One of the most frequent questions I am asked from new personal injury clients is “how will this accident affect my insurance rates?” The insurance companies have done a wonderful job of scaring customers from using their insurance benefits, even though the insurance company cannot legally punish them for doing so, such as raising rates. It is illegal for an insurance company to raise a customer’s rates based on a “not at fault” accident. In other words, if the accident was not your fault, they cannot raise your premiums.
Florida Statute 626.9541(1)(o)(3)(a) and (c) specifically states:
“(o) Illegal dealings in premiums; excess or reduced charges for insurance. —
(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.
(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.”
The key number here is three. Be aware that insurance companies may consider all sorts of “benefits” as claims, for example including claims for “roadside assistance” as making a claim. It would not even occur to most that this would be a claim, but it may be.
If an insurance company conducts business in this fashion, it can be subject to attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to Florida Statute 625.155 upon the filing of a Civil Remedy Notice.
We will work to protect your rights and to not allow your insurance company to take advantage of you or intimidate you into believing they have the right to raise your rights even when you are an innocent victim.