Florida drivers have been told that if Florida’s No-Fault laws expire on October 1, 2007, there will no longer be any mandatory car insurance for Florida drivers. As Orlando car accident lawyers we had some reservations regarding the State’s interpretation. To no surprise, the state has now advised that Florida drivers will still have to carry property damage coverage even if the Florida Legislature allows the no-fault insurance law to expire.
Previously, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles had said that the expiration of no-fault laws or personal injury protection coverage would also eliminate mandatory property damage liability. Now it is clear that property damage insurance will not be affected. However, a more troubling thought is what enforcement mechanism will be available.
Right now, if a driver drops his PIP coverage, state law requires his insurance company to notify the state agency of the cancellation. That way, Highway Safety can go after uninsured drivers. The same enforcement standards may not apply to those who decide to drop their property damage liability coverage; the agency is still looking into it. Of course, if a driver gets in an accident, the state can require the driver to produce proof of property damage coverage or face a second-degree misdemeanor, a maximum $500 fine and 60 days jail time.
We have written before about the need to come up with an appropriate solution to Florida’s car insurance needs. Perhaps during next month’s special legislative session an answer will result. With little more than a month to go, all eyes will be fixed on Tallahassee.