Auto insurance requirements in Florida
Florida law requires that all drivers must carry certain amounts of car insurance coverage. However, as a no-fault state, the requirements for Florida drivers are quite different than in many states. Bodily injury liability coverage is one such requirement. A mandatory coverage in most states, Florida car insurance laws do not require it, instead relying on personal injury protection (PIP) to cover injuries.
Below you’ll find the minimum car insurance requirements for the state of Florida.
What is personal injury protection?
Florida is a no-fault state. No-fault law means that, regardless of who is at fault, your own personal injury protection insurance will step in to provide coverage up to the policy limits. Unlike most other states, residents of Florida are not required to have bodily injury liability. Bodily injury liability typically covers the medical expenses of those injured in an accident caused by you. Instead, the PIP coverage kicks in to cover medical costs. Note that PIP insurance will not cover you for pain and suffering, and that you would have to seek a reward for such damages through the legal system.
Liability coverage in Florida
If you cause an accident, liability insurance covers those injured or who suffer damages. Liability insurance never covers your injuries or damages to your property. It pays the other driver only. Property damage liability will cover the cost of any damage caused to another vehicle by you. The at-fault driver is still responsible for paying for property damage caused, though the $10,000 limit is quite low. As such, it’s a good idea to increase these limits to avoid being at risk.
What are state-mandated car insurance limits?
Nearly all states require a minimum amount of insurance to be legally allowed to drive on the roads. The limit is simply the lowest amount of coverage that you can carry and still be legal. These limits can be increased for a relatively low addition to your premium. The state of Florida requires every driver maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance in the amount listed above.
Do Florida’s required minimums provide enough coverage?
Florida’s car insurance minimums are quite low. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that drivers obtain coverage above the state-mandated limits. Low minimum coverage limits may not adequately cover most costs. This can leave you at risk of having to cover the remainder of these expenses out of pocket.
Drivers may also file a claim for compensation for any injuries that exceed the cost of their own PIP policy. If the at-fault driver causes injuries over a certain amount, it’s possible for the victim to sue. Without bodily injury liability, you could be on the line for damages.
This can be the case if you cause an accident in Florida resulting in the permanent injury of another driver. According to the Florida legislature, you can be sued if you cause one of the following situations:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
Also, a $10,000 limit for personal property liability won’t go far if you were to damage a high-value car. The most that your insurance will pay out for property damage for any single accident is $10,000. $10,000 wouldn’t even cover half the cost of the average new vehicle. For this reason, it’s highly encouraged that all drivers carry higher amounts of property damage liability insurance.
Florida's penalties for driving without proof of insurance
Drivers who operate a motor vehicle without the proper auto insurance coverage can face steep penalties, including the loss of your driving privileges. Penalties for failure to show proof of insurance in Florida are as follows.
Driver’s license and registration suspended for up to three years.
Driver’s license and registration suspended for up to three years.
Of course, if you cause an accident without insurance, the penalties above can pale in comparison to the amounts you’ll be required to pay.
Optional car insurance coverage in Florida
Florida law only requires that you carry coverage in the amounts listed above. However, the following coverages are great add-ons to your insurance policy if you are looking for more coverage.
Bodily injury liability: This coverage goes toward covering the medical expenses of those injured as a result of an accident you caused. Required in most states, adding this coverage can be a good idea in Florida due to the low amounts of PIP coverage required by the state.
Collision: This coverage steps in to cover your vehicle if you are involved in a collision with another driver or object (aside from animals).
Comprehensive: Comprehensive insurance protects your vehicle against non-collision damages. This includes perils like theft, weather damage, and hitting an animal. Comprehensive and collision coverage—when purchased together—are typically referred to as “full coverage.” These coverages may be required by some lenders or lien-holders if you are financing your vehicle.
Medical payments: This coverage goes toward paying the medical bills and expenses of you and your passengers in the event of a car accident.
Roadside assistance: If you find yourself broken down, this coverage steps in to help. The particulars of the coverage differ with each company, but you can typically expect roadside assistance to fix a flat-tire, jump a dead battery, and cover the cost of a tow to a nearby garage, among other perks.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: As the name implies, this coverage protects you in the event you are hit by a motorist who does not carry insurance—or doesn’t carry enough.
Why adhering to Florida’s car insurance requirements is important
After an accident, the parties involved must present proof of insurance to the responding authorities. If you fail to maintain active PIP insurance and property damage liability insurance on your vehicle, you will be charged with a nonmoving traffic infraction and have your license suspended. Also, if you knowingly provide a law enforcement officer with insurance information that is expired, this is considered a first-degree misdemeanor resulting in fines and possible jail time. If proof of insurance is provided within 24 hours of the car accident, a citation for failure to provide proof of insurance may be voided.
Car insurance laws are in place to keep you and others protected. For this reason, make sure that you have the Florida auto insurance policy that’s right for you and your family members. Think about the benefits that an optional coverage option could bring. To find the best auto insurance rates in Florida, start by getting free quotes from The Zebra.