How to get cheap auto insurance in Florida
Finding the right car insurance can be difficult. On top of looking out for your own safety, you have to think about your budget and the requirements related to car loans or leases. Many drivers often forget to also consider their state’s auto insurance requirements, which has the potential to cause problems later on.
Each state has its own set of requirements for car insurance, and with so many different types of insurance, you need to be able to weed through the extras so you can understand the base essentials. Florida has some of the lowest car insurance minimums in the country, but it still pays to understand the state requirements, coverage options and how to find cheap rates on insurance in Florida.
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Average car insurance costs in Florida
Depending on where you do your research, Florida ranks fifth in the country for expensive car insurance; you can expect to pay in the range of $1,800 annually for your coverage, compared to the national average of around $1,300.
You could also fall well outside of the average depending on your driving record, your credit score, the kind of vehicle you drive and a handful of other factors.
No matter what insurance you go with, if you’re planning on driving in Florida, make sure that you carry proof of your insurance plan with you. You can also pull up digital versions of this ID on any smart device to prove your coverage.
Cheapest car insurance in Florida
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Tips for getting better car insurance rates
These tips should work for you just about anywhere in the country.
- Don’t drive a flashy car. You might think a cruise along the beach deserves a view from some exotic sports car, but you can be fairly certain a Honda Civic is easier and cheaper to insure than a Ferrari.
- Drop collision and comprehensive coverage on older cars. Your car’s value determines your maximum payout after an accident or theft. If you commute in an older vehicle that’s only worth a few thousand dollars, you don’t even need this protection.
- Increase your deductible. Your deductible is what you agree to pay after an accident. Raising it decreases how much of the tab your provider picks up after a fender bender or worse.
- Take care on the road. Accidents and tickets are surefire ways to push your premium higher. Clean records tend to get the best rates — and you might even qualify for a safe-driver discount. You can also explore defensive or safe driver courses to get violation points removed and earn an extra discount for having completed the class.
- Use anti-theft devices. You think it can’t happen to you, but thousands of cars are stolen in the US each year. Some providers even offer discounts for passive devices, like steering wheel locks.
- Look for local insurers. That provider around the corner might be hungrier for your business than a national company, and could offer cheaper rates.
- Keep on top of your bills. A growing number of providers check credit scores when determining your rates. Most states allow this practice — Massachusetts, California and Hawaii are the outliers — which means a poor score could result in higher premiums, and great credit might net you some savings. Paying your annual premium up front could also keep a few dollars in your pocket.
- Bundle your policies. Group your renter’s or home insurance under your car insurance provider’s umbrella to reduce what you pay across the board.
Can my credit score affect my insurance rates in Florida?
Yes, it can. Separate studies by the University of Texas and the Federal Trade Commission both show correlation between poor credit scores and elevated accident risk. Because of these findings, insurance providers throughout most of the US will factor your credit score into their calculation of your insurance costs.
The practice of using credit score to determine car insurance rates is prohibited in California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. But in the other 47 US states, providers are allowed to use these numbers to justify higher (or lower) rates.
State minimum requirements in Florida
In order to legally drive in Florida, you need liability insurance, which includes:
- $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
- $10,000 property damage liability coverage.
What is personal injury protection (PIP) coverage?
Personal injury protection coverage will pay up to 80% of the medical costs incurred because of an accident and up to 60% for lost wages — regardless of who caused it. If there is any ambiguity surrounding who was at fault, you’ll still be protected.
Unlike most states, Florida allows you to waive bodily injury liability coverage through a signed agreement with your insurance company. This isn’t recommended though, as bodily injury liability coverage can help pay for the other driver’s accident-related medical expenses when you’re found at fault in an incident.
Some states require that you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist’s coverage (UM/UIM), which protects you if you’re in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. Florida does not require this, although most car insurance companies offer it.
Because Florida car insurance requirements are so sparse, insurance companies offer many additional insurance coverage plans.
- Collision. Helps pay for repairs if your car is damaged in an accident.
- Comprehensive. Protects you from non–crash related damages, like a fire or vandalism.
- Towing and labor. Provides reimbursement for towing and labor required when your car is damaged in an accident.
- Rental car coverage. Assists the expenses associated with renting a car after an accident.
Roadside assistance in FloridaMany insurers offer roadside assistance as an optional extra, and a few offer it free, typically when you buy collision and comprehensive coverage. Roadside assistance can be useful to Florida drivers who know traffic and road conditions can make for a stressful drive. Besides having a high collision rate due to the age and number of drivers on the road, Florida’s roads take a beating from the salt water and heavy rain conditions. Road drainage can be poor in certain areas, and a flash flood is not the time you want to be on the road. Roadside assistance can help you get your car to a safe place after an accident, hitting a pothole or finding yourself with a flooded car and nowhere to go.
What happens if I’m driving in Florida and I don’t have insurance?
If you’re found driving without insurance — whether you’ve been in an accident or just pulled over for a routine traffic stop — you’ll have to face additional consequences. If you don’t have car insurance, it’s harder to avoid getting caught than some other states. If the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) has no record of your current car insurance policy, you will be notified by mail and your license will be temporarily revoked.
Florida requires that you meet the state’s requirements for car insurance — that’s one of the reasons why they have such light restrictions. However, if you don’t have any sort of coverage, your license will be suspended until you get insurance and pay a fine.
- First offense: Your license will be suspended until you pay a $150 reinstatement fee and provide proof that you’re insured to at least Florida’s legal minimum.
- Second offense: $250 license reinstatement fee, if second offense occurs within 3 years of the first offense. And unless you can provide proof of insurance within a short window of time, you could lose your driving privileges for up to 3 years.
- Further offenses: $500 license reinstatement fee if lapse occurs within 3 years of initial offense; your license and registration could also be suspended for up to 3 years.
Uninsured drivers in Florida
Florida drivers are legally required to have insurance, but not everyone follows that law. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the nation — more than 26% of the state’s motorists drive without car insurance. For reference, the national average is only 12%.
This means approximately one in four motorists in the state are uninsured or underinsured, which can be dangerous for you and your passengers. It’s a very good idea to consider adding uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance to your policy.
Can I get temporary car insurance in Florida?
Yes, you can. You might need coverage for a short period for a borrowed car or rental car. It’s perfectly legal to purchase short term car insurance for less than six months, but most insurance companies won’t offer this option.
Your best option might be to call your current insurance provider or an online provider to find out your options. You can also find a policy that lets you cancel for no or low fees, and transfer to a more long term option when you’re ready.
Drunk driving laws in Florida
Like all states in the US, Florida has a BAC limit of 0.08% for all nonprofessional drivers, as well as a 0.04% BAC limit for commercial drivers. If your BAC is over the limit when you get pulled over, penalties are severe, and can include:
- First offense: Up to 6 months in jail, fines and penalties of $500-2,000, license suspension of 6-12 months and IID required to drive again.
- Second offense: Up to 9 months in jail, fines of $1,000-4,000, license suspension of 1-5 years and IID required to drive again.
- Third offense: 30 days to 5 years in jail, fines of $2,000-5,000, license suspension of 2-10 years and IID required to drive again.
Can I get SR-22 insurance in Florida?
Yes, you can. You might need an SR-22 on file if you’ve gotten a DUI, lost your license or have too many violation points on your driving record. SR-22 tells the state you have the minimum coverage required to get back behind the wheel.
What happens after an accident in Florida?
Even if you’re shaken or dazed after a car accident, it’s important that you take some steps to protect yourself from unnecessary worries.
- Safety first. Check that no one involved in the accident has been injured. If someone has been injured, call 911 right away. If everyone is fine, try to move your vehicle so it won’t block the road. Even if no one is injured, it’s a good idea to call the local police and inform them of what’s happened.
- Exchange information. Write down the full names, car make and model and insurance information of the people involved in the accident. Don’t forget to include their addresses and driver’s license numbers in your notes.
- Notify your insurance agent. Call your insurance company before you leave the scene. They’ll be able to help guide you through more specific next steps. If you have questions about the accident, your insurance agent should be a good resource.
- Document the scene. Take pictures of the scene, paying special attention to capturing multiple angles of where the damage occurred. Take down the names of police officers and any potential witnesses to better protect your claim.
Who’s at fault after an accident?
Florida is a no-fault state. That means that if you’re injured in a car accident, your insurance company will pay your medical bills (up to your policy’s limits), regardless of who is at-fault for the accident. Florida requires no-fault coverage in the form of personal liability protection.
Can I sue someone because of a car accident in Florida?
Even though Florida is a no-fault state, you can still sue people if the accident resulted in permanent or fatal injuries or disfigurement. Bodily injury liability coverage can help pay for potential legal costs if you’re the at-fault driver.
When should I report an accident to the authorities in Florida?
Accidents involving an injury or death, a hit-and-run or intoxicated driver or property damage that appears to be over $500 must be reported to law enforcement immediately. The investigating officer will make a written report on all accidents involving a death or injury.
If an officer completes a report, you won’t need to file a crash report. However, if a crash report hasn’t been filed by law enforcement, then you’ll need to do so within 10 days of the accident.
If you’re worried that the report hasn’t been filled out yet, it’s better to be safe than sorry — either call your local law enforcement to check or fill it out just to be safe. Failure to report an accident to the proper authorities in a timely fashion can result in license suspension and other penalties.
Carrying auto insurance protects you, your family and fellow drivers. Research your insurance options to make sure that you’re receiving the coverage that you need — and that your state requires.
Compare car insurance to find the best rates and discounts and even temporary insurance and coverage for high-risk drivers.
Frequently asked questions about car insurance in Florida
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