Drivers in Florida are required by law to carry a minimum level of insurance in order to register their car or drive it on public roads.
The only two required forms of insurance are personal injury protection (PIP), which pays for your own medical bills after a crash, and property damage liability, which covers damage you cause to other people's property. Unlike almost every other state, Florida doesn't require bodily injury liability insurance, but we still recommend drivers carry it.
Property damage liability (PDL or PD) pays to repair the property of others if you're at fault in an accident. For example, if you lose control of your car and rear-end another driver, property damage liability coverage would pay for repairs to the other vehicle.
You're required to carry at least $10,000 of liability coverage, though we recommend buying more. Adding additional liability coverage is not expensive and can save you from having to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket if you're responsible for a car crash. Note that this coverage does not pay for damage to your own car or personal property.
Personal injury protection (PIP) pays for your medical expenses, regardless of fault. In Florida, PIP only covers 80% of the cost of care. If you're injured in a crash, you'll have to pay for the remaining 20% with either your health insurance or your own money.
You can purchase $10,000 of PIP coverage per accident, but you won't be able to increase your limits. This coverage also includes a $5,000 death benefit and a disability benefit that reimburses the policyholder for 60% of lost income if they're unable to work due to injuries.
Each part of the PIP limit counts toward the combined $10,000 maximum that your insurer will pay out per accident. These benefits extend to people in your household, unless they have their own insurance policy.
If you're not working, such as if you're retired, then excluding PIP's lost-income benefit can help lower your premium. But we don't recommend this for drivers who still depend on their earnings. There's another way to save, though. You can choose a higher PIP deductible, which typically ranges from $250 to $1,000. Keep in mind that a higher deductible adds to your financial burden after an accident.
Cheapest companies in Florida for minimum liability
Optional auto insurance coverages
Even with the state-mandated minimum coverage, you might not be fully protected after a serious accident. A well-rounded policy includes several different coverages, and Florida drivers may enhance their protection by adding:
Bodily injury liability (BIL or BI): If you're at fault in a car accident that injures other people, this coverage pays for the other party's medical expenses. Typically, the other driver's PIP coverage would cover their medical bills, but you may be responsible for any expenses not covered by PIP.
In this case, you'd have to pay out of pocket — or, if you had coverage, your bodily injury liability would reimburse the other insurer. That's why we recommend it. The lowest available limit for BIL coverage in Florida is $10,000 per person or $20,000 per accident. Insurers may offer higher limits or even require it on a minimum-coverage policy.
Additional PIP is supplemental. Basic PIP covers up to 80% of your medical expenses, while additional PIP covers the rest. It also comes with an extra 25% income-loss benefit. However, all of those costs need to fit within the $10,000 limit, and you'll need to decide whether to include your family members in this coverage.
Medical payments covers your own medical expenses following an accident, regardless of fault, and comes with a separate limit. Some people find it redundant if they already have health insurance, but it depends on your policy. Some health insurance companies exclude auto accidents from their coverage.
Uninsured motorist BI (UMBI) covers your bodily injury costs and lost income if you get into an accident with an uninsured driver. Coverage depends on the insurance company, as some won't let you purchase UMBI if you don't have bodily injury liability coverage on your policy. While you may choose from a range of available limits, the limits of your UMBI may never be higher than your BIL limits. We recommend this as well, since Florida has the second-highest share of claims due to uninsured drivers, about 20%, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Minimum requirements for SR-22 and FR-44 policies
If you cause a serious accident or you're caught driving while intoxicated, the state may require you to carry additional coverage types and raise your limits to meet Florida's financial responsibility law.
SR-22: If you cause a crash that injures or kills someone, you will need to ask your insurer to file an SR-22 form on your behalf. This form confirms that your policy meets state requirements. You must also purchase bodily injury liability insurance on top of property damage liability and PIP coverages, with the following limits:
- Bodily injury and property damage: You can choose a $30,000 limit per crash or split the coverages. A split-coverage policy includes $10,000 for bodily injury liability per person, $20,000 for bodily injury liability per accident and $10,000 for property damage.
- Personal injury protection: $10,000 per accident.
FR-44: If you're caught driving under the influence in Florida, the state requires you to increase your coverage limits to 10 times the normal required amount:
- Bodily injury: $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident
- Property damage: $50,000 per accident
- Personal injury protection: $10,000 per accident
Penalties for not carrying insurance in Florida
Driving without insurance or other proof of financial responsibility is a crime in Florida, and there are serious consequences for letting your coverage lapse. You're likely to have your license suspended and face a fine of up to $500, depending on whether you're a repeat offender:
|First offense||$150 reinstatement fee||License and registration suspension up to three years, unless proof of insurance is provided in time|
|Second offense||$250 reinstatement fee if lapse occurs within three years of the first offense||License and registration suspension up to three years, unless proof of insurance is provided in time|
|Subsequent offenses||$500 reinstatement fee if lapse occurs within three years of the first offense||License and registration suspension up to three years, unless proof of insurance is provided in time|
Your right to sue after a car accident
In Florida, you may be able to sue for pain and suffering resulting from an accident, but there are stricter limits than in many other states. You can sue for medical and other economic losses once your own PIP limits are exhausted, but you cannot sue for emotional suffering or other noneconomic losses unless you meet several qualitative thresholds. A court may rule to exempt you from Florida's limited right to sue and award you pain-and-suffering compensation if you meet one of these specific conditions:
- Significant disability, in which you've lost one or several bodily functions.
- Permanent injury, according to a doctor's opinion.
- Significant disfigurement, according to a court's decision.
Alternative proof of financial responsibility
Besides getting an insurance policy, there is one other way to satisfy the minimum requirements: by insuring yourself. Drivers who demonstrate sufficient financial ability to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may be approved for a certificate of self-insurance. If you become a self-insurer, you will be liable for the same amount of coverage as would an insurance company under the split limits of 10/20/10 for BIL and PDL coverage, as well as $10,000 in PIP coverage.
Necessary documents to apply for self-insurance include all of the following:
- A notarized financial statement that shows assets worth at least $40,000 (combined limits of the minimum BI, PD and PIP), also known as the statement of net worth. You may select the assets you choose to list on the balance sheet.
- The license and Social Security numbers of all drivers who will hold the certificate of self-insurance.
- A list of all of the vehicles covered under the certificate, including the make, model and year; VIN and license plate (tag) number of each.