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If you live in or are moving to Florida, it may be a good idea to learn more about what driving in the state is like and what its car insurance laws are. Florida is the third most populous state in the country and has more than 14 million licensed drivers on the road. Statistically, the more people in a state, the more car accidents there will be. Florida is no exception. Additionally, many accidents in Florida are severe and involve drivers who do not have the proper coverage (or any coverage at all).

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Before you start driving in Florida, knowing Florida car insurance laws and how they pertain to you is important.

Car insurance laws in Florida

Florida insurance laws are relatively straightforward:

  • Car insurance is legally required: Drivers in Florida must carry no-fault insurance before they can register and legally operate their vehicle in the state.
  • Insurance must be purchased from a licensed provider: Florida drivers must purchase car insurance from an insurance company licensed in Florida.
  • Continuous coverage: Vehicle owners must maintain continuous insurance coverage throughout the registration period, regardless of the car’s location. The only exception is for military members.
  • Policy cancellation: Florida drivers who move out-of-state must surrender their vehicle’s license plates and registration before they cancel their insurance policy.

Additionally, Florida auto insurance requirements state that the minimum amount of no-fault coverage you must carry is:

Liability insurance in Florida

Liability insurance in Florida is not technically required, except for property damage liability (PDL), of which drivers are required to carry $10,000 as part of their no-fault car insurance.

No-fault car insurance does not mean that no one is at fault in an accident; rather, it refers to whose insurance kicks in first in relation to injuries. Because Florida is a no-fault state, every driver, regardless of fault, must carry $10,000 in PIP coverage to drive legally, which means that each driver’s PIP will kick in after an accident to cover medical expenses and lost wages up to the policy limits. After that, the at-fault driver could be liable for any additional medical expenses. Florida does not require bodily injury liability like most states, which is the insurance that typically covers other peoples’ injuries if you cause an accident.

Keep in mind that Florida’s minimum coverage limits for PIP and PDL are relatively low. A serious accident could easily cause more than $10,000 in property damage or $10,000 in medical expenses, so you might want to consider purchasing higher coverage limits to protect yourself financially.

Florida’s minimum required insurance also does not cover damage to your vehicle. To cover damage to your vehicle if you cause an accident, you can choose to carry physical damage coverage, otherwise known as full coverage. You do not have to carry physical damage coverage to comply with Florida car insurance laws, but your lender may require it if you are financing or leasing your vehicle. Physical damage coverage includes these two types of coverage, both of which will include a deductible:

  • Collision coverage: Collision coverage is an optional coverage offered by most car insurance companies in Florida. It helps pay to repair vehicle damage after an accident.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage is another common coverage that help pay to repair vehicle damage stemming from non-accident incidents. Examples include flood, theft, vandalism and falling objects.

Is Florida a no-fault state?

Yes, Florida is one of twelve states that follow no-fault laws. As we mentioned, in a no-fault state, a driver’s PIP insurance will pay for medical expenses and lost wages for themselves and their passengers up to policy limits after an accident, regardless of who caused the crash. PDL insurance pays to repair damage to other people’s property.

One of the main differences between fault states and no-fault states is the type of insurance that is required. Most fault states require drivers to carry bodily injury liability and property damage liability insurance. In no-fault states, like Florida, drivers are often required to carry PIP and PDL coverage.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Florida

Driving without the proper insurance coverage in Florida is illegal, and comes with heavy consequences. If drivers do not maintain no-fault insurance throughout the registration period, their driver’s license and license plates can be suspended for up to three years. They are also required to pay a reinstatement fee, which can cost up to $500.

Additionally, drivers who fail to provide proof of insurance documentation when requested by law enforcement may get their driver’s license suspended for up to three years. In some cases, drivers who get their license suspended must purchase SR-22 insurance to get it back, which proves they carry the state’s minimum required insurance coverage.

The penalty for driving without insurance in Florida varies depending on the circumstances. If you are caught driving without insurance, you will receive a letter from the DMV with further instructions on how to clear suspensions, pay fines and whether you need to file an SR-22.

Additional auto insurance coverage options in Florida

No-fault car insurance offers valuable protection, but it leaves significant gaps in coverage. Most drivers in Florida benefit from adding extra coverage to their car insurance policy. Here are some of the additional auto insurance coverage options available in Florida:

  • Bodily injury liability (BI): Bodily injury liability coverage is optional in Florida but highly recommended by most insurance experts. If you are at fault in the accident, bodily injury will pay any medical bills for the people in the vehicle you hit after PIP limits are exhausted, up to the bodily injury limit you carry. This is important if injuries to people in the other car are not fully covered by that driver’s PIP insurance, or if you cause injuries to a pedestrian or bicyclist who does not have auto insurance because they do not own a vehicle.
  • Medical payments (MedPay): Medical payment coverage will pay up to 20% of medical bills for yourself and your passengers that are not covered by PIP, up to the limit of coverage that you carry. It does not matter who is at fault in the accident. Medical payment coverage will also cover you as a pedestrian or if you are riding in someone else’s vehicle. It does not have a deductible. It differs slightly from PIP in that it only covers medical expenses and not lost wages.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM): Uninsured motorist coverage pays for your medical bills (up to the limit you carry) if someone hits you with no insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the claim.
  • Roadside assistance: Roadside assistance covers basic vehicle repairs if your car breaks down on the side of the road. It also helps cover costs associated with towing, gas delivery, battery services, tire changes and more.
  • Rental reimbursement: Rental reimbursement will reimburse you for the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired due to a covered claim. You must carry comprehensive or collision (or both) to qualify for rental reimbursement. Depending on the company, there are different coverage levels to choose from. An example limit would be $30 a day for a rental car, with a maximum payout of $900 per claim.
  • Gap insurance: Gap insurance is ideal for drivers who lease or finance  a newer model vehicle. After an accident, gap insurance pays for the difference between the car’s value and the remaining balance on the loan.

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