Car Insurance Done the SMARTWAY™


Whether you live in one of Florida’s major cities, small towns, or somewhere along its 1,200 miles of beautiful coastline, you’re required to carry auto insurance. We take the complications out of shopping for car insurance in Florida with our carrier-neutral information.

Florida has one of the highest insurance rates in the country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great deal on your auto insurance with savvy comparison shopping. Factors that may affect your premiums include your driving record and claims history, coverage selections and limits, and your age and gender. The year, make, and model of your car also affect your premium, as does your zip code, marital status, and the number of years you’ve been licensed. Ready for a quote?

Florida Auto Insurance Rates

Shopping for car insurance can be a daunting task. Where do you start? To help you out, below are the top three auto insurance companies in Florida (see the full list).

  1. The Hartford
  2. Geico
  3. Liberty Mutual

Key things to consider when shopping for auto insurance include rates, number of rejected claims, and overall customer satisfaction scores.

Click on your city to compare car insurance rates in your area. Don’t see your city listed? No problem. Start comparing rates instantly.

 

Legalities 101

Florida auto insurance isn’t just another expense. In the event of an accident, it offers financial security and protection against medical bills and lost wages. It’s always a good idea to carry as much coverage as possible, especially in states with less than stellar safety rankings. Speaking of, let’s look at some safety information for Florida.

Florida Driving Safety

When it comes to driving safety, Florida ranks as one of the worst states in the country. Some of this is due to driving under the influence and distracted driving, while other significant contributing factors include a high number of visitors and heavy rains. Regardless of the reasons for Florida’s low safety ranking, it’s crucial for Florida drivers to carry adequate insurance and to engage in defensive driving.

Take a look at the state safety stats below. Click over to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Facts Annual Report 2015 for additional information.

Florida Driving Safety Stats

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2,939
Number of fatalities for the year 2015
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45,000
Crashes caused by distracted drivers in 2015
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361
Drug & alcohol confirmed crashes for 2015

Driving Green

Unlike general traffic laws, eco-friendly laws in Florida are evolving as the state and country pay more attention to environmental health. Although some regulations only apply to drivers of hybrid, electric, or fuel-efficient cars, the state’s green driver laws are of benefit to all residents.
Florida offers numerous green driver benefits to entice drivers to go green. Some of these include:

  • High Occupancy (HOV) Lane Exemptions

    Florida offers HOV lane exemptions for inherently low-emissions vehicles and EPA-certified hybrids. To take advantage of this perk, you must obtain a Florida HOV Decal and place it on your vehicle. Apply for a decal through the State of Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

  • IRS Tax Credits

    While the State of Florida only offers tax incentives to businesses dealing with renewal fuels, the IRS provides tax breaks for purchasing eco-friendly vehicles, including hybrids and plug-in hybrids, electric cars, alternative fuel vehicles, and biodiesel vehicles

  • Business Rebates

    Florida offers rebates for businesses owning alternative fuel vehicles. These rebates include the Natural Gas Fuel Fleet Vehicle Rebate and the Commercial Electric Vehicle Charging Station Rebate. Government funding assistance for installing EV charging stations and auto insurance discounts are also available.

Car Insurance Laws

Being a Minimalist

The minimum insurance coverage needed in Florida is $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 property damage liability (PDL). Florida drivers should also have $10,000/$20,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person/per incident, but policyholders can reject this coverage if they really want to.

Florida is a no-fault state. This means your rights are limited to sue an at-fault driver following a collision. No-fault insurance coverage can pay up to 80% of injury-related expenses and up to 60% of lost wages. It does not cover damaged property.

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$ 10,000
Bodily injury coverage per person

Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to a single person

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$ 10,000
Personal injury protection coverage per accident

Minimum requirement to cover injury-related expenses, regardless of who was at fault

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$ 10,000
Property damage per accident

Maximum payment for all damaged property in an accident caused by you

Maximizing Your Return on Investment

Although you are not legally required to carry full coverage insurance in Florida, most lenders demand this level of coverage. They may also require additional coverages. Consider this when calculating the price of your auto loan.

Optional coverage in Florida

  • Auto Loan/Lease (or "gap")
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Customized Parts and Equipment
  • Emergency Road Service
  • Medical Payments
  • Rental Coverage
  • Towing and Labor
  • Travel Expenses
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist

These optional coverages offer additional financial protection and peace of mind. Some exclusions will apply.

For some smart buying tips, take a look at our post 10 Things to Consider when Shopping for a New Auto Insurance Policy.

Florida car insurance companies

The Hartford
Geico
Liberty Mutual
Metlife
Progressive
Allstate
Esurance
State Farm
Travelers
Auto-Owners Insurance
Safeco
Nationwide

*This list is based on the consumer ratings in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Ratings are derived from five customer service areas: billing, claims, interaction, policy offerings, and price. Because USAA is only open to U.S. military personnel and their families, it was not included in the rankings.

Car Safety for Florida Kids

Florida Car Seat Regulations

Children under 5 years old must be properly secured in a federally approved car seat. Failure to follow this rule can result in a $60 fine and 3 points on your driver’s license.

Infants must be positioned facing the rear of the vehicle until they are 1 year old and weigh at least 20 pounds. Kids 3 years and younger must use your vehicle’s integrated child seat or a separate child car seat. Children 4 through 5 may use a seat belt with a booster seat, as per a January 2015 law; check your car seat’s product specs to ensure your child is of the correct weight and height to safely use it. Children 6 through 17 must use a seat belt at all times.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles recommends that all children 12 years of age and younger ride in the back seat whenever possible. This is not a requirement, but is primarily due to safety concerns over injuries related to airbag deployment.

Leaving Children Unattended in a Vehicle

Florida is known for high temperatures and sunshine, both of which greatly increase the risk of injury and death for children left unattended in motor vehicles. Florida law states that children under the age of 6 years should not be left in a vehicle for more than 15 minutes, or for any length of time if the engine is running or if the child is in distress or in danger.

Even on a cool day of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the inside of a car parked in the sun can rise about 30 degrees within half an hour. This is a potentially fatal risk to young children, as well as pets, neither of whom regulate their body temperature as well as adults. With Florida’s heat and humidity, the dangers exist even when it’s cloudy out.

Injury and death can occur rapidly. A violation of the law may result in a fine of up to $500 and is a second-degree misdemeanor. The violation becomes a third-degree felony if the child is harmed.

Also, a 2016 Florida state law made it legal for bystanders to break a vehicle window to assist a vulnerable person or domestic animal they believe is in danger due to being left unattended inside.

Car Insurance FAQ

Is my credit score a factor when obtaining car insurance in Florida?

Car insurance companies can use credit scores when determining premiums for Florida drivers, and the difference in rates for someone with a low score and high score can be significant. In fact, your credit score may have a bigger impact on your premium than any other factor.

Does Florida offer a good-driver discount?

Florida may be one of the most expensive states when it comes to auto insurance, but shopping around and qualifying for discounts can save you a lot of money. Each carrier offers different discounts, with savings for good drivers being one of the most common. Just some of the other possible discounts include:

  • Accident-Free
  • Anti-Lock Brake
  • Anti-Theft Device
  • Defensive Driving Course Completion
  • Good Student
  • Home Ownership
  • Multi-Car
  • Multiple Line
  • Passive Restraint
  • Vehicle Safety

Does Florida allow the use of digital insurance cards?

Yes! Florida drivers can provide digital auto insurance cards as proof of coverage. Check with your insurance company to see if they offer this option.

What happens if my coverage lapses?

If you operate—or even own—a vehicle without insurance in Florida, your license and/or registration can be suspended. You may also be required to purchase higher coverage levels or face court judgments.

What are Florida's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage limits under the state's driving under the influence (DUI) laws?

It is illegal for individuals to operate a motor vehicle in Florida with the following BAC percentages:

  • .08%+ at 21 years old or older
  • .04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
  • .02%+ at under 21 years old

DUI is also proven by impairment of normal faculties. For more information about Florida’s DUI laws, refer to Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws on the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.

What are the chemical test refusal penalties in Florida?

If you refuse to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test in Florida, this is admissible as evidence in DUI criminal proceedings. Subsequent refusal is a first-degree misdemeanor.

First refusals result in driver license suspension of 1 year; second or subsequent refusals result in a loss of license for 18 months. Commercial drivers who refuse more than once are disqualified permanently from holding a commercial license, and no hardship reinstatements are allowed.

What are the consequences of being convicted of a DUI?

The consequences of a DUI in Florida depend on the number of convictions, your blood alcohol level, and whether you were transporting a minor at the time of your arrest. At the very least, you will face a fine, community service, and probation. You may also receive jail time at the court’s discretion.
In addition, the long-term damage to your finances could be devastating. You may incur such expenses as higher insurance rates, attorney fees, court costs, vehicle impoundment, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and others.

Does Florida offer driver improvement courses to reduce my insurance premium?

Yes. Florida drivers who receive a moving or non-moving traffic violation that results in points on their driving record may elect to attend a driver improvement course. Successful completion of one of these courses prevents points from being assessed against your license and ensures your insurance company does not increase your premium. For more information, please refer to the driver improvement course page of the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.

Is there anyway I can reduce the cost of my Florida car insurance?

There are many things you can do to lower the cost of your Florida auto insurance. Start by shopping around and comparing rates, and choose higher deductibles for lower premium payments. Keep an eye on your credit score and ask about all available discounts. Finally, avoid lapses in coverage, pay up front instead of choosing monthly payments, and drive safely to keep points off your license.

What is uninsured motorist coverage and is it required in Florida?

If you’re involved in an accident with someone who doesn’t have any or enough auto insurance, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects you. While this insurance is not required in Florida, it’s important to have because the state does not require drivers to carry bodily injury insurance. So, if you’re injured in an accident by an uninsured driver, UM insurance helps you pay for medical treatment.

23%
Uninsured drivers in Florida
12%
Uninsured drivers Nationwide

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