JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- The cost of owning a car in Florida is going up, but for reasons you might not expect.
“Insurance companies are typically going to take about one increase a year of about five percent,” says Brightway Insurance Agent Matthew Carlucci. "That's pretty typical."
Carlucci has been seeing rates jump higher than normal.
“I get so many calls every day and emails every day. Why did my rate go up 20 percent? We try to explain, but it’s hard to accept for many because they aren’t the victims of the fraud that’s causing the jump.
According to a new report from Bankrate.com, Florida car owners pay more than $1,042 a year in insurance premiums, which is the fourth highest in the country.
“Number one we have hurricanes, which do cause higher automobile claims, but we also have a high number of fraudulent glass and injury claims.”
Action News first warned your about companies filing fraudulent windshield repair claims two years ago, and Carlucci says their cons haven't stopped.
“Florida is unique because you do not have to pay a deductible if you have a glass claim, so it's really easy for companies to file a claim on behalf of the customer and the customers let them do it as a courtesy to the customer.”
But that courtesy is often taken advantage of by scam artists filing fraudulent claims, which is causing drivers everywhere to pay higher premiums, and Carlucci says right now there's no plan to keep these companies from ripping off the system.
“We might see something in the future where insurance companies don't let glass companies file claims on behalf of insurers unless they're on some sort of approved list. We haven’t seen that yet, but I have a feeling it’s coming.”
In addition, The Florida Division of Insurance Fraud reports that over half of the more than 15,000 cases it investigates each year involve personal injury protection. The state legislature passed new regulations in 2012 to prevent fraudulent PIP claims, and Carlucci says that should help rates stabilize in the near future.
According to Bankrate.com, drivers in Georgia pay the highest insurance premiums in the country.