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Florida Auto Insurance

  • In Florida, all residents who own vehicles with state-issued license plates are required to comply with Florida auto insurance laws
  • Since Florida is a no-fault state, residents are required to carry Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage Liability
  • Bodily Injury Liability, which is required in most states, is optional in the state of Florida. Failing to purchase Bodily Injury Liability can leave you at risk if you have an at-fault accident
  • Auto insurance premiums in Florida tend to be high because the no-fault system is often abused by claimants who exaggerate injuries and medical clinics who charge unreasonable fees
  • The average cost for full coverage in Florida is $1,143 per year. This is why Florida is ranked the 5th costliest state to buy auto insurance

Florida has a very diverse population. From young working professionals and college students to middle-class families and retired snowbirds, there is something for everyone in The Sunshine State. With a beautiful tropical climate on the coast and quiet towns in mainland Florida, you will surely love what the peninsula has to offer.

If you're planning for an upcoming move to Florida, it's important to learn about the auto insurance laws in the state before you start exploring the land.

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By law, you're required to purchase auto insurance from an insurance carrier that's licensed by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation as soon as you become a resident. Here's what you need to know about the unique auto insurance laws in Florida:

Florida Operates Under Its Own Unique No-Fault System

There are two types of insurance systems in the United States — fault-based systems and no-fault systems.

A fault-based insurance system uses fault to determine which insurance company will pay for injury claims. A no-fault insurance system attempts to reduce the use of the court system to settle claims by requiring all drivers to carry their own medical coverage.

In the state of Florida, you will make claims for your medical bills against your own insurance policy. You can't hold the other driver liable for your injuries, even if they were at fault, in minor crashes. The only time that you have the right to sue for injury claims after an auto accident is when the serious injury threshold is met.

What is Florida's serious injury threshold?

If you're curious to learn when an injured party can file a liability claim against you, you should find out what the Florida serious injury threshold is.

The definition of serious injury under the law is very vague. According to the vehicle code, injured parties are eligible to file a liability claim against the at-fault driver when they suffer one the following:

  • Permanent injury
  • Disfigurement
  • Significant and permanent scarring
  • Death

How much coverage are required by law to carry in Florida?

If you own a vehicle that's registered to be operated in Florida, you must carry your own personal auto policy that meets the state's insurance requirements.

Since it is a no-fault state, you must carry coverage to pay for your own medical expenses and the cost of repair when you damage someone else's property. Here's a breakdown of the coverage requirements:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - $10,000 per person
  • Property Damage Liability (PDL) - $10,000 per accident

What does Personal Injury Protection pay for?

What is and isn't covered under Personal Injury Protection varies by state. Since this is first-party coverage that pays after any auto-related accident, it's good to know what you are paying for when you're complying with no-fault laws.

Here's a breakdown of what is covered by the standard Florida no-fault coverage:

  • 80 percent of reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred after an auto accident
  • 60 percent of lost wages
  • $5,000 for death benefits in addition to the PIP limit that you carry

Who does your Personal Injury Protection cover?

Personal Injury Protection will cover more than just you.

If you have an accident in the state of Florida, your coverage will pay for the medical bills incurred by you, your spouse, household relatives, passengers in your car who don't own their own vehicles, and people who borrow your car with your permission. Only you and your relatives in the home are covered outside of Florida.

Add Bodily Injury Liability to Your Policy

Florida is one of the few states where Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage is considered optional. You aren't required by law to carry BIL but it's still a coverage that you should consider purchasing to protect your assets in the event of a serious accident.

Anyone convicted of a DUI after October 1, 2007, must have $10,000 per person, up to $20,000 per accident in Bodily Injury Liability.

Since injured parties can file a liability claim against you when they are scarred, permanently injured, or disfigured, having Bodily Injury is important. Without the coverage, you not only have to pay for damages and settlements out-of-pocket, you also have to pay for your own court costs and legal fees.

Other Types of Coverage Available in Florida

Coverage requirements do offer you some protection, but a comprehensive policy is one that includes more than just what's required by law.

In the state of Florida, all carriers must offer their applicants the option to add optional forms of coverage to their policies for additional premiums. Some of your options include:

  • Comprehensive - pays for repairs to your vehicle after it's damaged in a fire, theft, vandalism, flood, or encounter with an animal
  • Collision - pays for repairs to your vehicle after you collide with a car, crash into an object, or overturn your car
  • Uninsured Motorist Protection - pays for your medical bills when you suffer serious injury in an accident with someone who doesn't have insurance
  • Towing - pays to have your vehicle towed when it breaks down
  • Rental Car Reimbursement - pays for a temporary substitute vehicle after you file a covered physical damage claim (daily limits apply)

How to Choose the Right Auto Insurance Company

One of the first things that you should do when you're shopping for Florida car insurance is to research the carriers. Not all licensed providers are created equal and doing business with a subpar company can put you at risk.

If you want quick claims payments and good service, here are some tips:

  • Check the company's licensing status through the Office of Insurance Regulation. The office can't protect your rights as a consumer if you don't buy coverage from a licensed company
  • Look up the insurer's financial stability grade through sites like A.M. Best. These grades show you if the company is financially secure or on the verge of bankruptcy
  • Review a company's complaint index through the National Association of Insurance Commissioner'sConsumer Portal. If there is a high rate of complaints, consider doing business elsewhere
  • Find companies that offer multiple lines of insurance so that you can save money and enjoy added convenience
  • Look up the company's consumer satisfaction ratings through an unbiased source like JD Power and Associates

How to Save Money on Your Premiums

You don't automatically have to choose a basic insurance policy to save money. It's best to take advantage of discounts and preferred rating classes when you can. Here are some tips to help you keep your insurance costs down as you solicit quotes:

  • Give the insurer information on your insurance history to receive prior insurance discounts
  • Make sure to consider your licensing experience from other states and countries when you are asked how long you have been licensed
  • Raise your deductibles for comprehensive and collision if they are low
  • Assign risky drivers to the least expensive vehicle on the policy
  • Remove physical damage coverage if the car doesn't retain much value
  • Buy coverage for multiple cars through the same insurer
  • Complete driver training and traffic school
  • If you are over 55, ask where you can take Mature Driver training for a discount

The most effective way to save money on your insurance rates in Florida is to shop around. Every company has their own rate system and some systems are more favorable than others. If you want to compare rates quickly, use an online quoting tool and get instant quotes so that you can make an informed buying decision.

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