What is Florida No Fault Car Insurance?
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What is Florida no fault car insurance? It’s a complex set of protections that keeps Florida drivers safe from financial disaster in an auto accident. This is a policy that’s relatively unique compared to the rest of the US. Only eleven other states, plus Puerto Rico, have similar insurance laws.
Everywhere they exist, the purpose of no fault laws is to make sure that every single driver is insured and protected from potentially huge legal bills and medical costs following a motor vehicle collision. They also drive up expenses for auto insurance in every state that has them.
This guide will explain all there is to know about Florida no fault insurance coverage.
Florida No Fault Insurance Explained
Like most states in the country, Florida requires all owners and operators of motor vehicles to insure themselves for financial protection in the event of an accident. However, unlike most other states, Florida’s insurance laws specify a high threshold for protection required: “no fault.”
But what does that mean in an automobile accident?
The basic requirements of the no fault insurance Florida requires are:
Personal injury protection (PIP) – PIP guarantees payment of medical expenses regardless of who is at fault for the auto accident, or if fault cannot be determined.
Property damage liability (PDL) – PDL guarantees payment for damage to another party’s property in the event that the insured is found to be at fault.
Taken together, these policies protect Floridians from devastating financial outcomes by ensuring medical bills from an automobile accident will be paid. They also help safeguard against financial harm from property damages in the event that a crash victim is truly not at fault. These coverages are also required to be maintained throughout the lifespan of a vehicle’s registration.
Wondering how long do you have to register a car in Florida? A more pressing question is how much of a window you have before insuring. The answer: there’s no window at all.
You need to register and insure your car immediately, according to Florida Law.
Minimum Coverages Required
To get registered in Florida, a car must be no fault insured, and the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) requires specific minimum no fault requirements.
The specific amounts required for all cars are:
At least $10,000 dollars of PIP coverage
At least $10,000 dollars of PDL coverage
For vehicles registered as taxis, the minimums also include:
Bodily injury liability (BIL) of:
At least $125,000 dollars per person
At least $250,000 dollars per occurrence
An additional $40,000 dollars minimum in PDL ($50,000 dollar total PDL)
Importantly, these minimums are required throughout the entire duration of ownership of the vehicle, irrespective of desire or ability to drive the vehicle on the street. Even if your car is inoperable, it needs to be insured to these minimums up until after you relinquish your tag.
These minimums have a major impact on the cost of automobile insurance in Florida.
Impacts on Auto Insurance Cost
Because of these no fault laws and the minimum car insurance Florida requires, car insurance is relatively expensive compared to other states across the US. Other states have significantly lower requirements, and in some cases, drivers aren’t required to carry insurance at all.
According to a Business Insider study of insurance rates across the US, here’s how Florida’s annual insurance rates stack up against the rest of the country:
US average price: $1,566 dollars
Florida’s average price: $2,007 dollars
Florida’s average range: $1,257 - $3,370 dollars
Florida’s auto insurance isn’t the most expensive in the US. Michigan’s annual average of $3,343 dollars is almost as high as the top of Florida’s range, and Michiganders can pay up to a whopping $8,723 dollars per year. But no fault still makes Florida’s auto insurance costs the fifth-highest in the country, just about $500 dollars more expensive than the overall US average.
Despite these prices, it’s imperative to insure your vehicle in Florida. Failure to do so violates the law and threatens your ability to drive.
Florida No Fault Law Penalties
Every motorist in Florida is required to prove PIP and PDL coverage, up to the minimums detailed above, before registering a vehicle to drive in the state. In theory, this means that every person driving a car is insured. But in practice, it doesn’t always work out like that.
There are certain ways for non-insured drivers to slip through the cracks. So, to ensure that the no fault policy is followed, there are penalties in place for any driver or motorist who is lacking proper coverage. The biggest of these penalties?
Financial Responsibility Suspensions
Failure to comply with the Florida no fault insurance law also entails breaching the broader Financial Responsibility (FR) laws. And FR noncompliance results in immediate suspension of the driver’s license, disallowing all operation of any vehicle.
There are nine types of FR suspensions that result from different circumstances, and six of them directly involve no fault insurance:
FR 100: Accident with injuries – If a driver is involved in a crash involving bodily injury and can’t provide proof of no fault insurance, the driver’s license will be suspended.
FR 200: Court order suspension – If a driver receives an official citation involving any miscellaneous failure to prove no fault insurance, the driver’s license will be suspended.
FR 300: Judgement liability – If an individual is processed as a judgement debtor in a case involving PIP coverage, their license will be suspended.
FR 700: Cancelled policy – If an auto insurance policy is cancelled, or if renewal lapses, the driver’s license will be suspended.
FR 800: Car registration – If insurance coverage is not properly logged and cannot be verified relative to the car’s registration, the driver’s license will be suspended.
FR 900: Property damage – If a crash occurs and entails property damage, but the at-fault driver cannot prove PIP and PDL, the driver’s license will be suspended.
Aside from these compliance issues, suspensions can also result from behaviors such as DUI or felony charges (FR 400), accumulation of points (FR 500), or habitual traffic violations (FR 600).
If a driver incurs any of the suspension levels detailed above, he or she must go through a reinstatement process to be able to drive again.
Post Suspension Reinstatement
An FR suspension is not the same thing as having a license permanently revoked. But it is an indefinite removal that only ends if the driver takes action to have the suspension lifted.
Getting a license reinstated involves paying a mandatory fee of up to $500, as well as satisfying one or more of the following requirements:
The insurance company must send a letter on official letterhead confirming that the owner or operator did, in fact, have all required coverage at the time of the suspension.
The insured or insurer must supply an official certificate of liability insurance confirming the required coverage is now held by the policyholder.
The suspended party must confirm they did not own the vehicle in question, via official certified non-owner affidavit.
The suspended party must surrender the registration and motor vehicle tag.
All documents required may be submitted in person at a local tax collector or driver license office. They may also be submitted online, by mail, or over the phone.
Once all paperwork is submitted, it enters the Driver’s License Maintenance (DLM) system, which connects the Florida Driver License Information System (FDLIS) and Florida Real-time Vehicle Information System (FRVIS) systems. Between these three systems, various state agents process the application and determine whether the suspension is lifted.
The best way to avoid this whole hassle? Find a great deal and get covered.
Savings on Florida Car Insurance
Wondering how to get a deal and find the cheapest car insurance in Florida? It’s always wise to shop around and compare providers. But differences can be minimal, since every insurance provider in the Sunshine State is a Florida no fault car insurance company.
There are still some ways to save on car insurance.
Firstly, understanding what variables impact car insurance cost enables you to control as many as you can. For instance, you can exert some control over:
The kind of car you drive
Your driving history
Your credit score
And secondly, you could opt for the absolute bare minimum coverage required, rather than more robust protection. According to one study[^1], drivers opting for minimum coverage rather than full insurance packages can save about $1,075 dollars on average.
Whatever methods you use to save, the alternative to being insured is almost certainly more expensive. While no fault insurance is pricey, it’s ultimately a necessity.
No Fault, No Problem: Save with Online Auto Insurance
Here at Online Auto Insurance, our mission is helping you save as much money as you can on your car insurance. Whether you’re shopping for a plan in Florida or any other state, our comparative tools and guides will help you get the best deal possible.
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Business Insider. The Average Cost of Car Insurance in the US. https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/average-cost-of-car-insurance
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Financial Responsibility Reinstatement. https://www.flhsmv.gov/pdf/igoffice/20151609.pdf
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Florida Insurance Requirements. https://www.flhsmv.gov/insurance/
ValuePenguin. Who Has the Best Car Insurance Quotes in Florida? (2020). https://www.valuepenguin.com/cheap-car-insurance-florida-study
[^1]: ValuePenguin. Who Has the Best Car Insurance Quotes in Florida? (2020). https://www.valuepenguin.com/cheap-car-insurance-florida-study