This year, at least three states, California, New York and Florida, have made changes to their auto insurance laws. These alterations were seen as necessary to combat fraud or to keep auto insurance rates from rising.
With the new regulations, auto insurance companies are no longer restricted in the evidence that they can submit to determine blame for a crash. As a result, these new regulations affect the good driver discount. In these cases, a driver would not necessarily be considered to be the at-fault driver if their actions are not 51 percent responsible for the accident but the fact that the driver failed to do something to prevent it will be added to their driving records. When this happens, they will lose their good driving discounts because it only takes one violation for them to be ineligible to receive the discount that can be as much as 20 percent.
The latest changes to the auto insurance laws also give auto insurers more choices as to where they can obtain evidence that they will use to determine fault. Previously, auto insurers had one choice; they could obtain the reports that the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) created. The complaint has often been that these DMV reports were insufficient to determine blame. Now, insurers can obtain the reports and evidence that other insurance entities compile in their databases, such as the Insurance Services Office that may have more extensive information.
According to the new laws, insurers will have a new protocol to follow before they begin to decide who caused a collision. From now on, the insurers are going to need to inform relevant people that they are investigating who caused the collision and it will need to be in writing. They will also need to let these people know in writing which driver they consider to have the majority of the blame for the accident and the reasons that they came to this conclusion.
In New York, auto insurance fraud has been a problem. A common practice has been for medical professionals to bill auto insurance companies for services that were not provided to the patient. They have also over-billed for the services that may have been provided but did not warrant such a high payment. To combat this type of auto insurance fraud, the state no longer requires that auto insurance companies pay for these claims.
In the past, medical professionals were not required to give auto insurers proof that the level of service is warranted. With the new changes, medical professionals will need to present this proof and they will have 120 days to do so. Also prior to the changes, auto insurers would have been forced to pay fraudulent claims if they made the slightest mistake when processing these claims. Currently, this is no longer the case and auto insurers will not have to pay these fraudulent claims just because there is an error somewhere on the claim.
The governor of Florida also had auto insurance fraud to contend with in his state, and he addressed this issue by making changes to the auto insurance laws that will decrease the instances of fraud and make the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance that drivers are required to purchase more affordable.
Florida is a no-fault state, and this means that the cause of the car accident will not immediately be determined in order for the driver’s bodily injury liability insurance to cover the injured’s medical costs. The injured driver and passengers will file a claim for the PIP insurance of the insured vehicle in which they were riding. With the new laws, these people will have 14 days to visit their medical professionals if they are hurt in a collision. Another difference is that their bills will only be paid if their conditions are considered to be emergencies.