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Increase in crashes could drive up insurance rates

Frequency of accidents up nearly 15 percent, says former insurance commissioner

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Feel like there’s more rubbernecking going on while you’re on the roads? Maybe you’ve been in a fender bender yourself. It’s not just a feeling you have. Accidents are on the rise and it could hit you in your wallet.

The Office of Insurance Regulation said they’ll be doing a comprehensive study, looking at personal injury protection rates, or PIP, to see if there’s more legislatively that can be done to control rates.

Florida State University student Morgan Schneider was in the car with her mother not too long ago running errands.

“We got slammed and it was a huge bang," Schneider said. "We got jolted forward. We were at a light, completely stopped. It was a three-car accident. It was pretty bad.”

She said she's happy the scary situation wasn't worse, but Schneider's part of a growing trend in Florida. Accidents are on the rise

“I’ve definitely heard of more people getting into accidents lately," she said.

Florida's former insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty told the governor and the cabinet about the numbers at the end of April.

“(It's) about a 14 to 15 percent increase in the frequency of accidents,” he said.

He said the cause is simple.

“More driving," McCarty said. "There’s just more driving.”

But what does it mean for you if you're the one with the clean record? It could still end up costing you.

Renee Ramirez with the Earl Bacon Insurance Agency said insurance companies have to make up for costs somehow, and that could mean charging everyone.

“PIP is a way to expedite medical claims and to stop litigation, so the more fraudulent PIP claims there are, the more litigation it costs the insurance company to come out of pocket,” Ramirez said. “I think that not enough people are paying attention on the road. They’re texting while driving, and it’s stupid.”

The Office of Insurance Regulation said that rate increases have been in line with the increase in crashes around Florida.