Florida’s roadways are relatively crowded with residents and tourists alike, so accidents may be common. Unfortunately, Florida also has one of the highest percentages of estimated uninsured drivers in the country, with over 20% of those on the roadway estimated to be driving without insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I). So what happens when you drive without insurance in the Sunshine State? Bankrate’s insurance experts can show you.

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Florida car insurance laws

Florida’s car insurance laws are clear cut. The basic laws require residents to carry no-fault car insurance. This means residents must purchase the following coverage types and limits to drive legally:

  • $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP)
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident

Florida is one of the few states that doesn’t technically require bodily injury liability coverage. However, you can’t just skip this coverage and drive legally. You must prove to the state, through a variety of pre-approved methods, that you can pay for the injuries you might cause to another party. Most people opt to buy bodily injury coverage to satisfy this “financial responsibility law,” and if you do buy the coverage, these are the minimum limits:

  • $10,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $20,000 bodily injury liability per accident

These coverage types must be obtained before you are able to register your vehicle in Florida.

In addition, the insurance must be purchased from someone legally licensed to sell auto insurance in Florida. As long as you have a vehicle registered in Florida, you must maintain auto coverage, no matter where your vehicle is physically located. The only exception to this law is if you are a member of the military. Lastly, if you move out of state, you must surrender your license plates and registration before you cancel your insurance policy.

Where Florida car insurance laws gain complexity is with the no-fault laws. Florida is one of the 12 no-fault states in the country. This means regardless of who causes an accident, your PIP will initially pay for your injuries and those of your passenger. PIP also pays for other costs related to injuries you may sustain in an accident, such as the cost of necessary household services and lost wages.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Florida

The penalties for driving without insurance in Florida are severe and include license suspension and reinstatement fees. You may also have points assessed on your license and could even face jail time, depending on the specific circumstances of your infraction.

Penalty type First offense Subsequent offenses
Fines $150 Up to $500 for subsequent offenses within three years of the first offense
License suspension Lasts until reinstatement fee is paid and proof of noncancelable coverage is provided Lasts until reinstatement fee is paid and proof of noncancelable coverage is provided

Getting into an accident without insurance

Getting into an accident without insurance in Florida can be complicated. Since Florida is a no-fault state, the other driver’s PIP should initially provide coverage to them — even if you’re the one who caused the accident. If the other driver also has uninsured motorist coverage, then they could also receive reimbursement from that coverage.

Even though Florida is a no-fault state, that doesn’t mean drivers get to cause an accident and not face any repercussions. Remember that you still have to prove to the state that you can pay for the injuries you cause to someone else; that means that you can’t expect another driver’s PIP to pay for injuries you cause and not face any penalties. If you don’t have insurance to help shield your finances and pay for the injuries and damages you caused, you may face a lawsuit, court costs, wage garnishments and more. You’ll also face the consequences for simply driving without insurance, including the license reinstatement fines.

If you are caught driving without insurance, whether you cause an accident or not, you may be required to carry an SR-22 form. This is a form that an insurance company files with the state to prove that you have insurance. In order to reinstate your license, you may need to buy an insurance policy and have the form filed on your behalf. If you were intoxicated when you were discovered to be driving without insurance, you may need an FR-44 form, which could also require you to carry higher liability limits.

Frequently asked questions

    • The best car insurance company in Florida will depend on your unique circumstances. Bankrate found that some of the best companies include State Farm, Geico, Progressive and Allstate, but the best company for you could be different. Determining your needs and wants, and then shopping around to find providers that could fit your scenario can be a good method to finding the best car insurance carrier.
    • The average cost of car insurance in Florida is $2,762 per year for full coverage and $997 per year for minimum coverage. Florida drivers pay more than drivers in the nation as a whole, where the average annual rate is $1,771 for full coverage and $545 for minimum coverage. Rates vary based on a number of factors, though, including your driving history, the type of car you drive and the coverage limits you choose.
    • With above-average rates in Florida, you may be wanting to find as many ways to save on auto insurance premiums as possible. Although car insurance premiums in Florida vary based on your location, age, credit score, vehicle and other factors, using all available discounts and comparing multiple providers is a great way to help lower your premium. Other tactics for saving could include raising your deductibles if you have full coverage (although you’ll have to pay more out of pocket if you get into an accident), improving your credit rating and keeping a clean driving record.