Number of crashes, insurance premiums rising in FL

- Car insurance premiums in Florida are rising, as drivers are crashing at greater rates.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety, crashes are up 9-percent since 2014, and distracted driving crashes are also up by more than 25-percent. As a result, premiums are up 14-percent, overall, since the beginning of 2014 and Floridians are paying an average of $1,650 dollars a year, which is the seventh highest in the nation.

State Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) said one big problem is personal injury protection, which Floridians have been required to carry since the early 1970s. That can add up to between 10- and 25-percent of a premium.

He pledged to introduce a bill that would ban the need for PIP coverage.

"I truly believe PIP is broken, beyond repair. We need to move beyond that like most other states have," Brandes said.

However, Brandes acknowledged his is an uphill battle.

Last year, a similar bill he filed went nowhere because, he says, lobbyists for the insurance and medical industries dug in.

"It gets to be a complicated issue, with a variety of interest groups that are at play," Brandes said.

The state with the highest insurance bills in the country is Michigan, at an average of $2,700 a year.

The lowest is in Maine, where they pay only $800.

"We are at the boiling point," said Brandes. "These rate increases are unsustainable. Working families can't afford them."

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