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    Sunset During a Storm on a Paved Road

    First, let us start by telling you what The Responsible Roadways Bill is… It’s a piece of legislation, also known as House Bill 719, that would make bodily injury coverage mandatory for auto insurance policyholders in the state of Florida.

    Gut instinct is probably to get upset that they are making something else required for insurance, but we’ll tell you why it could be good thing…

    The average person gets into 4 auto accidents during their lifetime.

    Pretty scary when you think of it that way. That’s why it’s important for Florida drivers to have the best protection possible.

    How does The Responsible Roadways Bill help?

    Allow us to paint you a picture…

    Let’s say you get rear-ended by someone and you get seriously injured—broken leg and neck injury. Sure, you can sue that person, but if they don’t have Bodily Injury Coverage already, how are they going to pay for all of the medical bills you accrued while getting treatment?

    Most people don’t have thousands of dollars sitting around waiting for rainy days like the one we just described. And the PIP coverage all policyholders are required to carry, only covers 80% of your medical bills up to $10,000.

    So, if the party that hits you doesn’t have bodily injury coverage and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, the answer is most likely you.

    Not an ideal situation.

    Now, if the Responsible Roadways Bill becomes law, it’s another story entirely. In this new, scenario, insurance companies could be expected to pay for injuries you caused to another driver. This means in the exact same situation we described above, the person who rear-ended you would have BI coverage and their insurance company could pay for your injuries up to their policy limits.

    Better, huh? We thought so too!

    What’s stopping House Bill 719 from passing?

    We’re glad you asked. For starters, insurance companies. They want to do everything in their power to protect the bottom line and earn more profits. If this bill were to pass, insurance companies would be required to pay more to help people like you in those situations. On top of that, policyholders would likely pay less money overall.

    As it stands, “a policyholder would pay $49 per thousand of insurance coverage under mandatory BI while under PIP, the cost is $121 per thousand.” (Florida Justice Association)

    That’s quite a big savings for policyholders.

    Now you’re probably wondering what insurance companies are doing to stop the bill from passing…

    One word, lobbyists.

    Insurance companies have lobbyists and those people have worked hard to build relationships with various politicians. That way, they can share their company’s goals and beliefs with said politicians. Those exact same organizations then donate to specific election campaigns.

    In fact, they donate a lot of money. $122,726,276 in 2020 to be exact.

    The reason that’s problematic is that those politicians are then a lot more likely to vote in favor of those company’s goals and beliefs. Why? Because they might risk losing campaign donations and potentially even an election if they don’t.

    However, something to be wary of as this Responsible Roadways Bill takes shape is that there are lobbyists out there pushing for changes to bad faith.

    Not sure what bad faith is? We’ll tell you.

    Bad faith is when an insurance company does not uphold its obligations to its clients. This includes refusing to pay a policyholder’s legitimate claim, inability to investigate and process a claim within a reasonable time, and more.

    If the Responsible Roadways Bill is changed to include the provisions the lobbyists want, policyholders like you would have less protections from insurance companies that don’t act in the best interest of their policyholders.

    We will leave you with this last bit of thought.

    Florida drivers would benefit from better insurance policies that protect them in difficult situations like car accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, you know how stressful the situation can be without the worry of who’s paying for the damages and injuries.

    RESOURCES
    https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/719
    https://floridajusticeassociation.wordpress.com/2018/01/12/responsible-roadways-legislation-on-the-move-in-tallahassee/
    https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/contrib.php?cycle=2020&ind=f09
    https://www.iii.org/table-archive/20608

    Posted on behalf of Ligori & Ligori Attorneys at Law

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