How Much Auto Insurance do I Need in Florida?
Florida’s unique insurance system is often confusing at first but rather simple once you understand the basics. This article will answer questions such as:
- How much auto insurance do I need in Florida?
- What are my options for car insurance?
- What if I am in an accident without insurance?
If you drive a car with four or more wheels, the State of Florida mandates you carry a minimum amount of car insurance at all times. If you drive uninsured, you could face stiff penalties.
The insurance minimums are as follows:
Florida maintains a “no-fault” system in which the driver’s own insurance policy covers damages and injuries in the event of a car accident. Unlike other states where one driver often makes a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer, you normally cannot seek damages except in extreme cases.
Due to this, all driver’s must carry both:
- $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP): In the event of an accident, your PIP will cover injury-related expenses regardless of who was at fault in the accident. This includes paying for lost wages, medical bills, and other costs associated with suffering an injury. This includes funeral costs.
- $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL): Your PDL insurance will cover any damages you inflict on someone else’s personal property (a car or home, for example).
In both cases, once the $10,000 minimum threshold has been surpassed it could be possible to recover damages from the other driver for medical bills and other expenses. In extreme cases (such as a permanent disability), you could be able to pursue damages for pain and suffering as well.
What happens if I don’t have insurance?
If the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) does not have record of your insurance, your license, plates, and registration will be suspended. You will first receive mail stating a suspension date. If you cannot provide proof of insurance by that date, the suspension will be carried out and you will have to pay a fee to reinstate them. The fees are:
- $150 for your first offense
- $250 for your second offense
- $500 for each offense thereafter
If you get into an accident and do not have insurance, then the situation becomes more complex. If you are not at fault, then you are responsible for paying your own damages and no one will reimburse your for medical bills or other expenses. If you are at fault, then you may be held personally liable for the damages you’ve caused the other driver, meaning you would pay out of pocket if the other party filed a claim. In both cases, you could also receive a penalty from the state and perhaps even have your license suspended.
Florida’s insurance minimums are mandatory. The no-fault system presents unique challenges to drivers but is also the reason that our state’s insurance premiums are some of the most competitive in the nation. If you’ve been in an accident and either you or the other party is not insured, then contacting an attorney to help you navigate the complex legal system can help you both maximize your ability to recover damage and protect you from harsh penalties.