From Pensacola to Jacksonville, Tallahassee to the Keys, Florida has thousands of miles of roadways. They’ll take you from Orlando to the Everglades, from Panama City to Daytona Beach. They’re used by more than 14 million licensed drivers, who each put in an average of 10,000 miles a year. Along the way, those drivers are involved in thousands of traffic accidents every year, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in the Sunshine State, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to Florida’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.
Florida state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines and jail time. Florida is a no-fault state. That means your insurance will pay your injury claims up to a specified limit, regardless of who caused the accident. Under a no-fault system, you lose some of your rights to sue for damages.
The bare minimum car insurance requirement for Florida drivers is:
$10,000 bodily injury per person per accident
$20,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
$10,000 property damage liability
$10,000 personal injury protection
Florida does not require you to carry additional coverage such as Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist or Collision and Comprehensive. However, If you own property or other valuable assets, supplementing the minimum requirements can help you protect yourself from monetary loss.
Penalties for Failure to Carry State Auto Insurance
You are required by law to carry proof of Florida car insurance in your car and show it if a law enforcement officer asks to see it. Failure to do so can result in fines of $150 to $500 and a suspension of your driver’s license of up to three years. If you are involved in an accident without insurance and found to be at fault, you can be held liable for all costs associated with the other driver’s bodily and property injuries. Your driving privileges can be suspended until those damages are paid.
Florida Car Insurance Premiums
Vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Insurance companies are allowed to charge premiums and award discounts based on a number of factors that can include:
The type of car you are insuring
Prior auto insurance coverage
How much you drive
Your driving record
Your marital status
Your geographic location
How long you’ve been driving
Whether or not you use your car for business
Florida also allows insurers to consider your credit rating to determine your premium.
How to Get the Cheapest Florida Car Insurance Policy
You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:
Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
Eliminate unnecessary coverage
Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer
New Florida Driving Laws
Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in Florida. The following laws have recently been enacted in Florida and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.
Red light cameras are legal in Florida, but under a new law effective in 2013, you have 60 days to pay the ticket. There is also an easier municipal appeals process for challenging a red light ticket, but if you lose you must pay the fine and court costs, which could be as much as $250.
There is a ban on texting while driving for all drivers. If you are pulled over for another offense and found to be texting, you can be ticketed for the texting as a secondary offense. The first-offense fine is $30 plus court costs. A second offense within 5 years is $60 plus court costs. You can also be ticketed for texting while driving if you are involved in an accident and a witness reports you.
You cannot be ticketed as long as you come to a stop, even after crossing the stop line, before making a legal right turn on red.
Left-lane drivers are prohibited from going more than 10 mph below the speed limit if they know they are being overtaken from behind by a faster-moving vehicle.
Drivers are now allowed to flash their headlights to warn other drivers of a speed trap ahead, however some lawyers advise that loopholes in the law could still result in your being ticketed.