Auto Insurance Information

 

 

Florida laws require that the minimum insurance coverage you must carry as a motor vehicle owner is $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 Property Damage Liability (PDL) . These requirements are also applicable to tourists and temporary Florida residents who live in the state for 90 days or more, are employed in Florida, or have children in school in Florida. PIP coverage provides compensation for physical injury regardless of who is at fault in an accident and PDL covers property damage to others when the driver is at fault. In fact, without proper proof of insurance from a company licensed in Florida, you will not be able to register your car or obtain a license plate.
Once you are insured in the state of Florida, your policy provider will notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) about all actions on your account, such as renewals, failures to renew, and cancellations either by you or the policy provider. If your policy is cancelled for any reason, you will be notified by the DHSMV to provide proof of another policy. Failure to do so within the time allotted, may cause your license and tag/registration to be suspended for up to three years or until you show proof of coverage, whichever is first. If you wait until after your license is suspended, you will have to pay a $150 reinstatement fee.
Additionally, if you become involved in a vehicle accident or violate certain traffic laws without having the minimum insurance requirements (such as having your license suspended for too many points or driving under the influence), under the Financial Responsibility Law , you will be required to carry Bodily Injury Liability Insurance (BIL) in addition to PIP and PDL. The purpose of the Financial Responsibility Law is to require owners and operators of motor vehicles to be financially responsible for damages and/or injuries they may cause to others when a motor vehicle crash happens. In this case, in addition to PIP and PDL coverage for $10,000 each, vehicle owners and operators will have to carry BIL insurance with coverage of $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident.


I – Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
PIP cover the following losses, independently of who is at fault or caused the accident:
•  80% of your medical expenses;
•  60% of your lost wages;
•  100% of the personal domestic costs you incurred as a consequence of the accident, such as the cost of a baby-sitter for your child.
•  $5,000 for funeral expenses
You may be able to receive higher benefits either by modifying your PIP coverage so as to increase the payment for medical expenses to 100% and lost wages to 80%, or by increasing the minimum limits from $10,000 to $20,000 or more. Some insurance companies may not offer the option of increasing the minimum limits, but may offer other options.
PIP insurance covers you, your dependents, passengers, and licensed motorists who drive your car with you permission. It also covers damages you may suffer while a passenger in another vehicle or if you are a pedestrian and are hit by a car. Your PIP insurance, however, will not cover a passenger of yours who has his or her own PIP coverage, or who is the owner of an automobile but has not acquired his or her own PIP coverage.
Your PIP insurance will cover only you and/or members of your family in accidents that occur outside the state of Florida. In these cases you must be driving your own vehicle or be one of the passengers.
Note that you will be responsible for the total amount of the deductible you choose on your policy. They may range from $250 to $2,000. In the case of an accident, the insurance company will only pay the amount that exceeds the deductible amount, up to the limits of coverage of your policy. You are not required to have an amount of deductible established in your PIP policy—it is optional.


II – Property Damage Liability (PDL)
PDL insurance covers damages caused by your vehicle to other vehicles or property, even if you are at fault. This coverage requires that the driver of your vehicle be either you or a member of your family who lives with you. Depending on the terms of your policy, however, it may also cover damages caused by a driver who is not a member of your family living with you, but was driving your vehicle with your permission.
Although only PIP and PDL are required, there are other types of insurance you can purchase:
•  Bodily Injury Liability Insurance (BIL)
BIL indemnifies the victim of an accident for serious or permanent injuries and for death, up to the maximum limit of the policy. The insurance company will represent you legally if a law suite is filed against you and it might also pay third parties for injuries caused by you (or members of your family who live with you) while driving someone else's vehicle. This insurance may also cover injuries caused by someone driving your vehicle with your permission.
•  Collision Coverage
This type of insurance covers repairs or replacement of your vehicle, irrespective of who caused the accident.
•  Comprehensive Coverage
Covers damages to your vehicle through means other than collisions, such as fire, theft, vandalism, storms, floods, etc.
•  Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist
Covers serious injuries suffered by you, your passengers, or members of your family caused by the other driver, when the driver does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the injuries suffered. This insurance provides coverage even if you suffer injuries from an accident while in someone else's vehicle, if you are a pedestrian and are hit by a car, or if you are riding a bicycle. Additionally, the insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages that exceed your PIP coverage, and those expenses related to pain & suffering, mental anguish, psychological trauma, serious or permanent injuries, or death.
•  Medical Insurance
Covers medical bills related to you, members of your family who live with you, and passengers of your vehicle for injuries from accidents, regardless of who caused the accident, up to the limit of your policy. This insurance provides coverage even if you suffer injuries from an accident while in someone else's vehicle, if you are a pedestrian and are hit by a car, or if you are riding a bicycle. This insurance would cover the remaining 20% of the medical expenses (since PIP covers 80%), and would also cover medical expenses that exceed the limit of the PIP policy.
•  Towing Insurance
This insurance offers towing services to policyholders. Note, however, that the insurance company may cancel this policy for excessive towing requests not related to accidents.
Common questions related to auto insurance:
I am registering a vehicle for the first time in Florida. Is automobile insurance mandatory?
Yes. If you own a vehicle with at least four wheels and are registering it, you must have Florida insurance.
What type of insurance is required to purchase and maintain a Florida tag and registration?
Florida's minimum coverage is $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 property damage liability (PDL) as long as you have a valid Florida tag.
What is " Bodily Injury Liability" (BIL) insurance? Bodily Injury Liability coverage pays for serious and permanent injury or death to others when you cause a crash involving your automobile. Your insurance company will pay for injuries up to the limits of your policy and provide legal representation for you if you get sued. In particular, your company pays for injuries caused by you or members of your family who live with you, even if they were driving someone else's vehicle. It may also cover others who drive your automobile with your permission. This coverage also provides you with legal defense in the event you are sued by the injured party.
What is "Property Damage Liability" (PDL) insurance?
This coverage pays for damages you or members of your family cause (and are liable for) to other people's property in a crash involving a motor vehicle.
What is meant by "Florida Coverage"?
Florida coverage is an insurance policy delivered or issued for delivery in Florida by an insurance company licensed by the Florida Department of Financial Services.
Can I maintain my current policy issued in my previous state of residence?
No. The minimum required insurance must be issued through a Florida agent with an insurance company licensed to sell in Florida. Most insurers have Florida agents and are licensed to issue policies in Florida. Just ask your agent to transfer your current insurance to Florida when you register a vehicle in Florida.
What if I fail to keep insurance on my vehicle that I have registered in Florida?
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is authorized to suspend your driving privilege, including your vehicle tag and registration, for up to three years or until proof of Florida insurance is provided, whichever is first.
If my driving privilege is suspended because I am not properly insured, is there a penalty to reinstate my license?
Yes. A reinstatement fee of $150 up to $500, for subsequent violations, must be paid and you must provide proof of current Florida insurance.
I live outside Florida for six months a year. When not in Florida, my vehicle is in storage and not used. Must I maintain automobile insurance?
Yes. Any vehicle holding a valid Florida tag and registration must be covered by a Florida insurance policy throughout the entire registration period. When you leave Florida, you may surrender your tag and registration at the nearest driver license or tag office to avoid maintaining your policy. You can always register your vehicle upon your return to Florida, at which time you can provide proof of Florida insurance.
I am not a resident of Florida but I have business that keeps me in Florida sometimes for several months at a time. Must I comply with Florida's insurance laws?
Yes. Any person who has a vehicle in Florida for more than 90 days during a 365-day period must purchase personal injury protection and property damage liability insurance coverage. The 90 days do not have to be consecutive.
I own multiple vehicles. Some are not used for different reasons, but the county I live in requires that the vehicles remain registered. Must I maintain insurance coverage on these vehicles?
Yes. Insurance coverage must be maintained throughout the entire vehicle registration period, whether the vehicle is used or not.
What can I do to avoid a driving privilege suspension when I choose not to insure a vehicle?
To avoid a driving privilege suspension, surrender the vehicle's tag and registration at any Florida driver license or tag office, prior to canceling your insurance policy.
If my driving privilege is suspended for no insurance, will I be granted a temporary driver license for Business or Employment purposes?
No. There is no provision in Florida's motor vehicle insurance laws for the issuance of any sort of temporary or restricted driver license for financial responsibility suspensions.
I am self-employed as a taxi driver and the only vehicle I own is registered as a taxicab. Must I carry automobile insurance?
Yes. You must carry Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage of $125,000 per person, $250,000 per occurrence and $50,000 for property damage liability (PDL) coverage.

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