The blame game

Floridian motorists, as of Jan. 1, 2008, will see the state’s No-Fault Car Insurance Law reinstated.

Over the next three months recent changes to Florida’s No-Fault Law could leave some motorists uninsured, which means if motorists were to get into an accident they caused, they would be left to pay the bill.

Before the recent change, those with car insurance had Personal Injury Protection. On Oct. 1, PIP expired.

Arbutas Dawson, who owns an Allstate agency on Adams Street, said that some motorists believe that the termination of PIP will lower their car insurance rate. Although this may be the case, in the end it will only leave them with high medical costs, because if the motorist is not insured they have to pay for any damage incurred, Dawson said.

Some drivers were skeptical of what the new law could have brought. But some consumers are not even aware of how not having No-Fault will affect them or the basic services provided in an insurance policy.

“I don’t pay my own car insurance, all I know is to give the police my insurance card,” said Latrice Wiggins, 21, a fourth-year education student from Miami.

Lawmakers, agents and individuals are all looking at No-Fault in a different way. It will lower car insurance, but Dawson said the new provisions made would only benefit a PIP insured motorist who hits another motorist with the same insurance. Unfortunately, even if a driver is PIP insured they may be forced to go to court if a driver who isn’t covered by the state’s No-Fault insurance hits them.

Many drivers may still have PIP depending on how its timed out on their policy. Insurers are encouraging drivers to keep their policy until an agreement is made and personal injury protection is offered to customers again.

Gov. Charlie Crist expanded the call for the Special Session beginning Oct. 3. to include Florida’s No-Fault law.

“There is no reason for anyone to be alarmed, whether or not PIP comes or goes if it comes back then we are already accustomed to having it,” Dawson said.

Jarvis Francis, 21, a fourth-year pharmacy student from Orlando, said the potential proposal is a good effort by the Florida Legislature.

“They clearly made a mistake and now they are trying to make up for it,” Francis said.

Jeffrey Obin, 23, a graduating senior from Lagos, Nigeria said that he thinks reinstating PIP is a great move.

“I personally think it’s good they are bringing it back,” Obin said. “It’s no point of having insurance if it’s not going to cover damages to your car.”

After Crist signs the new bill, drivers who lost their license because they did not have insurance, could possibly lose it again as a result of not having personal injury protection.

If motorists are pulled over and they do not have PIP they must be able to show some form of insurance.

There are other types of insurance coverage that motorists can choose if they choose not to add PIP once it is reinstated.

Despite the potential changes, Dawson suggested that insured motorists continue to confirm any changes with their insurance company.

“No matter what happens in the Special Session regarding PIP, it’s best to talk to your agent,” Dawson said.