Florida Auto Insurance Frequently Asked Questions
Read through some of the most commonly asked questions about insurance in the state of Florida, along with the appropriate answers.
Is insurance mandatory?
Yes, it is. Anytime you are registering a motor vehicle that has at least four wheels; you are obliged to purchase an insurance policy from a recognized agent in the state. If the vehicle is not going to be registered, and will not be driven on Florida state highways, this is the one exception to the rule, and in this case, no insurance will be necessary.
What are the minimum insurance requirements?
The minimum insurance requirements for the state of Florida apply to all drivers who meet the following qualifications:
- You owned or drove a vehicle in the state for at least 90 days of the previous year.
- You are employed somewhere in the state, or you have children who are attending school somewhere within the state.
- You reside in the state of Florida.
Anyone meeting these requirements is obliged to have at least $10,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection, as well as $10,000 worth of Property Damage Liability in coverage. In addition, it is necessary to have at least $10,000 worth of Bodily Injury Liability coverage if you are involved in any kind of accident.
What if I fail to insure?
If your vehicle is not insured and you are caught in this situation, you will be subject to some fairly severe penalties. The same penalties come into play if you originally had insurance on your vehicle, but allowed it to lapse for some reason. In such cases, the state of Florida is authorized to suspend your privileges for driving as well as your license tags and registration. This suspension can be imposed for as long as three years at the state’s discretion, or until you are able to provide clear proof of having Florida insurance coverage on the vehicle.
Is there a penalty to reinstate?
If your driving privileges have been suspended because you failed to obtain the necessary insurance, you will be subject to a penalty when you attempt to reinstate your license. The penalty will amount to somewhere between $150 and $500, depending on whether this is your first offense or whether you are a repeat offender. In addition to paying the license penalty, you will be required to demonstrate proof of owning adequate Florida state insurance coverage at the time of reinstatement.
What does a basic policy cover?
A basic insurance policy will provide coverage for some combination of six different areas which you may need financial protection on. They are:
- Personal injury protection
- Bodily injury liability
- Uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage
- Collision coverage
- Comprehensive coverage
- Property damage liability
To be covered against most possibilities that might arise during the normal course of operating a motor vehicle, you should have coverage for each of these areas in your insurance policy.
Virtually every state in the country will require that you have such basic coverage on your vehicle, if you or your vehicle cause some kind of damage in an accident, to other persons or to property owned by other individuals.
What does full coverage cover?
While there are no legitimate policies that are called ‘full coverage policies,’ there are certain policies that are recognized as being full coverage policies. These will have liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage clauses included in them, which are intended to provide coverage for the three types of loss or damage which can occur as a result of your car being involved in some type of accident.
Collision and comprehensive coverage both involve repairs that you would have to pay for when your vehicle becomes damaged in an accident, and these are two of the most common types of coverage in the insurance business.
Comprehensive vs. Collision
Comprehensive insurance covers all those situations which are considered to be ‘acts of God’, for instance when a hurricane blows your car away, a flood carries it off downstream, or when a tree falls over on to your car. Earthquakes and hailstorms are also covered, as are explosions, fires, vandalism, theft, and collisions with deer on the roadway. Any kind of falling objects which damage your vehicle would also be covered under comprehensive coverage and would be repaired and paid for by your insurance provider.
Collision coverage is just what it sounds like – coverage provided when you crash into other vehicles or with stationary objects like trees or buildings. Collision insurance will allow you to file a claim after one of these events has occurred, and be reimbursed regardless of who was at fault in the accident. For the most part, you’ll only be dealing with your own insurance company when you have collision insurance, rather than any other motorist’s company.
Some collision insurance also covers the cost of obtaining a rental car for use while the owner’s car is being repaired and restored to operating condition. If not for this coverage, you would be obliged to absorb the cost of a rental for the entire time your car is being repaired.
It’s good to have an understanding of what’s involved with each form of coverage that’s included in your policy. This way, you’ll know what’s covered and what isn’t. When the time comes to make a claim against that insurance policy, you don’t want to get a nasty surprise and find out that you have little or no coverage in the specific area where you most need it.