When driving a State of Florida registered vehicle, insurance is required.
Florida minimum car insurance requirements are:
- Auto Insurance policy with limits of at least 10/20/10 – meaning:
- Liability coverage
- $10,000 of bodily injury or death to another person in any one accident
- $20,000 of bodily injuries or death of two or more people in a single accident
- $10,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in a single accident
- Also, under Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law, drivers must carry:
Alternative Options to Insurance:
Self-insurance certificates are available in Florida if one of the three following conditions are met under Florida Statutes, Title XXIII 324:171:
- You are a private person with private passenger vehicles who has a minimum unencumbered net worth of $40,000.
- You are a person, firm, or other organization that has a minimum unencumbered net worth of $40,000 for the first vehicle and $20,000 for each additional vehicle; or you have a net worth deemed sufficient for you to be financially responsible for any potential losses
- You are the owner of a commercial vehicle, as defined here.
- You must qualify by application through the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:
- Neil Kirkman Bldg.
- 2900 Apalachee Parkway
- Tallahassee, FL
In Florida, you have the option to use a surety bond or cash deposit instead of insurance if the following requirements are met under Florida Statutes, Title XXIII 324:161:
- Cash or securities deposit of at least $30,000
- The cash deposit must be made with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
Required Proof of Insurance in Florida
Copy of the insurance policy or an insurance card provided by insurance company including all of the following:
- Name of insurance company
- Insurance policy number
- Effective date/expiration date of policy
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
- Name of insured driver
Self-insurance certificates are issued by the state and must include the following:
- Certificate number issued by Department of Licensing
- Effective date of certificate
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
- Name of driver covered by certificate
- Certificate of Deposit
- Certificate number issued by State Treasurer
- Name of driver covered by certificate of deposit
- Liability Bond
- Name of company issuing bond
- Bond number
- Name of driver covered by bond
Office of the Insurance Commissioner – Kevin M. McCarty
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Obtaining a Driver’s License
In Florida, teens have a graduated process by which they earn their driver’s license, beginning with the learner’s license, moving on to the intermediate license, and then progressing to the regular driver’s license. Here are the requirements to obtain your learner’s license for residents under the age of 18:
- Be at least 15 years old
- Complete a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education Course.
- Submit Parental Consent Form, notarized or signed while a driver’s license examiner is present.
- Provide documents that show your identity, Social Security number, and proof of residential address
- Take written test consisting of multiple choice questions about road rules and road signs
- Take vision and hearing tests
Here are the requirements to obtain an intermediate license (for those between 16 and 17):
- Be at least 16 years old
- Hold a learner’s license for at least one year and present this license when applying for intermediate license
- No traffic violation convictions
- Present certification by your parent or guardian that you’ve logged 50 hours of driving experience, 10 of those hours being at night.
- Driving test
Here are the requirements to obtain your first license for residents over the age of 18:
- Complete a driver license application and pay $48 fee
- Prove completion of Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education Course
- Pass vision/hearing tests
- Pass written/driving tests
The following documents are required for application:
- Two forms of ID
- Proof of date of birth
- Proof of residential address
- Proof of Social Security number
- (for non-U.S. citizens) Proof that you are in the country legally
Completing Driver Education
Required driver’s education in Florida is Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE). The TLSAE course must be completed if you have never before held a regular driver’s license in any state, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Usually, the driver’s education course offered through your county school board serves as a substitute TLSAE, the department notes.
The Florida highway department provides a list of state-approved traffic schools and other providers of driver’s education here. All providers listed by the department offer state-approved curriculum. Many of these courses are offered entirely online, making it very convenient for the learner. When you have completed your driver’s education course through an approved driving school, the completion is automatically sent to a database; therefore, you do not need to present a paper certification at your local DMV office when you apply for your license.
It is recommended that you research any driver-training program that you enroll in to make sure that they are state-approved and that they meet your scheduling needs. You want to make sure they meet the following standards:
- Instructors are licensed and have certificates from the State of Florida
- They meet the state curriculum requirements
- Check if they have received any disciplinary action for violations
- Make sure there are enough instructors to meet student needs
Knowing the Rules of the Road
Florida provides their rules of the road online in Title XXIII, Chapter 316 of the 2010 Florida Statutes. Carefully obey these rules to qualify for the lowest possible car insurance rates.
- Aggressive, careless driving: 316:1923
- Careless driving: 316:1925
- Child restraint requirements: 316:613
- Driving under the influence: 316:193
- Flashing symbols: 316:076
- Fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer: 316:1935
- Following too closely: 316:0895
- HOV lanes: 316:0741
- No-passing zones: 316:0875
- Open containers of alcohol prohibited: 316:1936
- Payment of toll on toll facilities required: 316:1001
- Racing on highways: 316:191
- Reckless driving: 316.192
- School speed zones: 316:1895
- Seatbelts: 316:614
- Traffic to stop for school bus: 316:172
- Unlawful speed: 316:183
- Vehicle entering stop or yield intersection: 316:123
- Vehicle turning left: 316:122
- When signal required: 316:155
Residents of Florida are encouraged to think carefully about the type of insurance policy they need, how much insurance they need, and how much they can afford to pay, as an insurance policy is a legal contract. While Florida only requires drivers to purchase liability coverage, and it possible to get cheap liability car insurance in Delaware, many drivers feel it is in their best interest to purchase additional coverage beyond the state requirements. Additional coverage in an auto policy could include: uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage, medical payments, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, rental reimbursement coverage, towing and labor coverage, etc. It helps to familiarize oneself with insurance terminology as you examine your options. It’s also wise to research auto insurance companies to make sure they are reputable. Here we’ll explore some things consumers should think about when it comes to auto insurance.
Know Your Rates
How much you pay for auto insurance is determined in part by how much coverage you want (the more coverage you purchase, the higher your premium) and the deductible you select (the higher your deductible, the lower your premium). Also, the insurance company must consider all of the risk factors associated with covering you and the other drivers in your household. Some of those factors, such as age and sex, are out of your control. Other factors, such as the type of vehicle you drive and your driving record, are entirely within your control. The base rate that is used to evaluate all drivers is then adjusted to take into account the following factors:
- Age. Statistics indicate that drivers under the age of 25 are involved in more accidents than those aged between 25 and 65 because they are less experienced behind the wheel. For this reason, drivers under 25 are considered a higher risk, so insurance companies will charge households with younger drivers more for insurance. In addition, those who are older than 65 are considered greater risks because their reaction time and overall physical ability tends to slow down.
- Gender. Statistical evidence suggests that men under the age of 25 are involved in more accidents than women in the same age group, so male drivers typically must pay higher insurance rates than female drivers.
- Driving record and claims history. If you have had multiple accidents, tickets, and insurance claims, you are automatically considered a riskier driver to insure. For that reason, those with less than sterling driving records will see higher insurance rates. Accidents remain on your driving record for a period of years before your driving history is wiped clean again. Unsurprisingly, safe drivers enjoy the lowest auto insurance rates in Delaware.
- Marital status. Statistics prove that married couples tend to have far fewer accidents than those who are unmarried, so married couples may be offered a lower insurance rate when shopping around.
- Geographical area. As a general rule, urban drivers pay more for auto insurance than those in small towns or rural areas because the greater concentration of vehicles makes them more likely to get into an accident. Those in high-crime areas will likely see higher auto insurance rates as well, as their car is more likely to be stolen or vandalized.
- Make, model, and year of the vehicle. The general rule of thumb is that the more expensive and high-performance the vehicle, the more drivers will have to pay to insure them because they are more expensive to repair after accidents, not to mention more likely to be stolen. Insurance companies also point out that red, flashy sports cars are more likely to be pulled over for speeding and other violations by police.
- Credit history. Your credit history may play a part in the rates you receive, so having a good credit score could translate to affordable auto insurance in Delaware.
- Annual miles driven. If you don’t put many miles on your car each year, you pose less of a risk and therefore pay a lower premium. Also, people who use their car for leisure will generally pay a lower premium than those who use their car for business and long-distance commuting to work day in and day out.
- Gaps or lapses in insurance coverage. If you let your insurance lapse, you could experience a rate increase.
Lower Your Rates
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recommends shopping around at a number of different insurance companies to compare auto insurance rates in Delaware before buying auto insurance. When shopping around, speak with an insurance agent and find out exactly what your insurance plan will cover for the price you are paying so that you are getting the best price for the best coverage, as opposed to simply settling for a plan that is cheap, but doesn’t offer much.
Inquire about discounts that a company may offer but not advertise, such as discounts for young drivers with good grades, drivers who have completed a driver’s education course, and drivers with a history of accident-free driving. Under Florida statute XXXVII 627:0652, all senior citizens can save money on insurance right away by taking a mature driver course. You can find a list of approved courses for mature drivers that lead to insurance discounts here. With this in mind, you may find the best car insurance rates in Delaware.
Other ways to get a lower auto insurance rate include: bundling your auto and home insurance under one provider, insuring multiple vehicles under one policy, and installing safety and anti-theft devices. Those who are happy with their insurance company may be able to call in with a lower quote from a competitor and have that rate matched. Longtime customers of an insurance company may be able to call in and request a lower rate after many years of faithfully paying their premiums on time. Also, insurance companies often give you the option to pay your entire premium all at once or pay it in installments; those who pay all at once often pay less overall.
In addition, pay close attention to your other insurance plans. Some plans, such as medical insurance, can overlap in coverage areas with your auto insurance plans, so you can opt out of paying for coverage in areas where you are already insured. Finally, by upping your deductible, you can receive a lower rate.
Above all, make sure the insurance company is certified and permitted to do business in the State of Florida. You can check the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s company directory to verify this. If you are suspicious about any insurance company, call the Office of Insurance Regulation at (850) 413-3140 to verify if any actions have been taken against that company.
Picking an Insurance Agent/Broker
Insurance agents usually represent a specific insurance company and aim to sell policies for commission. Insurance brokers, on the other hand, do not represent a company. Instead, they work with individual clients, assessing their clients’ needs and finding different insurance options to fit those needs. Like agents, however, they also receive a commission for the sales they make from different insurance companies.
Whether you use an agent or broker, make sure that they are licensed with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FOIR). In addition, you can request information from the FOIR as to how many complaints have been filed against a particular agent or broker. The Office can also tell you if they have faced disciplinary actions and fill you in on their licensing record.
If you have had issues with an insurance company, make an inquiry or file a complaint online by clicking Request Insurance Assistance through the Florida Department of Financial Services. Not only can you can get answers to your insurance questions, but also if you have a serious problem, such as a denied claim or your insurer has cancelled your policy, you can have the Division of Consumer Services contact your company or agent on your behalf. The Division will investigate the matter and get back to you if any formal disciplinary actions will take place. Consumer services can also help you with mediation with an insurance company to help you resolve disputes and avoid legal action.
After an Accident
Accidents happen, even to the most responsible drivers. If you have been involved in a collision where someone has been injured or killed, Florida state law requires that you remain at the scene of the crash until you have passed your name, address, vehicle registration number, and driver’s license information on to the injured party as part of your duty to give information and render aid, even if that other driver has no car insurance in Delaware. If you or someone else is injured, you should call for emergency medical services. It is also important to immediately notify local law enforcement so that a report can be taken. Be prepared to give a detailed and accurate account of the events leading up to the collision to responding law enforcement officers, and also take down information such as the names of the police officers and witnesses you spoke with for your own accident report.
In addition, you should also report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible, closely following your company’s claim procedures. If your collision involved another driver, obtain their name, address, phone number, insurance information, driver’s license number, and the make and model of the car they were driving during the collision. You should also be prepared to report the extent of the damage to both cars, how the accident happened, what occurred during the accident, and the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene. Any police report filed must also be copied and sent to your insurance company.
When all of your information has been received, your insurance company will investigate and pay your claim based on how much coverage you have purchased, as indicated in your policy. If your claim is delayed, the insurance company must notify you periodically until it is processed. In the event that your claim is denied, your insurance company will notify you in writing.
Your insurance company may also seek subrogation, which typically happens when someone else was at fault for an accident you were in. Your insurance will cover the costs of any medical or repair bills you had, but your insurance will then reach out to the at-fault driver’s insurance company for compensation. During this process, you should cooperate fully with your insurance company to ensure that this process goes smoothly. If you intend to settle with the at-fault driver or their insurance company, be sure to notify your insurance company.
Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Your driving record may make it difficult for you to get auto insurance coverage, especially if you have a lengthy history of accidents, tickets, drunk driving, or driving without insurance. If you have this type of driving record, you may be required by law to file an SR-22, a document that shows proof of your financial responsibility. Unfortunately, the average cost of car insurance in Delaware for high-risk drivers is significantly higher.
You may also be asked to provide a SR-22 form to the state if you were caught driving without insurance, got a DUI or DWI, caused an accident without insurance, have too many traffic violations and tickets within a short time span, or have had your license suspended or revoked. Your insurance company should do this for you, but not all companies provide this service. Therefore, be sure that you choose an insurance company that provides this service for you if you are required to hold the SR-22 form. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, those who cause a car crash and don’t have insurance coverage must have their coverage certified via SR-22 form for three years and get releases stating that those who suffered vehicle damages or injuries as a result of the accident have been appropriately compensated.
The Florida Department of Financial Services, Consumer Services Division offers assistance to anyone shopping for insurance. They will answer inquiries related to insurance, look into complaints with specific agencies, agents, or brokers, educate consumers on insurance law and procedures, and enforce insurance law on the consumer’s behalf if needed. You can contact them at 1-877-693-5236.