A guide to car insurance in the Sunshine State
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If you plan to join the 15.5 million licensed Floridian drivers, you will need to learn the ins and outs of auto insurance, since it is a requirement for driving in the state. Buying car insurance in Florida is a significant decision; purchasers spend an average of $1,372 per year, well above the national average. Read on to learn everything you need to know about car insurance in the state of Florida.
You must have car insurance if you drive in the state of Florida, but not every type is required.
Florida mandates property damage coverage and personal injury protection, but there is no requirement to carry bodily injury liability or uninsured motorist coverage, which are required in many other states.1
Florida’s minimum coverage amounts are quite low compared to other states. State law only requires $10,000 in property damage liability per accident, for example, as well as $10,000 in personal injury protection per person and per accident.
If you skirt the law and are caught driving without insurance, you could face serious consequences. Florida fines $150 for the first offense, with escalating penalties from there. You could end up with a suspended license if you fail to comply with the requirements. You should always carry at least the minimum coverage to avoid such fines and penalties.
In this section, we’ll walk through other common types of coverage and explain the minimum requirements. In general, we recommend getting the maximum amount that you can afford so that your insurance fully covers any expenses you incur after an accident.
As we mentioned above, Florida only requires $10,000 in property damage liability per accident. We recommend $500,000 of liability coverage, and more if possible.
Again, Florida mandates $10,000 in coverage for personal injury liability per accident. This won’t get you very far with the high cost of medical bills in the U.S. You should purchase at least $100,000 in coverage per person and $300,000 per accident if it’s in your price range.
Comprehensive coverage is not required in Florida, but it can help cover the full scope of damage from incidents other than collisions, such as vandalism, weather, and theft. About 78 percent of insured drivers elect to have comprehensive coverage.2
Comprehensive coverage doesn’t have limits per se; it depends on the actual market value of your car. If you decide to purchase comprehensive coverage, you’ll also have to decide on a deductible.
Collision insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your car if you get into a collision that’s your fault. Though Florida doesn’t require it, this is useful coverage to have. With both collision and comprehensive coverage, the limit is your car’s actual market value. You will select a deductible that you’ll have to pay before coverage kicks in.
Some states require drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage to cover medical expenses or property damage resulting from a hit-and-run or an uninsured driver. Florida does not mandate this type of insurance, but we recommend it, given the risk of high medical bills in these situations. If you can afford it, try to get at least $100,000 in coverage per person, and $300,000 per accident.
Personal injury protection (PIP) provides comprehensive medical coverage if you or your passengers are injured in an accident, no matter who caused it. It can also cover lost wages and funeral expenses, if necessary. PIP usually has a deductible that you must meet before coverage kicks in. This type of insurance is crucial, especially if you do not have robust health insurance.
Given the high cost of medical procedures in the United States, you should probably buy more than the minimum amount of PIP coverage in Florida. We recommend purchasing at least $500,000 in coverage.
Florida can be an expensive place to live, and this extends to the average cost of car insurance.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners reported that Floridians spent an average of $1,372 per year on car insurance as of 2020, which is 31 percent above the national average of $1,047.3 Costs can range from close to $1,000 for the cheapest car insurance to just above $1,600 per year. Learn more about the average rates of car insurance for drivers in Florida, which also depend on your coverage options and driving record.
Almost every national provider offers coverage in Florida, as well as some state-specific providers:
If you know where to look, there are several ways to lower your out-of-pocket insurance costs in Florida.
You can find some significant car insurance discounts in Florida. Discounts vary by company and situation, but these are some typical qualifications for auto insurance discounts:
Sometimes you can lower your rates by bundling insurance types, like adding renters, homeowners, or other types of insurance to your auto policy. If you go with a company that offers multiple types of insurance, you could consolidate your coverage under one roof, opening up discounts.
A common mechanism for lowering premiums is raising your deductible. This means that you will pay less for insurance each month, but in the event of an accident, you will be responsible for a higher share of the bill before your insurance kicks in.
Such a strategy is a gamble, as it could end up costing you more, but it’s an option for lowering your premiums in the short term. Raising your deductible could be especially appealing if you have the cash to lay out in case of an accident.
Another lever to minimize your short-term insurance expenses is to purchase lower coverage limits. In Florida, you can go as low as $10,000 for property damage and personal injury protection. As we mentioned, though, you’ll probably want to purchase more than the minimum, since you could be on the hook for a significant amount of money if something goes wrong. But you certainly can consider lowering your limits as a way to save money each month.
Carrying the minimum amount of coverage isn’t enough — you also need to establish proof of coverage in certain situations.
If you are caught at the wheel without proof of insurance in Florida, the state will consider you uninsured. Your license will be revoked until you pay a $150 reinstatement fee.
If you are caught again, the fine can escalate up to $500, and your license could be revoked for longer periods. Always carry proof of insurance to avoid this scenario.
As in most states, the required proof of insurance in Florida is an ID card. It must contain your policy number, name, effective dates, and vehicle information. We recommend keeping it in your glove compartment so that it’s always there when you need it.
Nowadays, you don’t necessarily need a physical copy of your insurance card. All states except New Mexico explicitly allow digital cards as proof of insurance.
Ask your provider how you can get digital proof of insurance. Some insurers provide it through a mobile app, while others allow you to download digital ID cards.
Like every state, Florida has its own driving laws. This section drills down into the laws you need to know when operating a vehicle in the state.
Florida is a no-fault state — one of only 12 in the U.S. This means that each victim’s own insurance company reimburses their medical claims after an accident, regardless of who was responsible. Everyone files claims with their own provider to cover medical expenses under PIP, for example.
If your own coverage isn’t enough, then you can file a third-party claim for property damage or sue the other person — though this can get complicated, as we will explain.
You may be able to sue another driver for negligence if you get into an accident in Florida. Negligence is when a party involved in the incident did not behave reasonably and caused damages. Multiple parties can hold some level of responsibility for an accident, however, and Florida law takes this into account.
In Florida’s “pure comparative negligence” law, each party’s percentage of fault determines their amount of compensation. Car insurance companies conduct their own investigations to determine these percentages.
The good news is that you can win compensation for negligence even if you are determined to be somewhat at fault. Your degree of fault can even be higher than the defendant’s — as long as you can prove some negligence on their part, you could still file a suit. In some other states, you are no longer entitled to compensation at all if you acted negligently in any way.
Negligence is a complicated topic, so you should always talk to a legal professional if you are considering filing a suit.
Uninsured motorist laws govern what happens if you get into an accident with a driver who either does not have insurance or is underinsured. Florida has a significant number of uninsured drivers: almost 3.2 million, or 20 percent of drivers in the state.4 This is 75 percent higher than the U.S. average of 12 percent.
As we’ve mentioned, uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Florida. But if you do purchase it, you should know about stacking. Stacking means combining the policies you have for each vehicle you own. This allows you to “stack” the payment limits of your insurance between vehicles.
In other words, if you have a coverage limit of $50,000 on two vehicles, your effective coverage can stack to $100,000. This applies across multiple policies as well.
Stacking happens automatically if you purchase uninsured motorist coverage, but you can waive it in order to lower your premiums.
Florida has one of the highest percentages of uninsured drivers in the nation. Even though the state does not require uninsured motorist coverage, you should seriously think about purchasing this type of insurance.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious crime, and you could face steep penalties if you do so in Florida.
If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.15 percent, your license could be suspended for six months, severely limiting your driving privileges. Penalties are even steeper for repeat offenders or those under the age of 18, including fines and jail time. You could even be required to place an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. And the penalty stays on your record for 10 years, impacting your insurance rates.
The bottom line? Never drink and drive in Florida, or anywhere else. It’s not worth it.
A seat belt is an important defense against injury in an accident. Florida requires anyone over the age of 6 to wear one. And since the state has a “primary” seat belt law, you can be pulled over and ticketed simply for not wearing one, no other violations necessary.
Distracted driving has become a major problem with the proliferation of handheld devices. In Florida, handheld device use while driving is banned in school and work zones. In these settings, you must use hands-free modes.
Texting while driving, however, is banned and enforceable as a primary offense everywhere. If you get caught more than once, you could receive fines and points on your license.
Florida’s teen driver laws are similar to those in many other states. Teens can apply for learner’s licenses at age 15. At first, young drivers can only drive during daylight hours and with accompanying drivers over the age of 21.
After a year and sufficient practice hours, teens may apply for driver’s licenses. Curfews from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. remain in place until age 18, at which point most restrictions go away.
You should be aware of the statute of limitations for claims in Florida, as this impacts how long you can wait before filing. Both property damage and personal injury claims have a statute of limitations of four years in the state.5 This is right on par with the rest of the country. You’ll need to file your claims within that window if you want them to be covered.
As in most states, insurance providers in Florida cannot cancel policies that have been in force for over 60 days, except in these cases:
If an insurance company cancels your policy in the middle of the term, it must notify you at least 45 days prior to the effective date. In cases of nonpayment, that window shortens to 10 days.
Non-renewal is a different story. At the end of your policy term, your insurance provider may not offer you a renewal. Perhaps it no longer offers that type of insurance, or it wants to reduce the number of policies in your area. In such cases, the company must notify you at least 45 days before the expiration date of your policy.6
Florida is a state that allows self-insurance. This means you can waive the insurance requirement by proving that you have enough assets to cover yourself and others in the event of an accident. Florida requires self-insurers to demonstrate $40,000 in net worth for their first car, and $20,000 for each subsequent car.
If you self-insure, you won’t have to pay monthly premiums, but you will assume full financial responsibility if you get into an accident. Consider your net worth to determine if this option would be worthwhile.
Florida car inspection laws are quite lax compared to those in other states. The state has abolished emissions testing, and there is no yearly requirement for vehicle inspection for new cars purchased in the state — only if you purchase a used car in Florida or any car out of state.
If you do get an inspection, you only have to demonstrate that the vehicle you are driving is the same one you have registered.
If you commit multiple serious driving offenses, you may be required to carry additional proof of liability coverage. In such cases, you will need a form called an SR-22 to prove you have the minimum coverage. An SR-22 is also known as a “certificate of financial responsibility.” Florida requires SR-22s in cases of serious traffic violations.
Florida may also require an FR-44 form in incidents involving alcohol. In this case, your liability requirements increase from the baseline to $100,000/$300,000 (meaning your plan will pay up to $100,000 per person whom you injure in an accident or up to $300,000 for the entire accident). The new minimums remain this high for three years following the reinstatement of your license.
Defensive driving means driving safely and respectfully in relation to other motorists, such as maintaining safe following distances and driving more slowly.
It’s always a good idea to take a defensive driver course. Florida calls them “basic driver improvement” (BDI) courses, and numerous providers offer them both online and in person. If you elect to take one of these courses, some insurance providers will offer you a rate discount. You could also get points removed from your license.
You may be required to take a BDI course in various scenarios, such as if you cause a crash that sends someone to the hospital or pass a school bus when it displays a stop signal.
You can take a defensive driver course from various providers in Florida, which could both improve your driving and lower your insurance rates.
Victims in no-fault accidents usually have a limited right to sue for both economic expenses and noneconomic damages (pain and suffering). States have varied monetary and injury thresholds. Florida does not have a threshold for monetary damages, so you could sue for any dollar amount of damage. Victims of noneconomic damages must have sustained permanent injuries, including significant scarring or disfigurement, in order to sue.
Reporting an accident to the police is sometimes required by law. Florida requires you to report any accident that causes an injury, death, or damage over $500. You could face a $30 fine for not reporting an accident that meets one of these conditions. There is no specific deadline, but you should file a police report as soon as possible.
Some states prevent insurance companies from using credit scores and gender as factors in their rates. In Florida, however, insurance providers are allowed to take both credit and sex into account when determining prices.
In general, total loss in the context of a car accident means that a vehicle cannot be safely repaired, or that repairs would cost more than the vehicle’s estimated value. Different states have different thresholds for how much damage qualifies as a total loss, however.
Florida considers 75 percent of the vehicle’s actual cash value to be the total loss threshold. For instance, if a car is worth $4,000 and requires over $3,000 in repairs, the insurance company will not consider it worth repairing.
You will need to know how to contact the auto institutions in your state. This section explains how to register your car, get a copy of your title, and contact the insurance department in Florida.
As a Florida driver, you must register your car in the state. Follow these steps to register your car:
There are several situations in which you’ll need a copy of your car’s title (official proof of ownership). Perhaps you’re selling your car to a private party, you’ve changed your name, or you need to register your vehicle. Here’s how you can request a copy of your car title in person:
You can also request a copy of your title online if you already have an electronic title:
Florida’s official regulatory body for insurance is the Office of Insurance Regulation. Its physical office is in the state capital, Tallahassee, and it also has a hotline you can call. The insurance department is a good source for official information about insurance statutes in Florida.
A major reason that you need car insurance is to receive reimbursement for necessary repairs after an accident. The average repair cost in Florida is $393, which is slightly above the national average (by 3 percent).
In 2020, Florida was the sixth-most expensive state for car repairs in the nation. The high cost of parts in Florida drove this increase, at $246 per repair. This was $10 above the national average ($236).
In this section, we’ll explain what you need to know about auto theft and fatalities in Florida.
Florida as a whole is relatively safe from car theft. The statewide rate of 176 thefts per 100,000 inhabitants is 40 percent lower than the national average. However, this can vary significantly, depending on where in Florida you live.
The metropolitan area in Florida with the highest rate of car theft is Miami-Fort Lauderdale, with 289 thefts per 100,000 residents. Panama City, Gainesville, Jacksonville, and Orlando round out the top five riskiest Florida cities for auto theft.
|Metropolitan area in Florida||Motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach||289|
If you live in one of these regions, expect slightly higher insurance premiums.
Florida can be a dangerous place to drive. The state has the third-highest rate of traffic-related fatalities in the country, behind Texas and California. The fatality rate of 3,600 deaths per 100 million miles traveled is 80 percent higher than the national average. This sobering statistic should remind you to drive defensively and stay safe.
You should now have all the information you need to buy and manage your car insurance in the state of Florida. Be safe out there!
Here are some common questions and answers about car insurance in Florida:
Yes, you need insurance to register your vehicle in Florida. You will need to show proof of valid Florida insurance at the time of registration.
According to 2020 data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average person in Florida pays $114 per month for their auto coverage. This can vary significantly, though, based on how much coverage you buy.
Yes, Florida is a no-fault state. This means that each person involved in an accident uses their own insurance to cover their medical expenses, no matter who was at fault. The at-fault party still pays for property damage, however.
Car insurance in Florida is more expensive than the national average. In 2020, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners estimated that Floridians spent 31 percent more for insurance than the rest of the country ($1,372 per person in Florida and $1,047 nationwide).
Florida Insurance Requirements. Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. (2022).
Facts + Statistics: Auto insurance. Insurance Information Institute. (2022).
2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).
One in Eight Drivers Uninsured: $13 Billion Spent in 2016 to Protect Against Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers. The Institutes Insurance Research Council. (2021, Mar 22).
Car Accidents: Statutes of Limitations. Enjuris. (2022).
2017 Florida Statutes. The Florida Senate. (2017).