In Florida, Can The Insurance Company Raise Your Rates After An Accident?
The answer to this question depends on whether you are shown to have a significant degree of comparative fault or responsibility for the accident. Florida Statutes section 626.9541 defines “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices” for automobile insurers.
Reasons That The Insurance Company Cannot Increase Your Premium
Below is a list in the statute outlining reasons that an insurance company cannot raise your rate unless they can show good faith evidence in their file that you were substantially at fault for the accident. If your insurance company increased your premium after a car accident in Florida due to any of the following reasons, then you may have a right to complain about your insurance company and obtain damages.
Section 626.9541, Fla. Stat:
3.a. Imposing or requesting an additional premium for a policy of motor vehicle liability, personal injury protection, medical payment, or collision insurance or any combination thereof or refusing to renew the policy solely because the insured was involved in a motor vehicle accident unless the insurer’s file contains information from which the insurer in good faith determines that the insured was substantially at fault in the accident.
b. An insurer which imposes and collects such a surcharge or which refuses to renew such policy shall, in conjunction with the notice of premium due or notice of nonrenewal, notify the named insured that he or she is entitled to reimbursement of such amount or renewal of the policy under the conditions listed below and will subsequently reimburse him or her or renew the policy, if the named insured demonstrates that the operator involved in the accident was:
(I) Lawfully parked;
(II) Reimbursed by, or on behalf of, a person responsible for the accident or has a judgment against such person;
(III) Struck in the rear by another vehicle headed in the same direction and was not convicted of a moving traffic violation in connection with the accident;
(IV) Hit by a “hit-and-run” driver, if the accident was reported to the proper authorities within 24 hours after discovering the accident;
(V) Not convicted of a moving traffic violation in connection with the accident, but the operator of the other automobile involved in such accident was convicted of a moving traffic violation;
(VI) Finally adjudicated not to be liable by a court of competent jurisdiction;
(VII) In receipt of a traffic citation which was dismissed or nolle prossed; or
(VIII) Not at fault as evidenced by a written statement from the insured establishing facts demonstrating lack of fault which are not rebutted by information in the insurer’s file from which the insurer in good faith determines that the insured was substantially at fault.
What Should I Do If My Car Insurance Company Wants To Raise My Rates Even If None Of Those Apply?
If the insurance company has wrongfully raised your insurance premiums, you have a right to file a formal complaint with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR). Before filing your complaint, you should know that you have a right under the statute to force the insurance company to provide you with proof that the accident was your fault or make them justify any addition charge or cancellation of your automobile policy. If your insurance company wants to raise your rates, then you should confront them with a request for this information as you have the right to do under Florida law.
Section 626.9541, Fla. Stat:
5. Upon the request of the insured, the insurer and licensed agent shall supply to the insured the complete proof of fault or other criteria which justifies the additional charge or cancellation.
This law requires the insurance company to tell you why they increased your premiums. However, despite your right to fight a premium increase, it may make sense just to find another insurance company. In Florida, the automobile insurance market is highly profitable and competitive. Shopping your policy may be a better option than fighting with your existing insurance company. After all, does it make sense to keep paying an insurance company that is telling you that they don’t want you as a customer? That is just something to consider in the grand scheme of things.
Can My Insurance Company Drop My Policy If I Have Been In An Accident?
If you have been in an accident but it was not your fault, then your insurance company should not drop your policy. On the other hand, if you meet the requirements below, then the insurance company can legally nonrenew your policy.
Section 626.9541, Fla. Stat:
c. In addition to the other provisions of this subparagraph, an insurer may not fail to renew a policy if the insured has had only one accident in which he or she was at fault within the current 3-year period. However, an insurer may nonrenew a policy for reasons other than accidents in accordance with s. 627.728. This subparagraph does not prohibit nonrenewal of a policy under which the insured has had three or more accidents, regardless of fault, during the most recent 3-year period.
Talk To A Lakeland Personal Injury Attorney For Help With Your Case
If your car insurance policy was dropped, a Lakeland personal injury attorney can help you sort through the maze of insurance rules. To get a fair shake, you may need an attorney to help you file the right type of claim as well as to file your claim in the correct place. Unfortunately, many government remedies are not widely used to bring people to justice who have avoided true legal responsibility for a car accident. If you need help with your case, call today to talk to an attorney.
We accept clients injured in car accidents in Polk County including Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow, and Haines City, Florida.