As a South Florida personal injury firm our office reviews and handles hundreds of cases yearly. Every so often we are faced with a client/claimant who is afraid to file a claim because they are afraid of a rate increase. What should you do when faced with this scenario?
Will your automobile insurance premiums jump up after you’re in an accident and make a claim? If you were not to blame for what happened, then the answer is easy. No. This is true even if you are injured in the accident and you file an insurance claim to cover your harm. In a rear end collision the driver who is rear-ended should not experience or be assessed a rate increase.
If you are partially or completely at fault you may experience a rate increase as a result of the accident. An example of partial fault is an intersectional collision that usually will be determined to have been caused by the negligence of drivers involved.
What about your PIP coverage? Many of our clients are afraid to file a PIP claim with their own company. You should not be afraid to do so. The very nature of PIP is that it is coverage to be extended to a claimant without regard to fault. Florida law requires everyone to have a basic insurance coverage called “personal injury protection,” or “PIP.” It is highly regulated regarding what is covered, etc., and as a general rule, your rates should not increase for your PIP insurance. This is true even if you were found to be at fault in the accident, since PIP is, by definition, “no fault” insurance coverage. PIP doesn’t determine things based upon fault.
The above is a brief discussion on the affects of the effective misinformation that insurance companies utilize to create hesitation, doubt and fear that the filing of a claim will lead to adverse evaluations by their own carrier and ultimately a rate increase. As you can see from the above information the fear is more one of perception rather than reality.
A rate increase if one is properly assessed will, in most cases be dwarfed by the amount of recovery which triggered the rate increase. As South Florida accident attorneys we try and counsel our clients to utilize the coverage they have been paying for.
Although Florida is considered one of the states with a higher average increase (as compared to drivers with clean records) the average increase of $843.00 is considerably less than the items of damage the carrier would be required to pay pursuant to its policy of coverage with the insured.
The best method to determine some of the issues raised in this blog is to consult counsel experienced in accident claims and litigation. The lawyers at the DRG Law Firm are the problem solvers. “We are here to help.”