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User's Guide To Florida Car Insurance

Florida Auto Insurance: What You Need To Know

By Ara Rubyan

[Adapted from Florida State Department of Insurance website]

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, even if the vehicle is in another state or inoperative. There are no exemptions in the law. However, if you have been involved in a crash, or been convicted of certain offenses, you may be required to purchase bodily injury liability coverage (BIL).

What is "Personal Injury Protection" (PIP) insurance?
PIP is coverage that will compensate a loss due to injury regardless of who is charged with causing the crash. PIP applies to bodily injury to you, relatives who live in your home, and passengers who are not required to have PIP, as well as licensed drivers who drive your vehicle with your permission. PIP insurance also protects you if you are injured as a pedestrian or bicyclist as long as the injury is caused by a crash involving a motor vehicle.

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 Insurance.

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.

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 working 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 used as a taxicab. Must I carry automobile insurance?
No. Vehicles that are registered for use as taxicabs and limousines are exempt from the mandatory personal injury protection and property damage liability insurance coverage. However, if you cause a crash, and you do not have full coverage, including bodily injury liability at the time of the crash, you must purchase insurance with full liability coverage and meet other requirements. (See questions on crashes for additional compliance requirements.)

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