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Insurance Requirements for All Florida Drivers

Regardless of whether you’re a new driver or have been behind the wheel for years, you’re probably aware that you must carry auto insurance. Now, the question is how much car insurance in Florida is required. 

Can you skate by with an inexpensive limited liability policy, or do you need to spring for full coverage? What about minimum insurance coverage? What are the state laws regarding minimum coverage amounts? Florida has some specific insurance requirements all drivers need to meet if they want to avoid fines and other potential penalties.

Do All Vehicles in Florida Need Auto Insurance

This may seem like a silly question until you drive on some neighborhood streets. Instead of cars, trucks, and SUVs, golf carts and go-karts are zipping around. Do these vehicles need insurance? What about water bikes? You carry insurance on your boat, yes, it’s a state requirement, so what about your speedy little bike?

While Florida says all vehicles on the road, and most in the water, need to be insured, there are exceptions. When it comes to your golf cart, go-kart, and water bike, it’s up to you if you decide to add them to your insurance policy. In other words, these recreational vehicles are exempt from Florida’s insurance laws.

Minimum Vehicle Insurance Requirements in Florida

If you own a vehicle registered in Florida, there are minimum insurance requirements you need to meet, although this doesn’t apply to visitors to the state. They follow the guidelines in their home state. 

Commercial and rideshare drivers also have different insurance requirements. The following only applies to drivers of personal-use vehicles. Yes, you need to meet different requirements if you use your vehicle for business purposes. Typically, you’ll follow the standards for commercial vehicles.

Okay, so your vehicle is only used for things like running errands, commuting to work, and of course, going on vacations. How much insurance do you need to meet state minimum requirements?

You must carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and the same amount for property damage liability. If you’re not familiar with PIP insurance, think of it as the medical aspect of your car insurance. PIP covers your medical expenses up to the policy’s limit. If you only have the state minimum requirement, your cap is set at $10,000. Any costs over $10,000 come out of your pocket.

What About Bodily Injury Insurance

Bodily injury liability insurance (BIL) isn’t required by the state. However, it’s still something you want to consider. Your PIP insurance only covers your injuries and those of any passengers in your vehicle. Your property damage policy obviously only applies to vehicle damage repairs and replacement costs. If you don’t have BIL insurance, you’re leaving yourself open to potential lawsuits if others are injured in the accident, and this can include pedestrians and cyclists.

If you’re wondering if Florida’s no-fault laws don’t protect you from personal injury lawsuits after an accident, the answer is both yes and no. Everyone injured in an accident files a claim with their insurance. Their policy covers their damages up to the cap. If the injured party still has outstanding expenses, they can file a claim against you for their remaining damages. Your BIL policy can cover some or all of these costs.

Other Types of Auto Insurance Coverage

You know Florida requires all drivers licensed in the state to carry PIP and property damage liability insurance. You can legally stick with the $10,000 policy minimum, but chances are it’s not going to be enough to cover all of the damages. Even a minor fender bender can turn into an expensive nightmare. Repair costs typically creep into the thousands of dollars.

Medical costs can be even more expensive; you’re probably nearing the insurance cap just with a trip to the emergency room. Add in medical care and you’re easily over $10,000. Don’t forget, you may also be responsible for covering your passengers' damages. Now, you’re considering taking out a second mortgage just to cover the associated costs of the accident.

Thankfully, there’s an easier and more affordable way to cover expenses relating to an auto accident. You can go above the state-required insurance minimum. Increasing the caps on your PIP and property damage liability insurance is a start. You can get as much coverage as the insurance company allows and you can afford. You can also add policies to your original coverage.

We’ve already covered the basics of bodily injury liability insurance; even in a no-fault state, you can still be held liable for other people’s injuries. BIL insurance helps ensure you’re not paying for these damages. Think of it as additional coverage on top of PIP.

Collision insurance is something else to consider carrying. If you only have the state requirements, your vehicle isn’t covered for damage in an accident. Thankfully, collision insurance can cover your vehicle repairs or even replacement costs.

Don’t forget about comprehensive coverage; this type of insurance covers pretty much everything not included in collision and property damage insurance. These policies only cover damages sustained in a vehicle accident, and they don’t cover other types of damage. For example, if your vehicle is dented by a stray golf ball or damaged in a hurricane.

Potential Penalties for Driving without Insurance in Florida

Florida can be pretty strict when it comes to the state’s insurance laws. In other words, the state seriously discourages vehicle owners from driving without insurance. You can receive a fine of up to $500 for your first offense.

From there, fines can go up to $1,000 for each subsequent ticket. Eventually, your vehicle may even be impounded and you can temporarily lose your driving privileges.

If you receive a citation for driving without insurance but have coverage, you can usually get the ticket dismissed; simply bring proof of insurance to your court date.

You may still need to pay court costs, but it’s significantly less than a $500 or higher fine. If you’re involved in an accident with an insured motorist, talk to an accident attorney about your legal options.

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