Do You Have to Have Insurance to Register a Car in Florida?
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The short answer to this question is accompanied by a longer list of exceptions, added requirements, and a sprinkle of tips and tricks.
So let’s start with the short answer: yes.
In Florida, a driver must carry car insurance to register their car. As a new Florida resident, you may follow up with “but what do you need to register a motor vehicle in Florida?” and “what the heck is a lovebug?”
While the latter will not be covered in this article, it’s pretty important for all Floridians to look up. For the answer to the former question and more, let’s dive in.
What Type of Insurance Do You Need?
Every state has some sort of minimum auto insurance requirement for vehicle registration. And believe it or not, that includes Florida, the state that no longer requires you to parallel park for your driving test, but still lets you kayak down a spring filled with gators.
The requirements for minimum car insurance according to Florida Law are as follows:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – You are required to have a minimum PIP policy of $10,000 in the state of Florida. PIP covers medical expenses, child care, and even lost wages resulting from injuries incurred, even if you were at-fault for the accident. However, this minimum is truly a minimum. As a vehicle owner, consider increasing your coverage to make sure you’re fully protected in the case of a crash.
Property Damage Liability (PDL) – The minimum PDL coverage you need for car registration purposes is also $10,000. This type of insurance policy will help pay for damages incurred to the property of other parties involved. These damages can also stack up quickly, swiftly surpassing this minimum coverage, so consider upping your policy to stay safe.
But I’m a Great Driver—Do I Need Insurance to Register a Car in Florida?
Unfortunately, yes, even great drivers such as yourself do need insurance to register your car in Florida.
It’s important to remember that when driving, you can control your driving habits. But you can’t control the driving habits of another vehicle owner on the road. That’s where having insurance can protect you. An unexpected fender bender might take your car off the road, even if you were just sitting at a red light and weren’t at fault—insurance can ensure that you’re able to continue your life without a major hassle.
Even the safest drivers in the world will want to be equipped with enough insurance coverage to help with repairs, medical expenses, and more should you get into an accident. And even if the accident is your fault, worry not: Florida is a no-fault state.
What is a no-fault policy?
The Florida No-Fault Law
The Florida no fault law simply means that in the event of an accident, both parties make claims with their insurance provider, no matter who was at fault. This is both good and bad—the good news is that if you’re the one who messed up, you can still use your insurance to cover your own metaphorical (and literal) bumper. The bad news is that if it wasn’t your fault, you still need to pay up for at least part of the damages incurred, according to Florida Law.
In the Case of an Accident...
In the event of an accident, you’ll still want to take note of a few details at the scene, even if it’s not that serious. You may want to file a lawsuit, or the other party may want to file one against you. Either way, it pays to be prepared, so be sure to jot down and snap pictures of the following:
Your and your passengers’ injuries
Damages to your motor vehicle and surrounding property
Larger pictures of the scene of the accident
The insurance information, license plate, and driver’s license of each party involved
The name of the other driver(s)
Police reports and other official documentation
Other Recommended Insurance Policies for Florida Drivers
That being said, you may still encounter issues where the damages you caused to the other party surpass those covered by your policy, or maybe the other party doesn’t have insurance at all. In those cases, you’ll have needed to purchase some more policies to cover all the bases.
Check out some of these insurance policies to make sure you’re covered, no matter the situation:
Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) – While not required, this one’s a biggie. BIL insurance covers medical expenses and damages resulting from injuries (or death) to the other party involved in the accident. While your PDL or PIP may cover some of it, BIL will help you should the other party file a lawsuit.
Collision – If you are responsible for an accident, collision insurance will cover damages to your personal property beyond what is covered by PDL. Consider this one if you think you’ll be overly distracted by all the lovebugs darting into your windshield in the summer (the horror, the horror!).
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury – While you, as a law-abiding Florida resident, will be insured, you may get into an accident with someone who is uninsured (or underinsured). In this case, an uninsured motorist bodily injury policy will help cover costs that the other party would have, had they followed the rules.
Comprehensive – Comprehensive insurance is the SPF of car insurance—it covers everything. Okay, maybe not everything, but it’s still a great policy to have. If you’re ever in the unfortunate position of having your car stolen, comprehensive coverage has got your back. If your car is affected by a classic Floridian hurricane, you’re covered! Just like good ol’ sunscreen, comprehensive auto insurance prevents you from getting burned as the registered owner.
How Long Do You Have to Register a Car in Florida?
Once you step across state lines, you’ll have a mere thirty days to register your car with the Florida DMV (and therefore, you’ll have to have purchased the minimum insurance policies by then, too). Not only do you need to complete your car registration within thirty days of starting your Florida residency, but you’ll also need to do so if you’re spending more than 90 days total in the state per year—total days, not just consecutive.
How Expensive is Insurance?
Due to the no-fault policies in place, the average Florida insurance policy is higher than the national average. And just like the summer heat, Floridians can’t seem to escape it. To find the cheapest car insurance in Florida, you’ll have to consider your personal situation, as well as the policies your provider offers.
Whether you’re looking into Geico vs AAA or any other major provider, there are a few factors across-the-board that will affect your premiums. These are:
Make and model of car
Your geographic location
Getting Cheaper Insurance
Even if the odds are currently stacked against you—maybe you have a DUI on your record, or your credit score is teetering on the low side—all is not lost. By improving your credit, practicing safe driving, and steering clear of trouble, you can actually lower your insurance premiums, get discounts or incentives from your provider, or switch to a cheaper policy altogether!
Insurance premiums also take into consideration the make, model, and age of your car. If you want to lower your insurance ASAP, consider investing in a newer vehicle that is more reliable. Some providers may even charge more for classic cars, so take that into consideration before splurging on a vintage fixer-upper. It may be adorable, but very few vintage cars are as resilient as Herbie from The Love Bug (the only lovebug we like).
Stay Protected in the Peninsula With Online Auto Insurance
For protection and peace-of-mind in the most beautiful peninsula on this planet, you’ll want to compare insurance quotes across every provider in the book. Don’t cheat yourself out of your ideal policy, and make sure you give yourself the right amount of coverage (both in insurance and at the beach—that Florida sun gets toasty!).
Online Auto Insurance makes the research and selection process easy. What’s more? Car insurance quotes are free.
It's time to seal the deal with your Florida registration.Find the right Florida car insurance policy for you today at Online Auto Insurance!
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Florida Insurance Requirements. https://www.flhsmv.gov/insurance/
Spatz Law Firm. 10 Weird Laws in Florida You Probably Didn’t Know About. https://www.spatzlawfirm.com/blog/2019/09/10-weird-laws-in-florida-you-probably-dont-know-about/
Business Insider. The average cost of car insurance in the US. https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/average-cost-of-car-insurance