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There are 15.4 million licensed drivers in Florida, but the other statistic worth noting is the number of uninsured motorists. In Florida, driving without insurance is more widespread than in any other state. According to the latest figures from the Insurance Information Institute, III, Florida tops the list with 27% of its drivers being uninsured motorists.
While it’s hard to pinpoint why there is such a large percentage, driving without insurance in Florida is still illegal. Driving without insurance may save you a few bucks a month, but it can lead to big headaches and serious penalties. You can avoid these troubles by securing at least the minimum insurance required and maintaining your coverage.
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 to drive legally:
- $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage
- $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage
These coverages 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 insurance 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 a crash, a driver’s PIP will pay for the repercussions of an accident, such as medical payments and lost wages. Residents of at-fault states are required to carry bodily injury liability insurance. But a no-fault state like Florida, requires PIP and PDL instead.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Florida
The consequences for driving without insurance in Florida are severe. For drivers who do not maintain no-fault insurance while their car is registered in Florida, their driver’s license and license plates can be suspended for up to three years if they’re caught. Reinstatement is another expensive process, which costs drivers up to $500. Florida does not make any exceptions for those who claim hardship or are only using a temporary driver’s license.
A driver may get their driver’s license suspended for up to three years if they fail to provide proof of insurance documentation when requested by a law enforcement officer. This can occur after an accident, getting pulled over for a moving violation or during a safety checkpoint. Florida laws may require drivers with a suspended license to obtain an SR-22. This is a legal document showing you carry the state’s minimum insurance requirements.
Getting into an accident without insurance
Getting into an accident without insurance in Florida is complicated. Since Florida is a no-fault state, the other driver’s PIP and PDL should 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 should also receive reimbursement for lost wages, pain and suffering and other payments.
Even though Florida is a no-fault state, if an accident was your fault and you do not have insurance, drivers still have the ability to file a lawsuit against you. For example, a lawsuit is possible if the other driver faces severe or permanent injuries as a result of the accident.
If the accident is your fault and bodily injuries occur with the other driver, there are multiple consequences for you. In addition to a ticket for no insurance, Florida requires you to obtain an SR-22 form showing you have minimum insurance coverage going forward. This SR-22 form is required for three years after your license has been reinstated from suspension.
If you cause the accident but there is only property damage and no injuries, you must immediately obtain the $10,000 PIP and $10,000 PDL insurance. If you do not purchase this coverage, your license plate and registration are suspended immediately. This is in addition to the $150 to $500 reinstatement fee you must pay.
If the accident is the other driver’s fault, you have to pay for any damage to your car, this includes medical payments and lost wages too. This could result in serious financial consequences depending on the severity of the damage or injuries you sustain. The best approach to avoid this complexity is to maintain auto insurance coverage.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance in Florida?
Determining the best car insurance in Florida is dependent upon your needs, budget, available discounts and numerous other factors. The best approach is to compare multiple carriers side by side to compare rates, customer service ratings, digital assets and any other factors important to you.
Bankrate reviewed several insurance companies in Florida to compare. After analyzing financial stability, customer service ratings and coverage options, Allstate, Geico and State Farm all topped the list for best car insurance in Florida.
How much does car insurance cost in Florida?
Whether you need budget-friendly or maximum coverage, car insurance premiums are available in a wide range of options. Minimum coverage average rates in Florida are $1,101 per year, while full coverage averages $2,364. The national average is $1,674 for full coverage, which means Florida is well-above the national average. Florida is ranked the second-highest state for auto insurance cost, not only because of the threat posed by uninsured motorists, but also volatile weather.
How can I save money on car insurance in Florida?
With above-average rates, it is advantageous to look for as many ways to save on Florida auto insurance premiums as possible. Although premiums 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 save. Other tactics for saving include raising your deductible to $1,000 and keeping your credit score as high as possible for the best quotes.