Every state has its specific recommendations or mandates for auto insurance coverage. Auto insurance is required as it is part of the tort law system – a system that emphasizes that certain laws be implemented to protect the welfare and well-being of the public. That is why auto insurance in Florida is one of the covers Floridians must possess if they wish to operate a motor vehicle.
Top Stolen Cars
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau in the U.S., certain cars are more easily stolen than other forms of transport. In 2013, the NCIB listed the following cars as the top 10 choices of thieves:
- Full-size Ford pickup
- Honda Civic
- Honda Accord
- Nissan Altima
- Toyota Camry
- Toyota Corolla
- Nissan Maxima
- Full Sized Chevy Pickup
- Full Sized Dodge Pickup
- Dodge Caravan
However, not all car owners who reside in Florida are immune to car theft or the natural acts of nature that can damage a vehicle and, in turn, affect a car owner’s budget. Again, tort law mandates that residents of the Sunshine State auto insurance in Florida. The minimum coverage amounts must be obtained for personal injury protection (PIP) cover and property damage liability (PDL) cover.
Luckily, car owners in Florida do not experience some of the excessive rates that car owners in other states must pay as the state offers some of the lowest cover minimums in the U.S. When it comes to applying for auto insurance in Florida, applicants apply under the guidelines established for no-fault insurance. Therefore, if you are injured or hurt in a car accident, your auto insurance will pay the medical costs up to your insurance policy’s limits, whether you caused the accident or it was the fault of the other party.
According to the Florida DMV, the minimum limits for auto insurance in Florida are –
- $10,000 for no-fault or PIP (personal injury protection) insurance; and
- $10,000 for PDL (property damage liability) coverage.
Personal Injury Protection
Besides covering a part of the insured’s medical costs and loss of income, PIP insurance will also cover the following:
- Other members of your household and your child
- Your child (when he is taking the school bus to get to school)
- The insured (when he or she is bicycling or walking and is involved in a car accident)
- Passengers who do not possess PIP insurance and do not own a vehicle
If a passenger does have PIP insurance at the time of an accident, he will obtain cover from his insurance plan. Likewise, if the insured is riding in another person’s car, he will also be covered if he is involved in an accident.
Property Damage Liability
Property damage liability or PDL auto insurance in Florida will cover the car owner for any damages he causes to somebody else’s property if he is involved in a vehicular accident. Generally, the cover extends to homes and buildings on residential and commercial properties.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in Florida or the DHSMV requires that a car owner’s insurance company electronically inform the agency if an insurance policy is cancelled. If the department does not have any proof or record of a resident’s current insurance cover, he is notified by mail. If the car owner cannot satisfactorily provide proof of insurance by a specific date, his license, registration and plates are suspended.
To reinstate your driver’s license, registration and plates, you need to show proof that you possess auto insurance in Florida. You will then have to pay a fee. An amount of $150 is charged for the first offence and $250 for a second offence. If your license must be reinstated for a third time, you will need to pay $500 for the third offence and any offences that follow.
In order to provide proof of insurance, you need to go online to the DHSMV website or go to the local driver’s license office. The DHSMV can also be contacted by phone at (850) 617-2000. If you cannot show proof of insurance to the DHSMV before the scheduled suspension date, you will not incur any penalties.
Should you no longer own a car, you are required, by law, to surrender your registration and plates to the Florida DHSMV.
You have already been apprised of the minimum cover that Florida allows for auto insurance. However, car owners also have the alternative of buying higher amounts of cover on PIP and PDL covers. Optional cover also comes in the following forms in Florida:
- Comprehensive auto insurance in Florida pays for damage to your auto that is not the result of an accident, including scratches that result from vandalism
- Collision cover for auto insurance in Florida is designed to pay for accident-related mishaps and the resulting damages to your car
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist’s cover is designed to pay for any damages that result from being in a car accident with a driver who does not have insurance
- Rental car cover
- Towing and labor
Although insurance cover for comprehensive or collision cover is not mandated by the law, an auto lender in the state will still require that comprehensive and collision covers be purchased when a car is financed.
One of the major reasons that Florida requires that drivers are protected by no-fault insurance is to safeguard them from after-accident lawsuits. However, that being said, you still could get sued, especially if one or more victims ends up suffering a severe injury or dies in a crash. Therefore, bodily injury liability (BIL) auto insurance in Florida Is designed to assist in paying for a victim’s injuries if you are at fault. The cover also assists in paying lawyers’ fees in a lawsuit.
In some instances in Florida, certain violations or events may force you to carry SR-22 certification, which requires that a driver carry BIL (bodily injury liability) in addition to regular or minimum cover. You must obtain SR-22 for a period of three years in Florida if –
- You are involved in an automobile accident that causes property damage or injury.
- Your driver’s license is suspended because of excess traffic violation points
- Your driver’s licence is revoked.
Drivers who carry auto insurance in Florida, who are found guilty in a court of law for driving without auto insurance, typically must carry a non-cancellable SR-22 for a period of up to two years.