Consumer advocates are calling on state lawmakers to tweak proposed legislation that removes the state’s preinsurance inspection requirement.
The provision is in two bills (SB 1036/HB 659) relating to automobile insurance. Among other things, the measure allows an insurer to opt out of the preinsurance inspection program and create its own preinsurance program if it files a manual rule with the Office of Insurance Regulation.
Jennifer West, executive director of the Consumer Federation of the Southeast, said removing the required preinsurance inspection on the sale of used automobiles could “water down the consumer-friendly inspection requirement.”
The inspection requirement has been in place since 1989, and West said law enforcement and insurance investigators have long used it as a tool against fraud. The current law, she said, “keeps money in the pockets of consumers.”
The current requirement is applicable in just a few counties across the state, including Duval, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. But West said changing the requirement could have a wide-sweeping impact on Floridians.
“When there is fraud on one consumer, there are increased costs to all consumers,” she said. “These are costs that insurance companies have to spread out to all customers.”