Car Insurance Premium Comparison of Florida Counties
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Most and Least Expensive Counties for Florida Auto Insurance
There's been a lot of talk recently about the prohibitively high cost of auto insurance in Florida. At the national level, Florida is the third most expensive state for car insurance, after Louisiana and Michigan. You can chalk a lot of it to claims from storm damage and insurance laws that often involve lawyers hashing it out in court, all at the expense of the insurance providers.
But there’s more to it than that. From the perspective of an insurance agency, it’s a risky place to provide coverage. There are a lot of uninsured drivers—more than any other state. It’s estimated that as many as a quarter of drivers on the road are uninsured. On top of that, universities and tourism from places like Disney World add a lot of risky drivers to the mix.
As a policyholder, you’ll want affordable car insurance that provides no-fault insurance. Florida’s car insurance laws put the burden of medical bills from an accident on the driver, and the injury protection coverage will pay out up to the amount on your policy. Because of this law, your aren’t required to have bodily injury liability coverage or underinsured motorist policies in Florida, but you are required to have personal injury protection, and PIP policies can be expensive. You’ll want to be covered in case of an accident, but it’s going to take some shopping around.
Choosing a policy can be confusing, especially when the requirements can be so different state to state. There are a lot of factors that can affect the price of your policy. Bodily Injury policies and uninsured motorist coverage come standard, but they can be rejected if you choose to waive them in exchange for a lower price. Location is a major factor, and the prices in Florida vary quite a bit, as you will see in this study. So where can you find the cheapest car insurance in Florida? Where will it be more expensive? Let’s dive in.
- The study looked at 1,675 quotes provided by state regulators for each of Florida's 67 counties
- Miami-Dade families had the highest average quote: $10,452
- Alachua families had the lowest average quote: $4,734
- The average quote for a hypothetical family of four with two cars in Florida was $5,665
- On average, the gap between the lowest and highest quote among 25 insurers was $9,208
- The higher costs in southern Florida can be attributed partially to higher population densities and more prevalent fraud
According to an analysis of data provided by the state Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR), a Florida family of four searching for auto insurance would on average be quoted the highest prices in Miami-Dade County and would be quoted the lowest prices in Alachua County.
FLOIR data representing quotes from 25 insurers for each county show that the average quote for a hypothetical family of four would be $10,452 in Miami-Dade County and $4,734 in Alachua County.
The average for all 67 counties was $5,665. This is only $931 more than the lowest price, nearly half the cost of the highest rate. The costs of insurance in the cities are a major outlier here, so you should expect a big difference if you’re moving to a denser city.
The government-provided numbers show the sometimes drastic effects location can have on the amount that the average Floridian ends up getting quoted for car insurance premiums.
The data also show how big of a role a family's choice of insurer can play in how much they end up paying for coverage. All counties saw a pretty huge disparity between the lowest and highest annual rate. The average gap between the lowest quote and the highest quote for a given county was a whopping $9,208, underscoring the need for families to compare companies when buying coverage.
Quote statistics by county: Most expensive to least expensive
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For the analysis, we looked at 1,675 quotes made available on FLOIR's CHOICES rate comparison system. The family used in the comparison included two married 50-year-olds, their 20-year-old son, and their 18-year-old daughter. The family cars were a Toyota Camry and a Toyota Corolla. (For more details, see the methodology note at the bottom of the page.)
As the map below shows, the priciest areas for coverage were in the southeast and central-west Florida. In most of the other regions, the average county cost was either below the statewide average or less than 5 percent above the statewide average.
Average Premium Map: Countywide vs. Statewide
County's average quote compared with statewide average
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Click on a county to see its average premium size and relation to the statewide average
Click here to see a larger view of the average quote map in a new window
Crashes + Crime + Abuse = Higher Prices
It's to be expected that Miami-Dade and other south Florida cities would have the highest average rate for a policy; an urban area will have a higher population density—which leads to more traffic congestion and accidents—and relatively high crime rates. Distracted driving is also playing an increased roll here, where more students and inexperienced drivers reside. These are also the areas with the most uninsured drivers(probably because they can’t afford it). Unfortunately, this means better coverage is paramount in these areas, unless you can easily afford a sudden expense.
"South and central Florida have more people on the roads, with several major metro areas interconnected on highways that are often jammed with traffic," explains Lynne McChristian, the Florida representative for the Insurance Information Institute. "That often means there are more car crashes, along with more thefts and/or vandalism in crowded neighborhoods." The extra risk is a financial liability that will increase the price of your insurance policy.
Another factor costing insurers in Florida millions of dollars is an abuse of the no-fault system, which happens most frequently in bigger cities.
"Bank robber Willie Sutton said he robbed banks 'because that's where the money is.' Fraudsters go to the big cities because that's where the people are," McChristian says. "There has historically been more fraud and abuse of the no-fault auto insurance system in the bigger cities-because more people mean more opportunity for fraudsters to take advantage of the system."
What kind of abuse is taking place in Florida? According to McChristian, there is plenty of data showing high incidences of staged accidents, and the people involved in those staged accidents then run up high medical bills at "unscrupulous medical clinics" that their insurers end up having to pay for.
It's perfectly legal for Florida insurers to charge policyholders different rates based on where they live. The practice is called "territorial rating," and the only restriction Florida insurers face is that they can't use a single ZIP code as a rating territory, according to a review of state laws by the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research.
What else affects the annual cost of car insurance?
Location is only one of the factors your insurance provider uses to determine your annual rate, so moving isn’t the only way to find affordable premiums. There are many personal factors that come into play, like your age, sex, marital status, and driving history. They will also take the kind of vehicle your drive into consideration, as well as whether or not you use it for work.
It should go without saying, but the amount of coverage you receive also affects the price of your premium. An insurance policy with minimum coverage is going to cost less than one with comprehensive and collision, no matter who you are or where you live. When you're finding the best insurance for you, you’ll want to take in the kind of coverage your getting. A few extra dollars could make a big difference if you ever need to make a claim.
Your rate isn’t static, either. If you get a speeding ticket on your driving record, your rate will go up. If you take a defensive driving course, your rate will usually go down. If you’re in a collision and you need to make a claim, you can expect a hike in your rates, unless you’ve chosen a company that offers accident forgiveness.
Overtime, insurance companies usually offer discounts for re-enrollment, and the longer you go without an accident, the less you will pay for coverage. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t save money by switching providers. It can be a good idea to take advantage of companies offering incentives for switching over, as long as you make sure you’re not trading in for a higher deductible or less coverage.
What can you do to save money?
If you want more than liability insurance, you’re going to have to pay extra. But it’s important you understand what your getting before you choose a policy. Saving money might mean spending more on a policy that can help you with roadside assistance and repairs from storm damage. Towing is expensive, and not everyone will have the financial stability to pay out of pocket for major repairs that would be covered under a more comprehensive policy.
But there are plenty of discounts available for the savvy shopper. Having good credit will help, as well as bundling your homeowners insurance with your policy. Paying your premium up front will avoid the fees and interest associated with monthly payments. Of course this isn’t realistic for everyone, especially residents of the urban areas with higher rates.
Insurance agents will let you know what other discounts are available— all you have to do is ask. A good student discount or veteran discount can help out a lot. If you’ve got a brand new car with top of the line safety features, you can expect to pay less. Be thorough and make sure you’ve covered everything before you sign up.
The more companies you compare, the easier it will be to find a company that works for you. Some of them cater towards high risk drivers, and others offer the best rate for people with a clean driving record. That’s why it’s important to start comparing quotes right away, before you waste time talking to company that’s not right for you.
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Note on methodology: (Return to top)
All rates used in this study were found through the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation's CHOICES rate comparison system in late August.
The family profile used for the comparison includes a 50-year-old male married to a 50-year-old female with a 20-year-old son and an 18-year-old daughter.
None of the family members had any crashes or violations in the past three years.
They are switching insurers, so it would be a new policy, not a renewing policy, but they have been insured at least for the past three years.
The cars used for the comparison were a 2012 Toyota Camry driven 12,000 miles per year and a 2007 Toyota Corolla driven 8,000 miles per year.
The policy is for one year and includes the following coverages:
- Liability coverage with limits of 25/50/50
- PIP with a $10,000 limit and no deductible
- Medical payments coverage with a $5,000 limit
- Uninsured motorist coverage with limits of 25/50
- Comprehensive coverage with a $250 deductible
- Collision coverage with a $500 deductible
Twenty-five insurers provided sample premiums for each county. Major insurers such as Allstate, GEICO, and Progressive were included.