Driving without insurance in Florida puts you and those around you in a financially vulnerable position—and it’s against the law. Unfortunately, Florida has some of the highest numbers of uninsured drivers in the country, with an uninsured motorist rate over 20 percent. This, combined with extreme weather risks, high insurance fraud rates and other factors, leads to high average car insurance rates in the Sunshine State. Despite high coverage costs, all drivers are required to meet minimum coverage requirements to drive legally on public roads.

Florida car insurance laws

Florida’s car insurance laws make it clear that every driver must have an active car insurance policy that meets the following coverage limits in order to operate a vehicle legally:

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

You may be surprised to find out that bodily injury liability coverage is not technically a requirement for a minimum car insurance policy in Florida. However, you can’t just skip this coverage and drive legally. According to Florida’s “financial responsibility law,” to forego bodily injury liability coverage, you must be able to demonstrate to the state through a variety of pre-approved methods that you would have the financial capacity to pay for the injuries you might cause to another party. However, most people avoid the paperwork hassle and opt to buy bodily injury coverage anyway. If you do decide to buy the coverage, these are the minimum limits:

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

Florida is also one of 12 no-fault states in the country, which adds a layer of complexity to how insurance claims process after an accident. Regardless of who causes the accident, your PIP coverage 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.

These are a few other key aspects of Florida’s car insurance laws:

  • You must purchase a minimum car insurance policy before registering your vehicle.
  • You must purchase your car insurance from a legally licensed provider in Florida.
  • If your vehicle is registered in Florida, you must maintain auto coverage, no matter where your vehicle is physically located. There are exceptions for members of the military.
  • If you move out of Florida, you must surrender your license plates and registration before canceling your insurance policy.

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What are the penalties for driving without insurance in Florida?

The legal penalties for driving without insurance in Florida include fines and a probationary license suspension. See the chart below for a full breakdown:

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

There may be other financial implications in addition to fines if you are found to be driving without insurance in Florida. One of the most serious challenges you may face is what will happen if you are in an accident. In this case, you may find yourself having to pay out of pocket for damage or medical costs. You will also likely face higher insurance costs if you apply for insurance after a coverage lapse. In some cases, you may need to purchase your policy from an insurer who specializes in high-risk insurance, which is often more costly than a regular policy.

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 for their injuries (and lost wages, as explained above) — even if you’re the one who caused the accident. If the other driver also has uninsured motorist coverage, they could also receive reimbursement from that coverage.

But don’t take the term “no-fault” at face value. You can still face major financial repercussions for causing an accident without insurance. Following Florida’s “financial responsibility law,” 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 or the financial capacity to pay for the injuries and damages you caused, you may face a lawsuit, court costs, wage garnishments and more. For this reason, it may be a safer course financially to purchase full coverage car insurance to protect your assets.

You may also be required to carry an SR-22 form if you’re caught driving without insurance, regardless of whether you caused an accident or not. This is a form that an insurance company files with the state to prove that you have insurance before reinstating your license. It’s basically a way for the state to limit repeat offenders. In more severe cases, such as driving uninsured while under the influence, you may have to file an FR-44 form instead. This form requires the offender to prove they’re carrying even higher limits of liability coverage before having their license reinstated.

Frequently asked questions

    • Not all drivers need an SR-22 in Florida. These documents are intended for drivers who have been convicted of infractions, including driving without insurance. If you are caught driving uninsured in Florida, you may be required to file an SR-22 with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). You may also face other penalties, including the suspension of your driver’s license and registration as well as a reinstatement fee of up to $500. Other penalties may require the submission of an FR-44, which is used in cases of DUIs and other serious infractions.
    • There is no simple answer for the best car insurance company in Florida — everyone’s tolerance for risk and financial capacity are different. Is budget your greatest concern? Or maybe you value excellent customer service above all else. In addition, where you are in Florida may make a difference. Are you in a coastal area that is prone to hurricanes that could potentially damage your car? You can find the best car insurance in Florida by deciding what is most important to you in a company. From there, select a few insurers that meet that criteria and request quotes.
    • The average cost of car insurance in Florida is $3,941 per year for full coverage and $1,307 per year for minimum coverage. Florida drivers pay significantly more than drivers in the nation as a whole, where the average annual rate is $2,542 for full coverage and $740 for minimum coverage. However, these rates can vary based on several factors, including your driving history, the type of car you drive, what city you live in and the coverage limits you choose.
    • Finding affordable coverage in Florida can be a challenge since the state’s average rates are fairly high. But there are strategies you can use to help save money on your auto insurance premiums. When you are searching for a policy, it’s generally a good idea to ask for quotes from more than one insurer to find the lowest rate for your desired coverage. You can also consider which discounts each carrier offers during the quoting process to see how they impact your rate. You can also consider raising your deductible, which often lowers your rate—but be careful not to raise it higher than you would be comfortable paying out of pocket. Once you secure a policy, one of the best ways to keep your rate low is to maintain a clean driving record.