There are many factors that could lead one to seek out a high risk auto insurance plan. High risk drivers may be rejected for auto insurance in the voluntary market, leading them to seek alternative plans. Whether you’re a young, new driver struggling to find coverage, or an older driver with a history of violations or car accidents in Florida, a high risk plan through the Florida Automobile Joint Underwriting Association can be the last option for you.
Florida law mandates that all residents have car insurance. Despite this law, 23.8% of Florida drivers were uninsured in 2012. The Florida Automobile Underwriting Association was created to provide auto insurance to those drivers who have been otherwise unable to purchase insurance at a private company. Florida has set these laws in place to protect Florida drivers from potential losses after accidents, so it is in one’s best interest to find an auto insurance company that will provide coverage.
What is the Florida Automobile Joint Underwriting Association (FAJUA)?
In 1973, the Florida Insurance Commissioner created the Florida Automobile Joint Underwriting Association. FAJUA was specifically created to provide coverage to high risk drivers. Commonly referred to as “The High Risk Market” or “Market of Last Resort”, FAJUA is a last ditch effort for high risk drivers who cannot find insurance elsewhere.
FAJUA functions like any other private or voluntary company such as GEICO or Allstate, and they offer similar coverage. All insurers who are authorized to write automobile liability insurance or automobile physical damage insurance in Florida are required to be members of the Association. Each member contributes to the pool of funds which FAJUA policyholders receive their claims payments from. There are hundreds of providers of FAJUA located all across Florida. Other states such as New York and California have chosen to cater to high risk drivers by placing them in a residual pool and randomly distributing the drivers directly to other insurance companies.
Being a high risk driver comes at a high cost, and some of FAJUA’s rates are up to 200% more than what customers would pay for similar plans at other companies. It is meant to be an intermediate source of insurance while the motorist builds a better driving history before accessing cheaper auto insurance in Florida's regular market.
Eligibility for FAJUA
FAJUA is available for all residents of Florida who have private passenger vehicles registered in the state. You do not need to provide any proof of inability to find coverage at voluntary insurance companies in order to be eligible for coverage by FAJUA. Coverage is also available to nonresidents in the following instances:
- If you are a nonresident of Florida but do own a private passenger vehicle registered in Florida.
- If you are a nonresident who is a member of the United States military forces with an auto registered in another state and is stationed in Florida.
- If you are a nonresident full time college or university student attending school in Florida with an auto registered in another state.
If you are an applicant who was previously insured by FAJUA, provided that there was no lapse in coverage or insufficient payment of premiums, you will be entitled to renewal, premium rates including any applicable discounts.
Insurance Policies at FAJUA
FAJUA’s basic policy coverage is fairly similar to the coverage offered by larger private insurance companies. In accordance with Florida’s Motor Vehicle No Fault Law, every policy needs to include at least personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of $10,000 and property damage liability (PDL) of $10,000. Coverage is also available in combined single limits of liability up to $300,000, which means that for each accident, up to $300,000 would be available for both personal injuries and property damage.
Additional Coverage When Required
Although Florida’s No Fault Law does not require bodily injury liability coverage for general motorists, the Florida Financial Responsibility Law does require it after you have been involved in certain accidents. FAJUA does offer bodily injury protection. Bodily injury liability coverage covers the injuries of other drivers in the case of an accident you are liable for. The minimum coverage you can find with FAJUA is $10,000/$20,000, and the maximum coverage is $100,000/300,000, which means that for each accident FAJUA will pay up to $100,000 to cover the injuries of each person in the accident, a maximum of $300,000 for everyone injured in the accident. As with the combined single limits of liability for PIP and PDL, the combined single limits of liability for BIL and PDL cannot exceed $300,000.
Medical Payments Coverage
FAJUA offers medical expense coverage for drivers with personal injury protection, bodily injury liability coverage, and property damage liability or personal injury protection and combined single limits of liability. If you’ve already committed to paying a deductible for your personal injury protection, medical payments coverage will not be offered by FAJUA. For all vehicles on the same policy, medical payments coverage is offered at limits of $500, $1,000, and $2,000.
Comprehensive and Collision Coverage
FAJUA offers comprehensive and collision coverage if you’re interested in adding additional coverage to your policy. Comprehensive and collision coverage must be written together. Policies for coverage are available at deductibles of $250, $500, or $1,000.
Premium Payment Plans
There are two options for paying your premium when FAJUA is your insurer. If your full annual premium is less than $1,300, you must pay your full annual premium upon FAJUA’s acceptance of your application. If your annual premium is at least $1,300, you are eligible for their Installment Payment Plan. Drivers enrolled in the installment plan must put down a deposit of at least 25% of their total annual premium and will have the remaining balance of their premium billed to them in six monthly statements. However, if a portion of your annual premium is being financed by a premium finance company, you're ineligible for the installment payment plan. As stated earlier, in most cases FAJUA’s policies are very similar or identical to those policies of other private insurance companies, but the main point of departure is the fact that if a FAJUA customer fails to pay their premium on time, their policy will be cancelled. For a consumer who is not eligible for the installment payment plan and is not great about paying bills on time, it might be best to consider alternative options with more flexibility or leeway in the case of premium payments.
How to Get Insurance with FAJUA
Applying for insurance with FAJUA is a fairly uncomplicated process. FAJUA as an organization does not determine quoting rates and premiums, but rather servicing carriers or agents are responsible for determining quotes on an individual basis. Because all insurers who are authorized to write auto insurance in Florida are required to be members of FAJUA, it’s easy to meet with an agent near your home.
To find an agent near you, consult FAJUA’s directory on their website: http://www.fajua.org/directory.
To get in touch directly with a FAJUA representative, call (850) 681-2003.
Alternate Insurance Plans
FAJUA is very costly. Even if you have not been able to find coverage from the general insurance companies, there may be other insurance companies that can insure you at a better price than FAJUA. The General and Titan are both auto insurance companies that offer cheap policies to high risk drivers and provide coverage in Florida. Additionally, you may be eligible for coverage at other national companies. GEICO, Allstate, Nationwide, Metlife, Progressive, and State Farm all have high risk insurance policies.
For more information on other high risk auto insurance: http://www.valuepenguin.com/high-risk-auto-insurance