto insurance, Florida is one of only two states in the entire county where bodily injury coverage is optional instead of mandatory.

This ridiculous deficiency in our laws puts Florida far behind the rest of the country when it comes to protecting its citizens from staggering economic losses, and results in Florida taxpayers losing tens of millions of dollars annually to higher taxes and higher insurance premiums. In other words, Florida taxpayers are essentially picking up the tab for the medical treatment of victims of careless drivers who are underinsured due to Florida’s lax auto insurance requirements.

There’s absolutely no reason why this should continue, and the good news is that we have an opportunity to fix Florida’s broken auto insurance system this year. During the first week of Florida’s 2018 Legislative Session, the Florida House of Representatives passed House Bill 19, entitled the Responsible Roadways Act. Sponsored by Representative Erin Grall, this bill makes bodily injury coverage mandatory.

Additionally, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee has passed the Florida Senate’s companion bill, Senate Bill 150. Sponsored by Senator Tom Lee, this bill is now in the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee awaiting a hearing.

Mandatory bodily injury auto insurance coverage will provide millions of dollars of relief for Florida taxpayers by reducing the burdensome cost shifting that occurs when irresponsible drivers injure others, and the public is left to pay the bill. We have the opportunity to change that this year.

If you support changing Florida’s auto insurance laws so they promote individual responsibility and accountability, then you must contact your Florida Senator right now and encourage him/her to support this extremely important bill. If you aren’t sure who your Florida Senator is or how to contact him/her, then click on the following link and enter your address to obtain this information: www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find.