If you live in Florida or are considering relocating, it’s important to know the driving laws and car insurance requirements in the state. Although car insurance is legally required in the Sunshine State, Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country. Understanding Florida’s car insurance laws may help you select the appropriate coverage level for your vehicle and circumstances.
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
When it comes to liability insurance in Florida, only property damage liability (PDL) is technically required by law, 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 help cover medical expenses and lost wages, up to the policy limits, after an accident. 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 coverage type 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 many experts recommend purchasing higher coverage limits and bodily injury liability coverage 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 helps 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 12 states that follow no-fault laws. As 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 (or tort) 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 Florida, drivers are only 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 file an SR-22 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 some financial 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 percent 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 damage (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.
Gap insurance: Gap insurance may be crucial for drivers who lease or finance their vehicles. After an accident, gap insurance pays for the difference between the car’s value and the remaining balance on the loan.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance company in Florida?
There are dozens of car insurance companies on the market, but they are not all created equal. Shopping around will help you find the best company for your needs. Bankrate analyzed major car insurance carriers to help you find the best car insurance companies in Florida. Some of the top carriers include Allstate, State Farm, Progressive and Geico.
How much does car insurance in Florida cost?
The average rate of car insurance in Florida is $3,945 per year for full coverage, which includes collision and comprehensive insurance, while minimum coverage is available for an average cost of $1,308 per year. These rates are well above the national averages of $2,545 for full coverage and $741 for minimum coverage. Keep in mind, however, that your rate is based on multiple factors that are unique to you, such as your age, credit history and driving record, as well as your car’s age, make and model, so you may pay more or less than the average. You may be able to save money on your policy by taking advantage of discounts and shopping around for the best price.
What is the cheapest car insurance in Florida?
There’s no single company that will always have the cheapest rate for everyone, all the time. When shopping for the cheapest Florida insurance, you may save by shopping around to compare quotes, improving your credit rating and maintaining a safe driving record. Based on Bankrate’s research, Geico, Progressive and State Farm offer low average rates in the Sunshine State, and they may be a good place to start your search.
How can I save money on car insurance in Florida?
Most affordable car insurance companies in Florida offer discounts that can help drivers save money on their policy. Some common car insurance discounts are bundling a home and auto insurance policy, insuring multiple vehicles, taking a defensive driving course, being claims-free and having an anti-theft system in the vehicle.
Can I register my car in Florida if I have an out-of-state license?
Although most states require your license and registration to match, Florida is one state that allows you to register your vehicle with an out-of-state license. If you’re not a resident of Florida, you can still register your vehicle under certain circumstances. For example, if you are temporarily working in Florida, you could register for a 90-day license plate.
Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.