The Simple Guide to Auto Insurance Requirements in Florida

November 16, 2017

Florida car on street

Florida car insurance can be complicated. More than complicated: convoluted, complex and just plain confusing. Maybe one day, the state will simplify things; but until then, we’ll walk you through Florida’s car insurance laws.

If all you want to do is find affordable car insurance that meets Florida car insurance requirements, then go ahead and compare quotes for cheap car insurance on Compare.com (you’re welcome). If you want to know more about the ins and outs of the state’s regulations – keep reading…

The Most Important Thing to Know About Florida Car Insurance

When you’re buying insurance in Florida, remember this: Meeting the basic Florida car insurance requirements does not mean you’re protected. You might think that if you’re obeying the law, you’ll be OK after a crash, but it doesn’t work like that.

“Day in and day out people are shocked when I have to tell them that they are going to have to pay tens of thousands of dollars or more of their own money in out of pocket expenses,” Gainesville attorney Jeffrey Meldon writes, “even though they did not cause the accident and the at fault party complied with the Florida insurance laws.”

So we’ve put together a simple guide to let you know what you need to stay legal on the roads in Florida.

Personal Injury Protection

Is it required in Florida? Yes.

Florida car insurance requirements say all drivers must carry $10,000 in personal injury protection. True to its name, personal injury protection (PIP) covers expenses related to injuries you and your passengers suffer in a car accident, whether you’re the driver, passenger or a pedestrian.

Florida is a no-fault state for car insurance. Here’s what many people think that means: “If I cause a car accident, I’m not at fault!”

Wrong. “No-fault” doesn’t actually mean no one’s held accountable in an accident. It just means that instead of filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company when they’re at fault, your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage compensates you. In Florida, PIP coverage pays for 80 percent of medical bills; 60 percent of lost wages; and $5,000 in death benefits. That’s after paying the deductible. Not only that, but the maximum you can receive for your medical bills is $2,500, if your injuries aren’t considered an “emergency medical condition.” Does that sound cheap? It is.

In Florida, it’s possible to purchase extended personal injury protection, which covers 100 percent of medical bills and 80 percent of lost wages. When you compare Florida car insurance quotes, you may be able to get extended PIP at the Plus or Premium coverage levels.

Researching insurance requirements

Property Damage Liability

Is it required in Florida? Yes.

Florida car insurance requirements say all drivers must carry $10,000 in property damage liability. This coverage pays for damages you cause to someone else’s property in a crash: cars, bicycles, fences, whatever you may hit. If you’re sued for causing property damage, the insurer will provide legal representation.

Do you need more than $10,000 in property damage liability? That depends on the amount of risk you’re willing to assume. Most property damage claims are small; the average claim amount is $3,231. However, if you should rear-end a Maserati, you’d be on the hook for much more than that.

Medical Payments Coverage

Is it required in Florida? No.

Medical payments coverage, or MedPay, is extra insurance coverage that pays medical costs after an accident that PIP won’t cover. It can be used to pay the PIP deductible, too.

Do you need MedPay? It’s a good idea, especially if you have a high PIP deductible or not-so-great health insurance.

Bodily Injury Liability

Is it required in Florida? No (unless you’ve been convicted of a DUI and been ordered to have it).

Bodily injury liability pays for injuries sustained by other people in an accident that’s your fault. Is bodily injury liability required in Florida? No — but it’s a really good idea to carry it. The Florida Financial Responsibility Law requires that any person at fault in a crash resulting in bodily injury and property damage to others must provide financial coverage of at least $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. If you don’t have bodily injury liability coverage, you’ll have to post a bond for that amount.

BI coverage helps protect you, too. If you’re at fault in an accident, and the other driver sustains permanent injuries or has medical bills beyond their PIP will cover, then they can sue you. Bodily injury liability can protect your personal assets from lawsuits.

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Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

Is it required in Florida? No.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage pays for your and your passengers’ medical bills or death expenses when you’re hurt in a collision caused by an uninsured driver. (It also works for hit-and-run collisions, when you don’t know the identity of the person who hit you.) Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage kicks in when the other driver has insurance, but it’s not enough to cover your injuries.

Neither UMBI nor UMBI are Florida car insurance requirements, but it’s a really, really good idea to carry this coverage. Florida has more uninsured drivers than almost anywhere else: 26.7 percent of drivers don’t carry insurance. That means the chances are high that someone who hits you won’t have insurance, and you’ll be screwed if you don’t have UIM/UMBI.

Collision/comprehensive coverage

Is it required in Florida? No.

All the insurance above is for injuries or damage to other people’s property. What about your own car? Collision insurance covers damage to your car caused by crashing into another vehicle or an object. Comprehensive coverage covers non-crash-related damage, such as hail, flooding, fire, falling trees or hitting a deer. If you’re buying insurance for a leased car or a new car with a loan, you’ll probably be required to buy collision/comprehensive, but otherwise it’s optional.

Getting worried you’ll never be able to afford good Florida car insurance? Relax. The best way to find cheap car insurance that gives you all the protection you need is by comparing quotes on Compare.com. We make it easy to find affordable insurance that meets or exceeds all Florida car insurance requirements. Get your free quotes now!

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