Florida Car Insurance
The state of Florida is one of only a handful of states to have a no-fault insurance laws whereas most other states are tort states, or states that place blame for a traffic accident on one person or another and it is the at fault driver that is financially responsible for all damages. Tort states typically require liability insurance which serves to protect the policy holder from financial liability in an accident but because Florida is a no-fault state its insurance laws are a bit unique. Ike every other state, Florida still requires its residents to meet minimum liability car insurance requirements in order to legally drive a vehicle. As of 2009 these requirements were set at $10,000 for bodily injury to one person, $20,000 for bodily injury to two or more people and of course $10,000 in property damage coverage. These coverage minimums are established by Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law which states that a drive must have the previous mentioned coverage when one of the following situations arise
-The policy holder is involved in a crash that is their fault
-The policy holder’s license is suspended because too many points were accrued
-The policy holder receives a citation for a DUI and their license is suspended
-The policy holder loses their license because they are a habitual traffic offender
-The policy holder has their license revoked for any reason
In addition to its financial responsibility law the state of Florida also operates under a no-fault law which requires anyone that has resided in the state at least 90 days during the last year to meet certain insurance requirements. These requirements included a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection as well as a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. The personal injury protection insurance is meant to compensate the policy holder if they are in an accident and they sustain injuries and/or miss work due to those injuries. The property damage liability coverage on the other hand is intended to help pay for property damaged sustained in an accident by someone other than the policy holder. Unlike property damage coverage, which is typically placed on a certain vehicle, personal injury protection in Florida is purchased for individuals and is not limited to a certain vehicle, meaning that even if the policy holder is a passenger in a vehicle they do not own when they are involved in an accident the coverage is still in place and can be used if the other driver does not have the required insurance.
Although underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is not required by the state of Florida in order for a vehicle to be legally driven it is one of the many forms of coverage that Florida residents have the option to purchase. In fact, any insurance company that does business in Florida is required by law to offer underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage to their customers. If a driver decides not to purchase underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage as a part of their policy the insurance company is required to issue a declaration page with the policy stating that the policy holder willingly opted out of underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage.
If a driver is found to be driving without the minimum required amounts of car insurance on a vehicle they risk facing a fine and could even have their license and registration suspended for a period of up to three years. If the registration of a vehicle is suspended the owner must pay a mandatory $150 reinstatement fee and provide proof of insurance to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles before it can be reinstated. The $150 reinstatement feel will continue to increase for subsequent offense and can reach s high as $500. In the state of Florida there is very little chance for drivers to skirt the system and avoid purchasing the minimum amounts of coverage as required by state law due to the many different ways the state government has of locating uninsured drivers. In addition to traffic stops and car accidents an uninsured drive can also be found when they are reported by the insurance company. Florida law requires that insurance companies notify the HSMV when a customer cancels a car insurance policy or allows it to lapse. If a driver is reported as having canceled their policy and the state does not receive any updated policy information they will directly request proof of insurance from the driver. If the driver does not provide this information immediately they are at risk of having their license, registration and tag suspended for a period of up to one year. While the HSMV may allow for a small grace period for the Florida driver to provide proof of insurance legally all three items can be suspended after just one day of a reported lapse in coverage.