Car insurance is required in Florida, and driving a car on Florida roads without the minimum required amount can result in hefty fines and loss of driving privileges.
Here's what you can expect a table summarizing the fines and penalties for first and subsequent offenses:
|First offense||$150 reinstatement fee||License and registration suspension up to 3 years, unless proof of insurance is provided in time|
|Second offense||$250 reinstatement fee if lapse occurs within 3 years of the first offense||License and registration suspension up to 3 years, unless proof of insurance is provided in time|
|Subsequent offenses||$500 reinstatement fee if lapse occurs within 3 years of the first offense||License and registration suspension up to 3 years, unless proof of insurance is provided in time|
Penalties for driving without insurance
It's a good idea to keep your car insurance policy up to date. If it lapses, then your insurer will notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The agency will ask you to provide proof that you bought a new policy before the old policy expired — with a deadline attached to the notice. You'll also need your proof of insurance when law enforcement officials ask for it during traffic stops and at the scene of an accident.
Failing to meet Florida's car insurance requirements could result in a fine plus a suspended driver's license, license plates and registration for up to three years.
Penalties for first offense
After your first offense, the state can suspend your license until you provide proof of auto insurance and pay a fee of $150. Then you may apply to reinstate your driver's license, license plates and registration. But there are no reinstatement fees or penalties if you prove your new policy began before the suspension date.
The following insurers offer policies to drivers in Florida who have had a lapse in coverage, and we recommend comparing rates from multiple companies to find affordable coverage as a higher-risk driver.
Penalties for second and subsequent offenses
The fees to reinstate your license and vehicle registration after the second and subsequent offenses are more expensive in the state of Florida. If you let your insurance lapse for a second time within three years of the first lapse, the reinstatement fee increases to $250 for the second offense. For a third and following offenses within three years of the first one, the reinstatement fee goes up to $500.
Penalties for driving without insurance in an accident
Accidents in the state of Florida need to be reported immediately to law enforcement if they involve an injury or death, a hit-and-run, intoxicated driver or property damage that appears to be more than $500. What if you don't have car insurance in Florida and get into an accident? The consequences can be significant. If you're at fault and the other driver is hurt or their car is damaged, you can be held personally liable for the entire cost. On top of that, you could lose your driving privileges until the entire cost of the damage has been paid.
Drivers who are uninsured and at fault in a bad accident may also need an SR-22 certificate. Your insurer files this document on your behalf and may charge higher rates afterward. Under the Florida Financial Responsibility Law, you also must purchase bodily injury liability coverage on top of the coverage that's already required. This is a costly penalty in Florida, where the higher limits are nearly 10 times the statutory minimum bodily injury limits. Plus, you may find it difficult to find an insurer willing to take on the risk of a driver who has already been involved in a serious accident.
Florida car insurance requirements
Under Florida law, you're required to maintain at least the following amount of coverage:
- $10,000 for property damage liability (PDL)
- $10,000 for personal injury protection (PIP)
You'll need this coverage to get your registration and license plates, and you must carry it throughout the registration period.
If you intend to drop your insurance for any reason, you'll need to surrender your plates before the insurance expires. Otherwise, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) can suspend your driver's license, your registration and your vehicle tags for up to three years or until you take out a policy, whichever is shorter. You can also be fined between $150 and $500 for driving uninsured.
Florida is unusual among states in the U.S. in that it does not require bodily injury coverage for private vehicles, which pays for the costs associated with others' injuries (or death) if you are responsible in an accident. However, we still strongly recommend that Florida drivers purchase this coverage, as bodily injury liability is often the most costly aspect of a car insurance claim, especially in severe crashes.