What You Need to Know
Florida law, like most other states, requires that drivers carry a minimum amount of insurance to legally drive a vehicle. While the state-required minimums might be enough to cover the costs of a minor fender bender, if you experience extensive property damage or medical bills, you may need more than the state minimums to ensure you’re protected.
Florida auto insurance requirements differ from many other states, so keep reading to make certain you’re fully covered while driving in the Sunshine State.
Florida minimum car insurance requirements
Nearly all states have laws outlining the minimum amount of insurance a driver must have to legally drive in that state.
To register and drive a motor vehicle in Florida, you must show proof of insurance coverage in the amounts of:
$10,000 in personal injury protection
$10,000 in property damage protection
The amounts listed are the minimum, so it is recommended to have more than the state-mandated requirements if you can afford it.
Personal injury protection (PIP) covers 80% of your medical expenses and up to 60% of lost wages, regardless of who is at fault in an accident. If your policy allows, PIP insurance may also cover costs other than medical bills, like loss of income or funeral expenses.
To be eligible for PIP benefits, you must receive initial medical care or services within 14 days of the accident.
PIP coverage is sometimes called “no-fault insurance” and is a requirement in states with no-fault accident laws. Eighteen states in the U.S., including Florida, have them.
In no-fault states like Florida, drivers involved in an accident can only make PIP medical claims against their own insurance policies, not against the person who caused the accident. Even if you are severely injured in an accident caused by another driver, you can only file a claim with your insurance company, though you may be allowed to sue the other driver in certain circumstances.
In addition to a PIP policy, drivers in Florida are also required to keep a property damage liability policy with a $10,000 limit. This policy pays for damage to another person’s property that you, or someone else driving your car, caused in an accident.
Florida law allows an injured party to sue the at-fault driver for medical bills and pain and suffering under certain conditions. However, the at-fault driver’s insurance usually pays for property damage, even in no-fault states, so drivers must keep property damage liability coverage.
Penalties for driving without insurance
If you choose to drive without insurance in Florida, you could face steep fines. All Florida drivers must continuously maintain at least the minimum insurance coverage and provide proof of coverage when renewing their registration and tags.
If you can’t provide proof, your license plate and driver’s license may be suspended until the Florida DMV receives the necessary documentation proving you’re insured.
The first time you’re caught driving without insurance, you’ll have to pay a $150 reinstatement fee and any potential fines you may have incurred. The reinstatement fee increases each time you’re caught without insurance.
If you’re cited for driving without insurance three or more times, your license may be suspended for up to three years, and you may be required to pay a $500 reinstatement fee plus applicable fines.
Florida law does not provide for any temporary or hardship designations on insurance-related suspensions, so maintaining at least the minimum car insurance at all times is vital to legally staying on the road.
Is Florida’s minimum coverage enough?
Compared to other state requirements, Florida’s minimums are very low. If you’re in a minor auto accident, the $10,000 minimum insurance coverage might be enough to help you repair your vehicle or cover minor injuries, but not much more.
If you’re in a severe accident and have only the minimum insurance coverage, you will likely have to pay your medical bills and vehicle repairs out of pocket. If you drive a newer or more expensive vehicle, this can get quite costly, and your insurance may only cover a fraction of what it will cost to repair or replace your car.
If you have health insurance, your injuries might be covered in part under that policy, but there are no guarantees that it will cover all of your medical bills.
If you are found at fault in an accident, you not only have to worry about your own injuries and repairs, but the injured driver may also sue you for any medical bill amounts that exceed their own PIP policies.
Florida law allows people who were permanently injured or disfigured in an accident or who lost a vital bodily function to sue the other driver for mental anguish, pain, suffering, and extreme inconvenience. If someone is killed in a car accident, family members of the deceased can also sue the at-fault driver for pain, suffering, and mental anguish.
Other types of coverage to consider
Because of the potential liability if you’re found at fault in a car accident, it’s essential to consider adding additional insurance coverages that can help protect your assets. While other coverages aren’t required by state law and will add to the cost of your insurance premiums, they can help protect you in an accident.
Some additional coverages to consider:
Collision: Collision coverage takes care of expenses related to damaging or totaling your vehicle in an accident or other type of collision. If you have a car loan or lease a vehicle, the lender or leasing company may require you to keep both collision insurance and comprehensive coverage for the length of your loan or lease.
Comprehensive: Comprehensive insurance helps cover your expenses related to damage if your car is stolen, vandalized, or damaged in events other than an accident, like hail, fallen trees, lightning, flooding, or even hitting an animal.
Bodily injury liability: Bodily injury liability insurance helps to take care of injuries, death, or medical bills beyond the victim’s PIP insurance when you’re at fault in an accident. Florida requires a minimum amount of property liability, but adding bodily liability coverage can help you cover the other driver’s medical expenses if their bills exceed their PIP policy.
Medical payments: Medical payment coverage can help close any gaps between what your health insurance covers and your medical expenses after an accident. Unlike PIP insurance, which may also cover lost wages or funeral expenses, medical payment coverage generally only applies to medical costs.
Uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist: This coverage assists with expenses related to being hit by a driver without insurance or without enough insurance to cover your property damage or medical bills. This optional coverage in Florida is highly recommended with at least a $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident limit.
Accidental death and dismemberment: If you or one of your relatives dies or loses a limb in a car accident, this coverage will pay out up to the policy limits. While accidental death and dismemberment policies can cover car accidents, it is a form of life insurance. The coverage of each accidental death and dismemberment policy is different, so be sure to speak with your insurance agent about your specific circumstances.
Personal umbrella policy: The personal umbrella policy covers liability above and beyond your property or bodily injury liability limits. If your liability policy doesn’t cover the expenses of the person you hurt or the damages you caused, your umbrella policy may add additional coverage and help protect your personal assets if you’re sued.
Rental reimbursement: Rental reimbursement covers renting a car or other mode of transportation while your vehicle is undergoing repairs after an accident.
Roadside assistance: If you have car trouble that requires roadside assistance, this policy can help you cover the costs for towing, jumping the battery, tire changes, fuel delivery, and even locksmith services in some cases. Although not every insurance company offers roadside assistance policies, if yours does, adding one to your coverage can help with peace of mind.
Gap insurance: If you severely damage or total an expensive or brand-new car, you may owe more on the loan than the depreciated value of the vehicle. Gap insurance helps cover the difference between what a car is worth and the loan amount you have left to pay.
Insurance coverages and rates will vary based on the insurance company you use. Make sure you compare coverage options and costs between multiple companies before finalizing a policy.
How much will minimum coverage cost in Florida?
The cost of minimum coverage in the state of Florida will vary based on several factors. Age, location, gender, driving history, and even the insurance company you’re working with can all be factors in your car insurance rates. To get the best auto insurance policy, balance the type of coverage and policy limits that will best protect you and your assets with what fits into your budget.
What is not covered by car insurance in Florida?
What your car insurance in Florida covers will vary based on your policy type and limits. If you have the minimum amount of coverage required by law in Florida, you will only be insured for up to $10,000 in property damage liability and $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP), minus your deductible for each policy. These coverages may not be enough if you are in a severe accident or require ongoing medical care.
What is recommended for car insurance coverage in Florida?
Any vehicle insured in Florida needs to carry the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by law. Additional policies and coverage limits are up to your individual preferences and the policy options available from your insurance company.
At a minimum, it is a good idea to add bodily injury liability coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, comprehensive coverage, and collision coverage to help ensure you’re protected in the event of an accident.
Florida’s insurance requirements are relatively low compared to other states and can leave you vulnerable if you’re in an accident. Make certain you have enough additional auto insurance coverage to help cover your repairs and medical bills after a serious accident.
To search for the right insurance, check out our list of the best car insurance companies. Confirm you’re getting the best price by comparing coverage options across multiple insurance companies, keeping a clean driving record, and regularly reviewing your policy limits to balance getting the right coverage at the right price.
More from FinanceBuzz:
This article Florida’s Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements: What You Need to Know originally appeared on FinanceBuzz.
- Health Insurance Changes When You Turn 65 | News, Sports, Jobs
- When is an abortion covered by health insurance?
- Trump's legacy looms large as Colorado aims to close the Hispanic insurance gap
- Health Insurance Stock CEO and Research Analyst Reveal Hidden Values
- California will offer health insurance to all undocumented immigrants