UPDATED: Mar 2, 2020
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Vehicle Toyota Corola
Uninsured Motorists 26.7%
Florida traffic is notoriously bad. Part of the reason for this is the sheer amount of drivers on Florida’s roadways. According to Visit Florida, approximately 126.1 million tourists visit the Sunshine State annually.
Being a tourist hotspot and the fishing capital of the world, the state witnesses a huge number of beach and fishing lovers.
This often leads to more traffic and thereby traffic incidents which could cause you a huge headache if you are forced to navigate Florida car insurance laws on your own.
There is no need to panic though. All it takes is choosing the right car insurance provider who understands your needs to make driving in the Sunshine State smooth sailing.
How do you know which provider is right for you? Keep reading to find out some simple tips that can help you steer your way through all of your options with ease.
Florida Car Insurance Coverage and Rates
No matter which state you drive in there will always be insurance requirements. Knowing what you need and when you need it can sometimes overwhelming. This is where having the right car insurance provider can really benefit you.
Having the right car insurance provider on your crew can help you understand both what type of car insurance coverage is required by law in Florida and how additional types of coverage, such as comprehensive car insurance, can bail you out should you ever find yourself in high water.
This is where we come in.
We are here to help you understand the car culture in the Sunshine State and to simplify the data that you will need to make an educated decision when choosing both a car insurance provider and the types of coverage that are best for you.
Keep scrolling to find out the types of coverage required by Florida State law, and how we can help you get the most for your money.
Florida’s Car Culture
With the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean to the east and dazzling aquamarine water of the Gulf of Mexico to the west, Florida boasts 8,436 miles of coastline. Florida is also one of the top tourist destinations in the United States and it maintains almost 123,000 miles of roadways to help you seek out adventure.
Some of the most popular ways to get around in Florida include:
- Public Transit
- Local Shuttle Services
- Private Automobile
It is not just tourists that are on the go in the Sunshine State either. On average, with tourists and Floridians combined, the total daily miles traveled in the state is approximately 588,062,806 miles.
Whether you are on your way to work, headed home after a long day, or are just one of the many tourists who are off to visit one of this state’s theme parks in the Orlando area it is inevitable that you will wind up in traffic at some point. When this happens to you it will be a comfort to know that you are covered in case of a loss or accident.
You can add to this comfort level by understanding just what is covered according to the laws in Florida that govern car insurance.
Minimum Coverage in Florida
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, all car owners in the Sunshine State are also required to maintain minimum coverage of:
- $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
- AND $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL)
For as long as the driver has a valid Florida license plate.
AAA also notes that Florida has a no-fault law and that:
No fault law requires anyone who owns or has registered a motor vehicle with four or more wheels (excluding taxis and limos) to have the following coverage. All drivers are required to have insurance policies of at least $10,000 for an individual’s bodily injury; $20,000 for injury to multiple persons; $10,000 for property damage; and a $30,000 minimum per accident.
Failure to comply with these requirements can result in the suspension of your driving privileges, vehicle registration, and vehicle license tag for up to three years so why take the risk?
A person who has been responsible for a crash in the state of Florida that results in bodily injury and property damage, or one who has previous driving offenses on their record, may also be required to have full liability insurance in order to be in compliance with the Florida Financial Responsibility Law.
This law requires that a person with certain types of marks on their driving record maintain:
- A minimum limit of bodily injury liability of $10,000 per person
- A minimum limit of $20,000 per crash
- A minimum of $10,000 property damage liability per crash
- AND personal injury protection limits of $10,000 per person per crash
In order to ensure that all of the state car insurance law requirements are met residents of the Sunshine State must be able to present acceptable forms of financial responsibility should they be involved in an accident or pulled over by police for a traffic violation.
Forms of Financial Responsibility
According to the AAMVA, upon request from a law enforcement officer, a driver must present proof of insurance during a roadside traffic stop. Proof of insurance is also be required if you are involved in an accident. Some of the acceptable forms used to demonstrate this type of financial responsibility in Florida include:
- An e-insurance card accessible through your car insurance provider’s app on your smartphone, laptop, tablet or electronic other devices
- A printed paper insurance ID card presented to you by your car insurance provider when you open an insurance policy with them
These options make providing the proper officials your proof of insurance when registering your vehicle or sorting out any traffic incidents as easy as feeding seagulls on a Florida beach on a sunny afternoon.
Your proof of financial responsibility can also be updated online should you need to reinstate your license plate registration for any reason.
Premiums as a Percentage of Income
Being able to access your proof of insurance or update your insurance information online saves you time and money. These are savings that all Florida divers can appreciate given that according to Business Insider and the Insurance Information Institute Florida has some of the highest average car insurance premiums nationwide.
On average 3.15 percent of every Floridians’ annual disposable income is spent on car insurance.
With a per capita disposable income of $38,350 per year earned by each Floridian, and $1,257 of that being spent to maintain insurance on your vehicle, this means that on average $100 is spent on car insurance from a monthly budget of $3,195.
Even as Florida’s average annual car insurance premiums have remained relatively over the past few years they are still higher than those of its neighboring states of Georgia and Alabama whose residents pay $991 and $837 respectively on average per year for the same type of coverage.
Florida is also on the high side of the national average as well which places the average expenditure for car insurance nationwide at $935.80 per year. On the whole, Floridians are paying about $322 more than the rest of the country to drive in the Sunshine State.
This is why it is so important to choose the right insurance provider who can help you understand exactly which type of coverage will get you the most bang for your buck.
Getting the most out of every dollar you spend on car insurance means understanding what is required of you as a car owner in the state of Florida
|Coverage Type||Annual Costs (2015)|
The rates reflected above are from 2015 so premiums for 2019 might be slightly higher. Educating yourself on the car insurance requirements for Florida, the insurance providers available in your area, and then shopping around for the best rates from each of them can help keep your costs down though.
Taking the time to become a well-informed consumer before deciding on something so important as a car insurance provider in the Sunshine State is crucial given that Florida ranks among the top 10 most expensive states for annual average car insurance expenditures.
While Florida may only require you to maintain $10,000 for an individual’s bodily injury; $20,000 for injury to multiple persons; $10,000 for property damage; and a $30,000 minimum per accident there are benefits to going above and beyond what the law requires. Some of these options include:
- MedPay insurance subject to the policy limits, will cover the medical payments for all passengers in a vehicle that are injured in an accident. This includes the ambulance ride and treatment.
- Uninsured/Underinsured insurance will protect you if you are in an accident with an at-fault driver who isn’t carrying liability insurance or whose limits are to low to cover the damages and medical expenses incurred by you or others during an accident.
When deciding on whether or not to carry these additional types of coverage options it helps to consider the loss ratios of the companies that you are considering. Below are the loss ratio trends for Florida as a whole which can give you an indication of how the car insurance market as a whole is doing.
|Personal Injury Protection||75%||62%||76%|
|Medical Payments (MedPay)||74%||73%||81%|
|Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UUM)||73%||80%||86%|
The loss ratio numbers for PIP, MedPay, and Uninsured/Underinsured motorist sections are good news to you as a Florida consumer. Why? What do these loss ratios mean to you?
- A High Loss Ratio (over 100 percent) indicates that the companies are losing money because they are paying out to many claims for the premium they have earned, which might cause them to face bankruptcy. A high loss ratio is a good indicator of future rate increases.
- A Low Loss Ratio indicates that companies might have overpriced their policies and that a rate decrease could occur in the near future.
Florida’s car insurance loss ratios are relatively good then even if the premiums in the Sunshine State are generally higher than the national average.
Considering that, on average, around 27 percent of Florida drivers are uninsured/underinsured ranking Florida number one in this area it could be a major benefit to you to invest in additional coverage beyond just what the state requires.
Keep reading to find out about all of the add-ons and endorsements that you can invest in to protect yourself and your passengers should you ever need more coverage.
Add-ons and Endorsements
While Florida state law dictates that certain types of insurance be maintained many of these types of insurance do not cover things such as the recovery from the total loss of your vehicle after an accident or helping you out should your car break down on the side of the road. That is where add-ons and endorsements come in.
Understanding what each type of these add-ons and endorsements means to you can go a long way to ensuring that you are never left unassisted should the joys of car ownership take a turn for the worse.
- Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)–If your car is ever totaled or stolen GAP will pay any money that is remains owed on the lease or loan.
- Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)–When your underlying liability limits have been reached PUP kicks in to help protect you from lawsuits which may result from an auto accident.
- Rental Reimbursement–Should you ever need to leave your car in the shop, rental reimbursement will help you pay the costs of renting a car until your repairs are finished.
- Emergency Roadside Assistance–This is just what it sounds like. If your car breaks down or you have a flat emergency roadside assistance will be there for you to pay for the cost of roadside repairs or a tow if need be.
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance–This type of coverage helps pay for the cost of repairs to your car which did not result from an accident.
- Non-Owner Car Insurance–Don’t own a car, but still drive on occasion? This type of coverage is perfect for you then because it provides you with limited liability coverage even if the car you are driving isn’t registered to you.
- Modified Car Insurance Coverage–If a basic model just isn’t your style then modified car insurance should be. This type of insurance covers most modifications made to your vehicle that may not be covered by your general policy should you be involved in an accident.
- Classic Car Insurance–Just like a classic car needs special attention when it comes to its car and maintenance it also needs a special kind of insurance. Classic Car Insurance coverage helps ensure that if something happens to baby you both will be well protected. This type of insurance typically costs less as well since classic cars are generally not driven as much as their contemporary counterparts.
- Pay-As-You-Drive or Usage-Based Insurance–This type of coverage is based on the way you drive. The insurance provider takes into account your speed, distance traveled, and other such factors and issues discounts based on that information.
The type of car you drive or how you drive are not the only things that determine the type of coverage you may need or how much that coverage may cost. Sometimes it is just who you are that impacts the rate that you receive. Keep reading to find out how.
Male Vs. Female Rates
Whether you are male or female, old or young, you are most likely going to need car insurance coverage at some point in your life. These external factors could also have an impact on how much you end up paying for that coverage as well.
Consumer Federation of America released a study in 2017 which reveals that, contrary to popular belief, older women actually pay more for car insurance coverage than their male counterparts. In fact, according to Forbes magazine:
Among its findings, the CFA found that in 38 instances women with perfect driving records are charged at least $100 more per year than male drivers, and in six cases have to pay $500 higher annual premiums.
While gender and age were combined to reach the conclusions in the CFA report each of these factors alongside marital status also has an impact on what a person might pay for car insurance coverage.
|Company||Married 35-year old Female||Married 35-year old Male||Married 60-year old Female`||Married 60-year old Male||Single 17-year old Female||Single 17-year old Male||Single 25-year old Female||Single 25-year old Male|
|Liberty Mutual Ins. Co.||$3,711.14||$3,711.14||$3,398.94||$3,398.94||$7,859.88||$12,116.72||$3,711.14||$5,037.27|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$2,158.99||$2,158.99||$1,954.51||$1,954.51||$6,166.09||$7,832.79||$2,399.41||$2,556.07|
It is interesting to note that a single 25-year-old female pays about the same as a female who is 60 years old and married on average whereas the rates for males tend to decrease with age.
Your age and gender are not the only things that can impact your car insurance rates. Sometimes just having a certain zip code can make a huge difference in the amount you will pay to maintain coverage.
Cheapest Rates by Zip Code
Most people don’t know that their car insurance rates can be impacted simply by your address. It’s true though. Where you live can determine the car insurance rate that you might receive. Take a look at the following tables to see how.
|25 Most Expensive Zip Codes in Florida||City||Average by Zip Code||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|25 Least Expensive Zip Codes in Florida||City||Average by Zip Codes||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|32694||WALDO||$3,481.35||Allstate||$5,638.78||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32643||HIGH SPRINGS||$3,486.23||Allstate||$5,672.94||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32618||ARCHER||$3,486.59||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32667||MICANOPY||$3,486.59||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32669||NEWBERRY||$3,486.59||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32601||GAINESVILLE||$3,489.42||Allstate||$5,638.78||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32609||GAINESVILLE||$3,489.42||Allstate||$5,638.78||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32641||GAINESVILLE||$3,489.42||Allstate||$5,638.78||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32615||ALACHUA||$3,490.52||Allstate||$5,703.00||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32658||LA CROSSE||$3,490.52||Allstate||$5,703.00||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32612||GAINESVILLE||$3,492.52||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32603||GAINESVILLE||$3,494.66||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32605||GAINESVILLE||$3,494.66||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32606||GAINESVILLE||$3,494.66||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32607||GAINESVILLE||$3,494.66||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32608||GAINESVILLE||$3,494.66||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32611||GAINESVILLE||$3,494.66||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32653||GAINESVILLE||$3,494.66||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32631||EARLETON||$3,523.03||Allstate||$5,930.57||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|32550||MIRAMAR BEACH||$3,597.34||Allstate||$5,996.61||Progressive||$4,267.71||USAA||$1,983.74||State Farm||$2,555.76|
|32664||MC INTOSH||$3,610.75||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,954.28||USAA||$2,456.82||State Farm||$2,656.82|
|32681||ORANGE LAKE||$3,610.75||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,954.28||USAA||$2,456.82||State Farm||$2,656.82|
While living in the city may have its conveniences, what the data reveals is that choosing to live outside the city center could have its advantages when it comes to a better car insurance rate.
This can be seen by looking at the rates for drivers who reside in South Tampa with a zip code of 33611 versus drivers who live in the up and coming area of Ybor City with a zip code of 33603 closer to the city center with a zip code of 33603.
South Tampa residents pay almost $1,000 less on average in insurance premiums than do their neighbors north of Kennedy Blvd. This goes to show that when it comes to investing in car insurance being an educated consumer and shopping around can result in big savings.
It is not just your neighborhood that can have an influence on what you pay for your car insurance coverage. The city you love can also determine how much you will spend. Keep scrolling and let us show you how.
Cheapest Rates by City
There is no denying that Florida cities offer a wealth of beauty and adventure for residents and tourists alike. Navigating the city streets is not always easy though, and neither is negotiating the best price for car insurance.
With a little information firmly in your grasp though you will have it made in the shade when it comes time to choose the right car insurance provider to help protect you and the ones that you love.
We have done the work for you. Take a look at the tables below to see how the zip code you live in and the city that you love play a role in determining just what you will pay for your car insurance.
|10 Most Expensive Cities in Florida||Average by City||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|Golden Glades||$7,161.53||Allstate||$11,695.48||Liberty Mutual||$8,135.30||USAA||$4,505.83||GEICO||$4,603.44|
|Coral Terrace||$7,081.53||Allstate||$12,367.26||Liberty Mutual||$8,191.19||USAA||$4,045.62||GEICO||$4,603.44|
|Olympia Heights||$7,078.68||Allstate||$12,367.26||Liberty Mutual||$8,247.08||USAA||$4,038.46||GEICO||$4,603.44|
|Miami Gardens||$6,972.48||Allstate||$10,667.38||Liberty Mutual||$8,209.82||USAA||$4,505.83||GEICO||$4,603.44|
Given its size and population, it should come as no surprise that Miami ranks as one of the expensive cities for car insurance rates. After all, more cars on the road usually translates into more traffic incidents which inevitably results in more claims.
|10 Least Expensive Cities in Florida||Average by City||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|Waldo||$3,481.35||Allstate||$5,638.78||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|High Springs||$3,486.23||Allstate||$5,672.94||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|Archer||$3,486.59||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|Micanopy||$3,486.59||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|Newberry||$3,486.59||Allstate||$5,675.46||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|Alachua||$3,490.52||Allstate||$5,703.00||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|La Crosse||$3,490.52||Allstate||$5,703.00||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|Gainesville||$3,494.00||Allstate||$5,666.29||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|Earleton||$3,523.03||Allstate||$5,930.57||Liberty Mutual||$3,903.07||USAA||$2,129.02||State Farm||$2,685.17|
|Miramar Beach||$3,597.34||Allstate||$5,996.61||Progressive||$4,267.71||USAA||$1,983.74||State Farm||$2,555.76|
Should you ever need to file a claim it is good to know where your car insurance provider stacks up among the others operating in the Sunshine State. That is where we come in. Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates. Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.
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Best Florida Car Insurance Companies
Should you ever need to file a claim it is comforting to know that you have the best car insurance provider on your side. We have collected a list of the top rated Florida car insurance providers for you according to AM Best to help you make the best choice for you and your family.
The Largest Companies Financial Rating
As the only worldwide credit agency to have a particular focus on the insurance industry, AM Best has become a trusted agency to use when determining the overall health and viability of insurance providers globally.
|Best Rated Companies||Rating||Outlook|
|ACE American Insurance Company||A++||Stable|
|Agri General Insurance Company||A++||Stable|
|Auto-Owners Insurance Company||A++||Stable|
|Automobile Ins Co of Hartford, CT||A++||Stable|
|Chubb Insurance Company||A++||Stable|
|Columbia Insurance Company||A++||Stable|
|Continental Divide Insurance Company||A++||Stable|
|Great Northern Insurance Company||A++||Stable|
|Owners Insurance Company||A++||Stable|
This means that when you choose a company with an A++ rating from AM Best you are choosing one that has a good loss ratio and one whose overall financial outlook is stable.
What all of this does this mean to you as a consumer? It means that you can be sure that should you ever need to file a claim with one of the insurance providers that has received an A++ rating from AM Best that you will be less likely to have your claim rejected.
You are also less likely to face any negative consequences which could result if your insurance provider goes bankrupt.
Companies with Best Ratings
AM Best is not the only trusted adviser keeping its eye on the car insurance industry. JD Power is watching out for you, and what they have noted is that customer satisfaction among customers of automobile insurance is at a record high.
As anyone who has ever purchased car insurance in Florida knows though not every experience is a satisfying one. Making sure that your experience is a good one is as easy as scrolling down to see just who customers complain about the most.
Companies with the Most Complaints
Part of choosing the right car insurance provider is knowing just how many complaints each one of your choices. This is where the complaint ratio comes in. This ratio tells you as a consumer just where the providers in your area stand in relation to their competitors.
The baseline for the complaint ratio is 1.0. This means that a company with a complaint ratio of 1.0 has an average number of complaints. The higher the complaint ratio the higher the number of complaints lodged against the company then.
Below is a list of the top 10 best car insurance companies in Florida along with their complaint ratios so that you can see how each one compares.
|Company||Direct Premiums Written||Complaint Ratio||Loss Ratio||Market Share|
|Amtrust NGH Group||$413,351||0||61.98%||2.16%|
|State Farm Group||$3,042,871||0.44||79.80%||15.89%|
|Allstate Insurance Group||$1,842,800||0.50||55.45%||9.63%|
|InFinanciality Prop & Casualty Insurance Group||$357,011||2.03||67.06%||1.86%|
|Liberty Mutual Group||$617,089||5.95||68.42%||3.22%|
|J. Whited Group (Windhaven)||$385,885||7.43||56.59%||2.02%|
These numbers can be a bit deceiving when taken out of context.
For instance, a quick glance at the numbers would make it seem as if Amtrust NGH Group is the best choice for instance, but this company only holds 2.16 percent of the market share which means that it has fewer customers, and fewer customers translate into fewer possibilities for complaints.
Looking at the numbers for Geico who holds almost 25 percent of Florida’s overall market share means that their complaint ratio of 0.68 is actually better given the company size and the number of customers that Geico services. The devil really is in the details.
Should you ever need to file a complaint against your car insurance provider in Florida though there are several points of contact for you to choose from. Some of these include:
- The Statewide Toll-Free Number: 1-877-My-FL-CFO
- Out of State Callers can contact: (850) 413-3089
- There is also a TDD Line for the hearing impaired: 1-800-640-0886
- Or you can send an email: ConsumerServices@myfloridacfo.com
The office of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer also offers Floridians a way to check the number of complaints against insurance providers for a given year through their Complaint Comparison Database search tool.
Now that you know what the loss ratio and complaint ratio mean to you, and how to file a complaint should you need to, it is time to start comparing the rates.
Cheapest Companies in Florida
Like any financially savvy consumer, you will want to start with the companies with the cheapest rates in Florida. We are here to help you with that. The table below puts you in the driver seat when it comes to choosing the best car insurance provider that your hard earned dollar can buy.
|Company||Average||+/- Compared to State Average (rate)||+/- Compared to State Average (%)|
|Liberty Mutual Ins Co||$5,368.15||$687.69||12.81%|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$3,397.67||-$1,282.79||-37.75%|
Knowing how much purchasing power you have when shopping for the right car insurance provider is important. It is also important to know just how each of these providers determines your rates once you become a customer.
Sometimes your rates are adjusted based on the distance of your commute while in other cases your rate is determined by the type of coverage you have or even your credit rating. Keep reading to find out how.
Commute Rates by Company
There is no way around the fact that the more you drive the higher your rates are going to be. This is why it pays to compare the annual rates that Florida car insurance providers charge customers based on the number of miles that these customers travel annually.
The table below can help you put these numbers in perspective so that you can make an informed choice when you decide to purchase car insurance in the Sunshine State.
|Company||10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.||25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.|
Looking at these numbers reveals that if you have a short commute then a company like USAA might be right for you. If you have a long commute though it might be wiser to go with a more expensive company such as State Farm since it has a lower complaint ratio and better loss ratio than USAA when the market share of each of these companies is compared.
After all, more time spent on the road means an increase in the chances that you might be involved in a traffic incident and you will want to make sure that your claim is less likely to be rejected should you ever need to file one.
You will also want to consider the coverage level rates of each company as you shop around for the best value in car insurance.
Coverage Level Rates by Company
Now that you are beginning to understand how things such the loss ratio, complaint ratio, and the total miles that you commute can influence the type of coverage you might need as well as the rates that you receive it is time to consider how much coverage you might need. The table below can help you do just that.
|Company||Low Coverage||Medium Coverage||High Coverage|
As you can see, the higher your coverage the higher your car insurance rate will be which is why it is so important to shop around. That is not the end of the story though.
An older car with higher miles might not need as much coverage a lender on a new car might require you to have for instance, and someone with a better credit score or clean driving record might also be able to use those things to their advantage to get higher coverage amounts for a cheaper rate.
Credit History Rates by Company
Consumer Reports published an article in 2015 that came as a shock to most Americans. This article revealed that your credit score does indeed have an impact on your car insurance rates. The table below shows you by just how much.
|Company||Good Credit||Fair Credit||Poor Credit|
One of the reasons that people with good credit scores get better car insurance rates is because they are less likely to submit a claim. In fact, the higher the credit rating the more likely it is that the person will pay out of pocket to have repairs done or to settle damages after an accident.
That doesn’t mean that maintaining a clean driving record is useless though when it comes to determining how much you will pay to maintain your car insurance coverage in Florida.
Keep scrolling to see just how important it is to be a safe driver in the Sunshine State.
Driving Record Rates by Company
In Florida what you do behind the wheel really matters to your bottom line when it comes to purchasing car insurance. This is because Florida operates under a point system. These driving points are based on a graduated system that sets forth relative values for traffic offenses.
These driving points also stay on your driving record for three years and are used by insurance companies to determine your rates.
|Company||Clean record||With 1 speeding violation||With 1 DUI||With 1 accident|
Looking at just how much one ticket or accident can change your car insurance rates demonstrates how important it is to drive defensively in the Sunshine State. The table above also illustrates that it is just as important to you as a Floridian to be as aware of what is on your driving record as it is for you to keep an eye on your credit score.
Now that you know how your credit score and driving record can impact your car insurance rates keep reading to find out why bigger doesn’t always mean better when choosing a car insurance provider.
Largest Car Insurance Companies in Florida
In the previous sections on commute rates and companies with most complaints, we gave you a brief overview of how a car insurance provider’s market share works alongside their loss ratio to help you get better customer service and a better rate, but what does market share actually mean?
Market share is the percentage of the overall market that is controlled by a single company.
|Company||Direct Premiums Written||Market Share|
|State Farm Group||$3,042,871||15.89%|
|Allstate Insurance Group||$1,842,800||9.63%|
|Liberty Mutual Group||$617,089||3.22%|
|Amtrust NGH Group||$413,351||2.16%|
|J. Whited Group (Windhaven)||$385,885||2.02%|
|InFinanciality Prop & Casualty Insurance Group||$357,011||1.86%|
As you can see from the table Geico controls approximately 25 percent of the overall car insurance market in Florida. Geico also has $4,678,326 in Direct Premiums Written which indicates that Geico is financially sound as well since:
While insurance companies can increase revenue by increasing premiums on policies that have come up for renewal, the main driver for growth in this area is writing new policies.
Number of Insurers by State
There are 14 domestic insurance providers in the state of Florida and 953 foreign ones. This means that you have 967 to choose from as you shop for the best rates and coverage in the Sunshine State.
So, what is the difference between a foreign or domestic insurer?
- Domestic insurer means that the insurer is one which has been formed under the laws of the state of Florida.
- Foreign insurer means that the insurer is one which has been formed under the laws of any state, district, territory, or commonwealth of the United States other than the state of Florida.
Neither type of insurer is better or worse when it comes to providing you with the coverage you need to stay within the letter of the law in sunny Florida. Ultimately then, it really is a personal choice about which one you are more comfortable dealing with.
Dealing with either type of insurer is easier when you understand the laws that they are formed under. We have provided you a brief overview of these laws in the next section.
Florida State Laws
Navigating the laws that govern car insurance in the Sunshine State can be a complicated and confusing process. Trying to understand just which laws apply to you after a car accident can be frustrating as well. Having a general understanding of what these laws are before you find yourself involved in a traffic incident can help.
This is where we come in. We are here to help you gain a good grasp of the laws that govern both driving and car insurance in the Sunshine State. Keep scrolling to find out the basic information you need to keep your rates down and your family safe while on the road in Florida.
Car Insurance Laws
As discussed in the earlier section, there are minimum coverage requirements for drivers and car owners in the State of Florida. According to the NAIC, the Sunshine State also requires that you file the proper forms before your insurance can be used.
While it is common knowledge that you must be covered by car insurance in order to tag a vehicle or drive in the state of Florida, many people are shocked to learn that they can also be denied car insurance coverage simply because they are considered to be a high-risk driver.
This is why it pays to be proactive by driving defensively when you are on Florida’s roads, and why you should always obey all traffic laws. By practicing safe driving, you can keep your driving record clean and thereby prevent yourself from being labeled a high-risk driver.
You can also do your part by understanding just how the laws in the state of Florida are determined.
How State Laws Are Determined
Like all other laws in the state of Florida, the laws that govern car insurance are determined by the state legislature. As such, this governmental body has declared Florida to be a no-fault state when it comes to car insurance coverage types and amounts.
This can be a bit confusing to some people but understanding who is responsible and when according to Florida’s no-fault laws is really quite simple.
- No-Fault coverage is meant to protect the insured by paying for their expenses in an accident.
- After No-Fault coverage benefits are exhausted the insured can then turn to MedPay
- When MedPay benefits have reached their limits, and if the insured is not at fault, the insured can then look towards the other party’s insurance to seek reimbursement.
- Uninsured Motorist can cover the rest is the other party’s benefits reach their limits, but only within the limits of the uninsured motorist policy limits.
Of course, having an accident can increase your chances of being categorized as a high-risk driver so it pays to be careful out there.
Should you find yourself in the high-risk category though, purchasing car insurance is not impossible; it just means that you will have to shop around a bit more and that you will need to be well informed.
This type of car insurance is designed for those who find themselves with driving points on their Florida license. As discussed in the Driving Record Rates section, driving points remain on your license for three years and they are used by car insurance companies to determine your rates and coverage eligibility.
The more driving points that you have on your Florida driving record the more likely car insurance companies feel you are to be involved in another traffic incident. This increase in likelihood translates into higher rates because it also means that you, or an opposing party, are more likely to file a claim with your insurer.
You don’t have to have a traffic incident to increase your driving points. Sometimes something so simple as filing a claim for a cracked windshield can increase your rates as well.
When it comes to windshields in the state of Florida there are a few things you should know. The first of these is that all vehicles operating in the Sunshine State must have functioning windshield wipers.
Florida laws do not mention cracked or damaged windshields. But there are other relevant regulations which can make driving with a damaged, chipped or broken windshield illegal.
It is also important to note that, in the state of Florida, coverings, stickers or signs on windshields are against the law. There are a few exceptions such as:
- Stickers which are mandatory by law
- GPS devices
- And/or toll payment devices, such as Florida’s Sun Pass device
These stickers or devices cannot obstruct the driver’s view though. This is also damage such as cracks or chips which have the potential to interfere with the driver’s view.
Florida also adheres to the federal regulation that any cracks or chips smaller than ¾-inch in diameter are permitted, but that this damage cannot be located within three inches of another crack. This damage must also be located away from the driver’s view.
Comprehensive coverage will generally cover windshield damage in the Sunshine State, but as with the filing of all other types of claims, this could increase your rates the next time that you rewrite your policy.
All of this talk of high-risk drivers and increased rates seem intimidating, but there are low-cost options to be had in the state of Florida. Keep reading to find out what they are and if they might be right for you.
Low-cost insurance is provided with no hassle to those who have good driving records, a good credit rating, and to those who fit a certain demographic. What do you do though if one or more of these factors is working against you?
The best option in this scenario is to investigate which types of discount programs are available to you as you shop for car insurance. Some of these discount programs include:
- Safe Driver Discount
- Student Discount
- AND Veteran Discounts
Taking a defensive driving course can also lower your rates if you have the time and money to invest.
With all of these ways to save or recover from driving points, why wouldn’t you take advantage of a few of them? Even with all of these discount and recovery options some people still feel compelled to file false claims.
Be forewarned though that the State of Florida takes insurance fraud VERY seriously.
Automobile Insurance Fraud in Florida
While being a no-fault state can have its advantages for Florida residents in need of quick reimbursement after an accident it also lends itself to higher incidents of fraud. The Insurance Information Institute notes that:
In many no-fault states, unscrupulous medical providers, attorneys and others perpetrate fraud by padding costs associated with a legitimate claim, for example by billing an insurer for a medical procedure that was not performed.
Because of this, if you are ever injured in an accident or sustain damage to your vehicle, it is best that you as the insured pay close attention to the billing practices of the service providers that you employ.
Florida law dictates that any person who submits a claim based on deliberate falsehood, exaggerations, or loss and/or injury that is the result of deliberate action on the part of the claimant has committed insurance fraud.
A person commits insurance fraud by submitting a claim based on a false, exaggerated, or deliberate injury or loss. It is against Florida law to submit false or misleading information to an insurer on a claim or an application for an insurance policy.
A person caught committing insurance fraud in the Sunshine State can be subject to:
- The loss of license as well as charges of criminal liability and/or civil fines, if the perpetrator is a lawyer, doctor and other professional.
- Fines and/or imprisonment in the case of those not so professionally inclined.
The severity of the punishment also increases with the value of the fraudulent claim, and can even result in first, second, or third-degree felony charges as well.
There is a bright side to Florida’s insurance fraud laws. In 2012 Florida enacted the No-Fault Insurance Reform Law which has helped to reduce fraud within the state resulting in lower rates for Floridians overall.
Statute of Limitations
Almost all crimes committed in Florida carry with them a statute of limitations. Personal injury and property damage are no exceptions. According to the Florida State Legislature, these crimes carry with them the following:
- Four Years for Personal Injury claims
- Four Years for Property Damage claims
While statutes of limitations are commonplace in all states nationwide there are a few driving laws that are unique to Florida that all residents and visitors should be aware of.
Florida Specific Driving Laws
In 2013 the State of Florida overturned the previous law that had allowed foreign tourists to drive with their licenses from homelands.
Florida also has a Move-Over law that requires drivers to slow their car down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit so as to protect the lives of law enforcement or emergency personnel who are operating alongside the roadway. Violating this law makes you subject to fines.
You must also feed the parking meter if you tie an elephant, goat or alligator to it according to Florida law.
Florida truly is a weird and wonderful state.
There is nothing weird about the vehicle licensing laws in Florida though. Keep reading to find out how they affect you.
Vehicle Licensing Laws
As mentioned in the previous section on minimum coverage requirements in Florida all car owners in the Sunshine State are also required to maintain minimum coverage of:
- $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
- AND $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL)
For as long as the driver has a valid Florida license plate.
Florida also began issuing licenses that were REAL ID-compliant after January 1, 2010. Floridians can tell if their state-issued id-card or drivers license is REAL ID compliant by looking for the star in the upper right corner of their cards,
In order to be issued a REAL ID you will need to bring at least one of the primary documents listed below:
U.S. Citizens should bring with them:
- Valid, unexpired U.S. passport
- Original or Certified copy of a birth certificate
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad
- Certificate of Naturalization issued by DHS
- Certificate of Citizenship
If your current name is different from what appears on any of these you will also need to bring one of the following:
- Court-ordered name change document
- Marriage certificate, issued by the courts and/or
- Divorce decree, issued by the courts
For Non-Citizens the following should be brought with you:
- Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card – I-551 for Lawful Permanent Residents
- Valid Passport for non-immigrants except for asylum applicants and refugees
- Other government-issued document showing your full name
- Department of Homeland Security document showing proof of lawful presence
- If your name has changed by marriage/divorce, you must have your name changed on your Citizen and Immigration Services (CIS) documents.
Both Citizens and Non-Citizens will need to bring:
- Their Social Security Card or proof of your social security number.
- Two documents that show their principal residence
For in-depth information on the identity documents required to obtain your REAL ID you can visit the FLHSMV website.
Just like the laws that govern REAL ID are meant to keep Floridians safe so too are the penalties imposed for driving without car insurance. Read on to discover what they are.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
Driving without car insurance in the Sunshine State has its consequences.
The first offense carries with it a penalty of the suspension of your license and registration until you have paid the reinstatement fee of $150.00 and proof that you have secured non-cancelable coverage is given.
Should you find yourself driving without insurance coverage for a second time the second offense carries with it the penalty of the suspension of your license and registration until the reinstatement fee of $250.00 is paid proof that you have secured non-cancelable coverage is given.
Florida also has a set of laws specifically aimed at teenaged drivers in order to keep all Florida drivers safe.
Teen Driver Laws
Florida laws which regulate teenage drivers operate under a multi-stage licensing process.
Each stage of the licensing process for teenagers in the Sunshine State is determined by their age and/or pre-determined requirements.
- At age 15, Florida teenagers can apply for a learner’s license. In order to do so through the teenager has to have completed a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Course. They must also have passed the written, vision, and hearing tests and they must have a signed parent consent form.
- When a driver turns 16, if they had their learner’s license for at least one year without any traffic violations and had completed 50 hours of practice driving, they could apply for the intermediate license.
- The issuance of this type of license is also contingent on the teenager being able to pass a behind-the-wheel driving test and completing a vision test, and providing proof of practice driving time. A legal guardian must also accompany the teenager to the DMV in order to sign the application form unless their signature has been notarized on the form prior to the teenager presenting it to the DMV officer. At the intermediate stage are also driving privileges are based on age.
- At age 18 a teenager becomes eligible for a full unrestricted license.
All first-time drivers in Florida are required to take a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse course and a written exam to receive a learner’s license as well.
After you have had your driver’s license for some time the procedures for renewing it will be applied to you. Keep reading to find out how you can remain in good legal standing as a driver in Florida by renewing your driver’s license in the proper way.
Driver License Renewal Procedures
The renewal procedures in the state of Florida vary by age. For the general population, a Florida Driver’s License is only required to be renewed every eight years.
Florida is renowned as a retirement destination which means that a substantial part of the state’s population falls into the older population category which requires a renewal cycle of every six years for those residents over the age of 80.
If you do not fall into the teenage driver category and you are under 80 years old you are only required to take the vision test if you apply for a renewal of your license in person. For all Florida residents over the age of 80, a vision test is required for every renewal.
Mail-in or online renewal is permitted for the general Florida population as well as for those residents over the age of 80 every other renewal cycle.
Just as with teenage drivers, the general population of Floridians on the road, and older operators of motor vehicles the procedures and requirements an procedures for new drivers in the state of Florida is slightly different. Read on to discover how.
Even if you have a residence outside of the state of Florida you can be considered a new resident if you have done any of the following in the Sunshine State:
- Enrolled your children in public school
- Registered to vote in the state of Florida
- Filed for a homestead exemption
- Accepted employment within the state
- OR resided in Florida for more than six consecutive months
As a resident it is your responsibility to know that a motor vehicle is required by law in the State of Florida to be registered within 30 days of the owner either becoming employed, placing children in public school, or establishing residency.
If you have an out-of-state license it might be possible to convert it to one from Florida without having to take the written or road test.
All those seeking to obtain a driver’s license in Florida are required to show proof of valid car insurance from a company that is licensed to do business in the Sunshine State as well.
Additionally, proof of identity will be required of anyone seeking to procure a Florida state driver’s license.
Now that you know how to get a driver’s license in Florida let us help you understand how to keep it. Keep reading to get a better grasp of how the driver point system works in the Sunshine State.
Negligent Operator Treatment System
For every traffic law violation in the state of Florida the Florida Department of Highway Saftey and Motor Vehicles has set forth a set amount of driver points.
The following infractions all carry a weight of three points:
- Running a stop sign
- Failure to yield
- Curfew violations
- Driving with an open container
- Child seatbelt violation
- Driving on the shoulder
Four points can be added to your driving record for traffic tickets that are written because you have endangered the lives of others with your actions. Some of these things include:
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Speeding in excess of 15 MPH over the speed limit
- Or running a red light
For more serious infractions such as the following, six points are added to your record:
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Speeding resulting in an accident
- A moving violation resulting in bodily harm
More points mean higher car insurance rates and could result in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. It is best to drive safe then and obey all applicable traffic laws when traveling on Florida roadways.
Rules of the Road
No matter which state you reside in there will always be rules of the road. Knowing what they are in Florida could help you keep your driving record clean.
Knowing the laws and obeying them can also help you keep your cool when shopping around for the best prices on car insurance.
Keep scrolling to find out all you need to know to be a well-informed driver as you head out on the road.
No-Fault Vs. At-Fault
You have already read that Florida is a no-fault state meaning that:
- No-Fault coverage is meant to protect the insured by paying for their expenses in an accident.
- After No-Fault coverage benefits are exhausted the insured can then turn to MedPay
- When MedPay benefits have reached their limits, and if the insured is not at fault, the insured can then look towards the other party’s insurance to seek reimbursement.
- Uninsured Motorist can cover the rest is the other party’s benefits reach their limits, but only within the limits of the uninsured motorist policy limits.
So what does it mean to be an at-fault state? Well, unlike a no-fault state, in an at-fault state the person who was legally “at-fault” for the accident bears the liability for damages and injuries caused by the crash.
Whether you live in a no-fault state like Florida or an at-fault state like North Carolina, there are certain laws that cross all state lines. Seat belt laws are one of these, but the requirements for when and where a person in a motor vehicle must buckle up varies by state law.
Seat Belt And Car Seat Laws
Florida Law requires the use of safety belts as follows:
- Safety Belts are required t be used by drivers of motor vehicles, all front seat passengers and all children riding in a vehicle under 18.
- Child Restraints – Car Seats and Booster Seats are required for use on children age 5 and under.
- Children ages 0 to 3 must be in child restraint devices of a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat.
- Children age 4 and 5 must be in a separate carrier, an integrated child seat or a booster seat.
Bear in mind that Florida’s safety belt law is a primary enforcement law. This means that an officer can stop you and issue you a citation simply for your failure to observe safety belt and/or restraint laws.
Florida Safety Belt Laws also require that the driver of a pick-up truck and his or her passengers under the age of 18 wear a seat belt. which means that riding in the bed is forbidden if you are under 18 years of age.
Florida also has Keep Right and Move Over laws just like many other states do. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Keep Right and Move Over
According to Florida statute 316.081 Florida drivers must yield by moving right if blocking traffic is in the left lane. Floridians must also move to the right and allow faster traffic to pass by them.
Florida also has a Move-Over law that was discussed in the section on Florida specific driving laws.
This Move-Over law requires drivers to slow their car down to at least 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit so as to protect the lives of law enforcement or emergency personnel who are operating alongside the roadway.
Florida also has speed limits which vary by location.
– Speed Limits
Because speed is a factor in most traffic accidents the state of Florida has set forth speed limits to keep its residents safe.
Generally speaking, these limits are as follows:
- Municipal Speed Areas………………..30 MPH
- Business or Residential Areas………30 MPH
- Rural Interstate Limited………………70 MPH
- Limited Access Highways…………….70 MPH
- All other Riads and Highways………55 MPH
- School Zones…20 MPH
Violation of these speeding restrictions can result in a traffic citation and between 3-4 driver points on your record depending on the situation.
Ridesharing services nationwide are on the rise. Anyone wishing to engage in driving for a rideshare company in the state of Florida though should brush up on the car insurance requirements for this endeavor before taking on their first fare.
While rideshare drivers in Florida are required to carry the minimum amount of car insurance that all drivers in the Sunshine State must carry Florida also has an additional law that requires rideshare drivers to carry much more coverage.
Rideshare drivers must have at least $1 million in liability coverage for property damage, physical injury, and death. They must also carry the PIP insurance minimums that apply to all drivers. Even when an Uber or Lyft driver isn’t actively driving a passenger, they still must have $50,000 in physical injury or death liability coverage that applies anytime a driver has the app on to look for a customer.
Just like ridesharing has increased in popularity so too has the use of automation and crash avoidance devices. Read on to find out what this means to you.
Automation on the Road
The use of automation and crash avoidance devices technology is on the rise. It makes sense given the fact that they have been proven to can help reduce crashes. Things such as back-up cameras and collision avoidance systems can help drivers see and avoid obstacles before impact, but what about full automation?
Recognized as one of the nation’s leaders in self-driving technology, Florida is currently working to expand the Self-Driving Car Law. This means that if the Florida legislature has anything to say about it then driverless cars could be in the very near future in the Sunshine state.
If the law passes then more laws regulating its use are sure to follow; as are ones regarding the insurance required by the companies that operate them so stay tuned.
There are a number of laws on the books in Florida that are designed to keep Floridians safe while on the road. Some of these include DUI laws and laws that regulate distracted driving.
Partying and texting have their place, but not behind the wheel. Scroll down to find out how the state of Florida deals with such bad decisions.
Drinking and driving is nothing to celebrate. In fact, according to Responsibility.org Florida suffered 839 Alcohol-Impaired Driving fatalities in 2017 alone.
The penalties for driving while impaired are stiff, and they should be. Take a look at what it could cost you if you choose to take your party on the road.
- First Offense up to six months in jail, $500-$2,000 fine/penalty, and between 180 days to a year of license suspension.
- Second Offense up to nine months in jail, $1,00-$4,000 fine/penalty, and between 1-5 years of license suspension.
- Third Offense 30 days to five years in jail, $2,000-$5,000 fine/penalty, and 2-10 years of license suspension.
It is just not worth the risk. As we say in Florida: Arrive Alive!
Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws
While it is now legal to partake in medical marijuana in the Sunshine State it is still illegal to drive while under its influences.
Penalties and fines for driving while under the influence of any drug in Florida are just as stiff as they are for DUIs. Take a look:
- First offense – a fine of $500 -$1,000, up to six months in jail, 180 days to one-year license suspension, 50 hours community service, and a 10-day vehicle impoundment/immobilization.
- Second offense –a fine of $1,000 -$2,000, up to nine months in jail, a mandatory ignition interlock,180 days to one-year license suspension, a mandatory one year of probation, a required psychosocial evaluation, 50 hours of community service, and a 10-day vehicle impoundment/immobilization.
- Third offense – a fine of $2,000 – $5,000, up to jail up to 12 months in jail, a mandatory ignition interlock; one-year license suspension, a mandatory year of probation; a required psychosocial evaluation, 50 hours community service, and a 90-day vehicle impoundment/immobilization.
- Third offense within 10 years of the second offense this is a felony that carries with it a minimum fine of $2,000- $5,000, up to 30 days to five years in jail, a mandatory ignition interlock, a 10-year mandatory license suspension, a mandatory year of probation, a required psychosocial evaluation, 50 hours community service, and a 90-day vehicle impoundment/immobilization.
- Fourth offense-This is a 3rd-degree felony and penalties include up to $5,000 in fines, a five-year prison sentence, and the penalties imposed for the third offense.
In short, Florida is not kidding around so make sure that you choose not to get behind the wheel while under the influence.
While texting and driving may not seem as bad to some as getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol it is not without consequences, and in the state of Florida, you will be penalized for it.
As of July 1, 2019 texting and driving will become a primary offense in the Sunshine State. Florida also has a ban on the use of all handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle with the only the following exceptions:
- When performing official duties as an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in s.322.01.
- If you are reporting an emergency or criminal or suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities.
- When you are receiving messages that are related to the operation or navigation of the motor vehicle or safety-related information
- When using the device or system for navigation purposes
- If you are conducting wireless interpersonal communications that do not require manual entry of multiple letters, numbers, or symbols
- When conducting wireless interpersonal communications that do not require reading text messages
- Or if you are operating an autonomous vehicle, as defined in s. 316.003
AAA also notes:
Use of cellular phone with a headset is permitted while driving if sound is provided through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with other ear. Localities are prohibited from regulation the use of commercial mobile radio services, including cell phones.
Driving in Florida
As you have seen so far, driving in Florida does not come without risk. The risks also extend themselves off the road as well.
Everything from road debris to vehicle theft and break-ins can cause you frustration and confusion that you never signed on for. Keep scrolling to find out how you can prevent theft or loss of your property as well as road fatalities.
Vehicle Theft in Florida
The number one car stolen in the Sunshine State is the Ford Pickup.
|Ford Pickup (Full Size)||1||2006||2,070|
|Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||7||2015||786|
|Dodge Pickup (Full Size)||9||2005||534|
Even if you don’t own any of the vehicles on this list it is still a good idea to invest in comprehensive car insurance just in case. Comprehensive covers your vehicle should it be stolen, vandalized, or befall a natural disaster.
Because thieves and natural disasters don’t discriminate any more than deer strikes do it an investment in comprehensive coverage can give you the peace of mind you need to rest insider while your car braves the elements outside.
Vehicle Thefts by City
The data below was gathered from the FBI website and shows the top 10 cities in Florida when it comes to the amount of vehicle theft.
|City||Motor Vehicle Thefts|
Looking at the numbers could fool you into thinking that cities like Jacksonville or Miami are dangerous places to live.
The reality is that these are two of Florida’s largest cities so the rate of car theft within them is relative considering their population size. Still, it is not a bad idea to consider carrying additional coverage options beyond the minimum state requirements just in case.
Road Fatalities in Florida
No one likes to think about it but sometimes driving can result in fatalities as a result of driver error or weather conditions.
Keep reading to see how Florida rates in this regard.
Fatal Crashes by Weather Conditions and Light Conditions
When it comes to the causes of an accident, negligence, distracted driving, and drugs or alcohol are not the only factors. Sometimes something as every day as weather conditions or light conditions can cause a traffic incident.
|Weather Condition||Daylight||Dark, but Lighted||Dark||Dawn or Dusk||Other / Unknown||Total|
As you can see, things such as rain or driving can really have an impact on driving conditions and your ability to handle your motor vehicle.
This is important to consider for Floridians shopping for car insurance and deciding on coverage types when you consider that four of the top 10 wettest cities in the United States are in the Sunshine State.
Driving defensively and obeying the traffic laws can go a long way towards keeping you safe then as conditions change.
Fatalities by County
Below is a table showing the five-year trend for the top 10 counties in Florida and their fatalities.
|Florida Counties by 2017 Ranking||2013 |
|Palm Beach County||137||130||187||181||162|
These numbers can seem scary if you live in one of these counties, but they don’t have to be. Defensive driving and obeying all traffic laws and posted speed limits can go a long way towards preventing anything from happening to you or the ones you love.
Urban vs. Rural Traffic Fatalities
It goes without saying that those who live in higher populated areas are more likely to be involved in a traffic accident.
Traffic fatalities do occur in rural areas though, and generally, they are caused by the top two things that cause almost all fatalities on Florida’s roadways: speed and driving under the influence.
The choice is simple then really; slow down, entertain responsibly, and obey all traffic laws and speed limitations while operating a motor vehicle.
The NHTSA has collected data on a variety of way to sort the fatality data for Florida. Keep scrolling to find out what these statistics mean to you.
Fatalities by Person Type
The data collected by NHTSA reveals that white-occupants and non-occupants are the most become fatalities statistics in an accident involving an automobile in Florida.
The second most likely to die in a car crash, both as occupants and non-occupants, are Hispanics followed closely by black, non-Hispanics. What this means is that everyone who drives in Florida should do so defensively. Drivers in the Sunshine state should also follow all traffic laws and posted speed limits.
Fatalities by Crash Type
NHTSA has also determined that accidents involving a single vehicle are the ones that are involved in the highest number of fatal crashes. Many of these fatal car accidents also involve a road departure.
Keeping your eye on the road and being aware of your surrounding at all times can help you limit the chances that you could become just another number. Keeping both hands on the wheel and avoiding distracted driving can also lower the chances of you or someone you love losing their life on a Florida highway.
Fatalities Involving Speed by County
We are all in a hurry to get somewhere, and everyone is pressed for time nowadays. Rushing around could cause a big delay though if your desire to get somewhere in a hurry results in a car accident.
|County||2013 Speeding Fatalities||2014 Speeding Fatalities||2015 Speeding Fatalities||2016 Speeding Fatalities||2017 Speeding Fatalities|
|Indian River County||0||1||2||3||0|
|Palm Beach County||19||15||37||31||18|
|Santa Rosa County||5||3||1||0||2|
|St. Johns County||5||6||2||1||4|
|St. Lucie County||5||0||3||3||4|
Speed is also one of the top reasons for traffic accidents in the Sunshine State overall.
In fact, almost 10 percent of the total fatal crashes in 2017 were caused by speed. It is better to arrive late than not at all, so slow down and watch where you are going. Your family and friends will thank you for it.
Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Person
Next to speeding, drunk driving is one of the top reasons for auto accident fatalities in the state of Florida.
|County||2013 alcohol fatalities||2014 alcohol fatalities||2015 alcohol fatalities||2016 alcohol fatalities||2017 alcohol fatalities|
|Indian River County||2||9||9||7||6|
|Palm Beach County||36||32||46||54||40|
|Santa Rosa County||15||4||7||2||4|
|St. Johns County||5||10||9||9||10|
|St. Lucie County||7||14||7||9||9|
Teen Drinking and Driving
Florida ranks 47th nationwide in the number of DUI arrests of people who under the age of 18. In fact, in 2018 alone there were 109 such arrests.
Be aware that if you are caught drinking and driving while under the age of 21 your sentencing could include:
- If you are under 21 Driver with BAC of .02% or above (first offense): your driver’s license will be suspended for six months. If this is not your first offense then your license will be suspended for one year.
- If you are a driver who is under 21 and you refuse the breath or blood test your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. If this is your second or more refusal you will lose your license for 18 months.
- Drivers who are under 18 Driver with a BAC of .02% or above will be charged with DUI and will face a six-month license suspension for their first offense and a mandatory evaluation at an addictions facility and/or be forced to complete an alcohol education program.
- If you are under 21 with BAC of .08% or above you face possible conviction of DUI. If found guilty you will be subject to the same penalties as a driver aged 21 or older.
If you are a teenager who is considering underage drinking then it is best to reconsider. The fines, penalties, and damage to your future are not worth the risk; not to mention that you could lose your life!
EMS Response Time
Should you be involved in an accident with injuries it is nice to know that help is just a phone call away.
The response time may vary for you though depending on whether your accident occurred in an urban versus a rural setting.
If you are in a rural setting the time it takes to get to you from the moment that EMS has been notified that you are in need of assistance is about 10 minutes. This is also the typical time that it takes in an urban setting. Very rarely is the wait time over 20 minutes in either setting as well.
This is not a bad response time either when you consider that rural fatality crashes that require EMS assistance total around 6,800 with urban fatality crashes totaling around 7,000. This means that 49 percent of the time in a rural setting, and 83 percent of the time in urban ones, the EMS is on the scene in less time than it takes to boil noodles.
There are a lot of ways to get around in the Sunshine State. From boat to bus, from the trolly to the tram, Floridians really are on the go.
Given the independent nature of Floridians, it should come as no surprise that most residents prefer to get around using their private automobiles.
More cars mean more traffic incidents as we mentioned before. Keep reading to find out what all of this means for you and your quest to find the right car insurance provider to suit your needs.
In 2017 Data USA reported that the typical Florida household owns two cars as the chart below demonstrates.
Owning two cars means twice the price when it comes time to shop for car insurance which is where we can help by providing you the data that you need to make an informed decision. Given the average commute time in Florida, you will definitely need this information to as you determine just how much coverage you will need.
As we talked about before, how far you drive annually as one of the markers that car insurance providers use to determine your rate. The chart below gives you a good idea of just how long it takes Floridians to get where they are going.
As you can tell, the car culture of independence and freedom is alive and well on Florida’s roadways resulting in an average commute time for drivers that is around 30-34 minutes.
This is close to the national average though so, even as it may seem like the commutes in Florida take forever, residents of the Sunshine State are not really spending more time in traffic than the other Americans across the country relatively speaking.
Looking at the chart below makes it clear just how independent Florida drivers really are. With more drivers who choose to drive alone, this means more cars on the road and that means that who you chose as your car insurance provider in the Sunshine State makes a huge difference.
Although the chart above does not reflect it, many Floridians who walk or ride their bicycle might benefit from having the right car insurance coverage as well since having their own PIP coverage can help them out should they ever get struck by a car.
This is all the more reason to understand car insurance and the overall car culture in the great state of Florida before you decide on your car insurance provider.
Traffic Congestion in Florida
According to World Atlas, the five biggest cities in Florida are:
- Miami with a population of approximately 5,502,379
- Tampa-St. Petersburg with a population of approximately 2,441,770
- Orlando with a population of approximately 1,510,516
- Jacksonville with a population of approximately 1,065,219
- Sarasota-Bradenton with a population of approximately 643,260
It comes as no surprise then that these cities also rank among the top cities with the most congestion. More congestion translates into more time to get where you want to go within these cities as well.
Ranked as the 73rd most congested city in the world, congestion costs the average driver in Miami $1,470 a year. Drivers in Tampa pay a similar cost of $1,216 per year in this city ranked 87th.
The largest cities in Florida are not the only ones with congestion headaches though.
Floridians ranked 12th nationally in 2014 when it came to how congested it was. Floridians also lost 52 hours per auto commuter to congestion-related delay.
41 percent of total delay occurred at midday, and during overnight hours which are not peak times of the day.
Overall, congestion cost Floridians around $8.75 billion annually in 2014, and as the population of the Sunshine State increases this amount is likely to go up as well. This is definitely something to think about as you start to look around at your options when it comes to car insurance.
All of the information that we have provided is aimed at helping you become an informed consumer when sifting through your options for a car insurance provider. After all, Florida drivers spend a lot of time in traffic and time is money so, as one of them, shouldn’t you get the most for your money when shopping for car insurance?