Cancellation of an insurance policy is serious business.  It makes it much harder to get new coverage.  Increasing premiums just because of a single claim is also serious.  Both cancellations/non-renewals and premium increases are governed by Florida laws.

FS 626.9541 contains a list of unfair claims practices which includes:

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 non renewal, 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 not processed; 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.

c. In addition to the other provisions of this sub-paragraph, 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 non-renew a policy for reasons other than accidents in accordance with s. 627.728. This sub-paragraph does not prohibit non-renewal of a policy under which the insured has had three or more accidents, regardless of fault, during the most recent 3-year period.

Thus, the insured has major league protections against an insurance company which tries to cancel or non-renew, or which increases its premiums after an accident which the insured was an innocent party to.  Violations like these open the insurance company up to possible punitive damages and attorneys fees.

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