Florida Auto Insurance

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Florida state flagKnown as the “Sunshine State”, Florida has become a popular destination for both tourists and those looking to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Like every other state, if you plan on driving in Florida – you’re going to need insurance coverage. Below we’ll take a brief look at what it takes to insure a car here in Florida.

Florida Car Insurance Laws And Requirements

florida-auto-insurance-requirements

Like many other states, Florida requires insurance coverage to be maintained as long as a vehicle is registered and has license plates. Regardless of whether the vehicle is being actively driven or just stored in a garage, if it has a valid Florida registration and plate, it must be insured. On the plus side, Florida’s mandatory insurance laws are quite affordable and minimum coverage amounts are on the low side when compared to other states.

Personal injury protection insurance – or “PIP” – is Florida’s “no-fault” insurance coverage that covers injuries received in an accident. Anyone registering a vehicle must maintain at least $10,000 in PIP coverage to be considered “insured”. Essentially, the policy covers the driver (and family members without their own PIP) up to the purchased coverage amount in case of accident, regardless of who caused the crash. PIP coverage follows the purchaser any time they step into a vehicle in Florida, whether it’s as a driver or passenger, or even as a pedestrian or cyclist. If you have PIP and you’re in any form of vehicle accident, you will be covered. It’s best to get the highest amount of PIP as you can afford, since this is the insurance that will cover things like medical bills.
Florida map
The other mandatory auto insurance policy for Floridians is property damage liability, or “PDL” insurance. A minimum of $10,000 in PDL coverage is required for anyone with a registered vehicle in the state. PDL insurance basically pays for any damage that you have caused in an accident, whether it’s to another person’s car, or house, or any other property. Again, since the amount of coverage one would use is entirely dependent factors related to the accident itself, it’s best to purchase as much PDL coverage as you can afford. This is especially true for those with teen drivers in the household, as they are statistically more likely to be involved in fender-benders.

The final policy that most drivers in Florida purchase is bodily injury liability, or “BIL” insurance coverage. While not mandatory, it’s an essential policy for anyone getting behind the wheel. This type of coverage pays out for serious injury (or death) as a result of an accident that you are at-fault for. Should you be sued because of the accident, BIL insurance also covers legal representation costs. With many providers, this type of policy will also cover family members and licensed children who are driving the car, but it’s best to check the fine print to see exactly who is covered.

Florida Driving Statistics

When it comes to safe driving, Floridians have quite a bit to be proud of. Crash statistics in all areas decreased in 2009, with a whopping fourteen percent decrease in auto crash fatalities. There were just 2563 auto crash fatalities in 2009, down from 2983 the year prior. Total crashes declined about three percent, down from 243,300 to about 235,800.

The bad news, unfortunately, is that Florida ranks third-highest (by state) in the nation for total vehicle thefts with 63,000 thefts reported in 2008. This is down by more than 40% over the annual auto thefts reported in Florida throughout the 1990s however, so it is on a downward trend. This is an average rate of about 337 vehicle thefts per 100,000 Floridians, with the Miami area leading Florida’s cities at 700 thefts per 100,000 citizens. The state of Florida has made a major push to combat auto theft over the past decade, teaming up with law enforcement officials to try to stamp out auto crime. It’s clear that while progress is being made, there is a long way to go to move Florida out of the top ten nationally.

Auto insurance in Florida is quite affordable, thanks to the state’s low minimum insurance coverage laws and reasonable policies. While most auto insurance agents would still recommend to anyone purchasing insurance that they exceed these minimums, Florida makes maintaining the bare minimum affordable for every driver. Do your research to find out what policies you can afford, purchase the best coverage you can with your budget, and safe travels!

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