No-fault insurance in Fla. may be on its way out

Insurance companies say cost of fraud in Florida is one of highest in country


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Across Florida, a high number of fraudulent car accidents equal higher costs, or "fraud taxes" for Floridians. One form of insurance may be on its way out in efforts to eliminate illegal activity.

Staged accidents are driving up the cost of car insurance. Insurance companies say the cost of fraud in Florida is one of the highest in the country.

Lawmakers blame the current no-fault law for problems and are now looking for change.

"Florida is a unique state, but nonetheless, I think that sometimes we bare the brunt of a lot of insurance company losses," said Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth).

Since the early 1970s, no-fault insurance has been a fixture of Florida auto-insurance. The new plan -- if passed into law -- would end the mandatory $10,000 requirement of Personal Injury Protection coverage that pays for injuries, no matter who caused an accident.

Drivers should be weary of things disguised as common courtesy. In some places around Florida, being waved through an intersection may be a trap for insurance fraud.

"People have understood and have learned to game the system and it's easy to game the system because when you ram into someone's car, it could be an automatic $10,000 in coverage," said insurance expert Lisa Miller.

A Florida report said the extreme number of fraudulent car accidents cost Floridians around $1 billion a year. Lawmakers who support repealing the law said it will save drivers money on car insurance.

"I believe there is room for rate reduction and the hope is that either the change that were made last year, or those that we could possibly make in terms of a move towards a mandatory BI, would solve the issue," said Clemens.

Some reforms were passed in 2012, but the changes are being challenged in court.

When Colorado dropped its similar no-fault insurance system, a Governor's study found drivers saved 35 percent overall for their coverage.