Courtesy of iii.org
The Florida Legislature is again looking at ending no-fault auto insurance in Florida. Sound familiar? Tweaking no-fault (also known as personal injury protection PIP) is a frequent topic for legislative debate.
You may recall a fix to fight no-fault fraud came in 2012. Regulators issued a report in 2015 that said the fix appeared to be working. Regardless, it seems the desire to do something about rising auto insurance rates may be driving the desire to abolish no-fault. Florida is one of 12 states with a no-fault law. Proponents say it allows those injured in a car crash to recover costs for medical treatment under their own insurance policy, without needing to determine who is at fault for the accident. Among the proponents are hospitals, which say about one-third of the people they treat for auto injuries only have no-fault coverage. Critics discount that view, saying no-fault duplicates coverage that most people already have with medical insurance.
What will replace no-fault/PIP if the legislation becomes law? A requirement for bodily injury coverage, which applies to injuries you as a driver cause to someone else. This may cost more than no-fault coverage for some people. With this change, the Legislature is also considering raising the compulsory financial responsibility limits. Any time most people hear the word “raising” they think it might cost more money, and it might but here’s the other side of that:
Florida has the lowest financial responsibility requirement of any U.S. state. That means we set the bar very low for the responsibility drivers have if they cause a car crash with injuries. And, the end result is that too many people are not fully compensated, so while they are trying to recover physically from injuries caused by another, they may also be suffering financially. Raising that bar is about accountability.
A reminder: Insurance of any type (auto, home, health, business) is about protecting your assets. Always, always (always!) make sure you have insurance equal to the total value of the assets you own.
Courtesy of iii.org
The FBI includes the theft or attempted theft of automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles and other vehicles in its definition of motor vehicle theft. About $5.9 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2016. The average dollar loss per theft was $7,680. Motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 236.9 per 100,000 people in 2016, up 7.6 percent from 2015 but down 35.1 percent from 2007.
Vehicle thefts have been trending downward in the 23 years since they peaked at 1,661,738 in 1991, falling 58 percent to 699,594 in 2013, according to a 2014 report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). As a result, 56 percent of Americans rarely or never worry that their car will be stolen, according to a 2014 Gallop poll. The NICB credits law enforcement efforts, along with the creation of specific antitheft programs, technology and insurance company-supported organizations such as the NICB for contributing to the theft reduction.
Despite the reduction in vehicle thefts over the past two decades, industry observers caution that thieves constantly devise new and sophisticated means of stealing autos. Tactics include acquiring smart keys, which eliminated hot-wiring to steal cars; switching vehicle identification numbers; and using stolen identities to secure loans for expensive vehicles. The number of vehicles stolen with the key or keyless entry device left inside by the owner climbed 22 percent in 2015 to 57,096, according to the NICB.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports.
- Motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 236.9 per 100,000 people in 2016, up 7.6 percent from 2015 but down 35.1 percent from 2007.
- About $5.9 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2016. The average dollar loss per theft was $7,680.
(1) Metropolitan Statistical Areas are designated by the federal Office of Management and Budget and usually include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named.
Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Courtesy of iii.org
Your standard auto insurance or homeowners insurance will provide you with some liability coverage. If you are sued, those policies will pay up to your policy limits for legal judgments against you, as well as the related attorney's fees.
However, in our litigious society when a lawsuit settlement could very well wipe out your financial assets, you may want the extra protection for your assets that a personal umbrella liability policy provides.
An umbrella policy kicks in when you reach the limit on the underlying liability coverage in an auto, homeowners, renters or co-op / condo policy. It will also cover you for additional types of claims, such as libel and slander.
You can buy a $1 million personal umbrella liability policy for about $150 to $300 per year. The amount you pay decreases for each million dollars of coverage beyond that. Because the personal umbrella policy pays out after the underlying coverage is exhausted, most insurers will want you to have about $250,000 of liability insurance on your auto policy and $300,000 of liability insurance on your homeowners policy before they will sell you an umbrella policy.