Yes, it does exist, though it might take some searching.
While there’s a lot to enjoy about the Sunshine State, residents also have to deal with high insurance prices. According to recent data, Florida car insurance is the fourth most expensive in the nation on average. And while you can’t just change your zip code or driving record on a whim, you can shop with providers that offer good rates.
We recently dove into a market review of over 30 car insurance brands nationwide to help you find the best coverage for your car. We found that the best Florida car insurance providers are USAA and Progressive.
Though we think that these companies offer the best deals, we strongly encourage you to get quotes from other providers in order to compare them, as the quotes will depend on several factors specific to you.
In this article:
- State Financial Responsibility Laws
- Florida Car Insurance Requirements
- What Happens When Insurance Doesn’t Cover The Costs?
- SR-22 Florida Auto Insurance Requirements
- FR-44 Florida Auto Insurance Requirements
- Average Florida Car Insurance Costs
- USAA: Cheapest Auto Insurance In Florida
- Progressive: Second Best Florida Car Insurance Option
State Financial Responsibility Laws
To set the scene, we should touch on state financial responsibility laws. Each state requires its residents to provide proof that they can handle the financial responsibility of a car accident. By far, the most common way states do this is by requiring car insurance. There are a couple of states that don’t require you to carry a policy, but you do have to prove that you have the financial means to offer restitution after an accident. However, Florida is not one of those states.
In Florida, things are a bit different from most states. Many other states require bodily injury liability (BI) coverage, which covers the other party if you cause an accident. However, Florida requires personal injury protection (PIP) instead. PIP covers medical expenses for yourself after an accident, no matter who was at fault. Florida also requires property damage liability (PDL), which is common to most other states as well.
Florida Is A No-Fault State
Imagine that you’re sitting at a stoplight, waiting for the light to turn green. A car comes down the road behind you and rear-ends your car. Now, you might assume that the accident was the other driver’s fault. Well, in Florida, it’s nobody’s fault.
Florida has a no-fault car insurance system. That means you turn to your own insurance company to claim injury coverage whether you caused an accident or not. If you have the minimum required coverage, you don’t risk not being able to cover the other party’s medical expenses. You risk not covering your own.
However, the scenario above is a bit simplistic. As we mentioned before, Florida also requires property damage liability, and this coverage does care about who was at fault. So, let’s say you had a $2,000 bill for a neck brace and whiplash treatment. Your own PIP coverage would pay for this. In addition to that, your car sustained $3,000 in damage from the accident. The other driver’s property damage liability would pay for that.
No-Fault Pros And Cons
The advantage of a no-fault system is that you can get medical payment coverage right away. You don’t have to file a claim with another insurance company and go back and forth with that company. However, there are some downsides to the no-fault system. Florida requires that you seek coverage from your PIP plan before health insurance, and some people take advantage of the system. PIP claims fraud is not uncommon, and the Insurance Research Council found that Floridians claim about 50 percent more on their injuries than the nationwide average.
The high cost of claims one reason why Florida car insurance rates are so expensive. Forty years ago, almost half of the United States had no-fault insurance systems. Today, only 12 states still do. Colorado switched to an at-fault system in 2004. Insurance rates went down, and fewer people went uninsured because of that. The Florida legislature may do the same one day, but the no-fault system is here to stay for now.
Florida Car Insurance Requirements
We’ve talked about general Florida car insurance requirements, but let’s break them down further:
Personal Injury Protection
At a minimum, Florida requires drivers to carry $10,000 in PIP coverage. This is also the maximum amount that you can have. PIP pays 80 percent of medical costs for things like hospitalization, surgery, and medication. It also covers 60 percent of lost wages for the time spent recovering and $5,000 in death benefits. However, if the accident results in an injury that is not an emergency (a neck or back strain, for example), you can only claim $2,500. Also, you can only get coverage if you file a claim within two weeks of an accident.
Property Damage Liability
Florida also requires drivers to carry $10,000 in PDL. Through this coverage, the at-fault driver pays for damage to the other party’s property. This coverage applies per accident and is given out on a first-come, first-served basis. If you bump into a car that bumps into another one, the $10,000 is for both cars. If each car needs $7,000 in repairs, the second driver to claim property damage won’t get the full amount from your coverage.
In Florida, those are the basic car insurance requirements. If you think these requirements are pretty low, you’re right. Every other state requires at least $15,000 in medical coverage (whether that’s bodily injury or PIP). Also, $10,000 for property damage is pretty low too, and only 12 other states require that level of coverage.
Under certain circumstances, you might be required to carry bodily injury liability, but we’ll get to that in a minute. For extra medical coverage, you can also opt to add medical payments (MedPay) to your plan. This acts like PIP except it doesn’t pay lost wages. MedPay can boost your medical coverage and also help pay for the 20 percent that PIP doesn’t cover.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist is another optional coverage. This will help cover medical and property damage in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist. It’s probably a good idea to have uninsured motorist coverage with your Florida car insurance since the state had an uninsured rate of 26.7 percent in 2015, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
What Happens When Insurance Doesn’t Cover The Costs?
You might assume that in a no-fault state, you don’t really have any responsibility when you cause an accident. However, that’s not the case. As we just mentioned, Florida requires people to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP, but that’s also the maximum they can carry. Florida also does not require people to purchase MedPay, so many people only have PIP.
Now, let’s say you caused a severe accident and the other driver claimed $20,000 in medical bills. Their own PIP would cover $10,000 of that amount, but Florida law allows them to sue you for the other $10,000. Under a personal injury lawsuit, the other driver could sue for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
The other driver can also sue you if they suffer a permanent injury from the accident. Permanent injury includes:
- Loss of an important bodily function
That’s why it’s a good idea to carry bodily injury liability on your plan. That coverage will pay for the other party’s medical costs in an accident that you cause. PIP gets used first, but BI is there to safeguard against lawsuits when claims go beyond the limit.
SR-22 Florida Auto Insurance Requirements
While there is no BI requirement on the general public, Florida requires drivers who have caused any degree of injury in an accident to carry it. If you don’t carry it at the time of an accident, you have to file an SR-22 and purchase minimum BI coverages. This form carries a small fee and certifies that you will have BI for the next three years. The state minimum requirements for BI in Florida are:
- $10,000 BI per person: This coverage pays for the other driver’s medical expenses when you are at fault in an accident.
- $20,000 BI per accident: Your BI needs to at least cover $20,000 per accident. This works similarly to property damage liability and is given out on a first-come, first-served basis.
FR-44 Florida Auto Insurance Requirements
The FR-44 certificate also requires a minimum level of BI coverage. Drivers who are convicted of a DUI are required to file this form and purchase:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
These minimums are a lot higher, but that’s because a drunk driver can cause a lot more damage. Auto insurance rates are also higher for people with FR-44 certificates.
Average Florida Car Insurance Costs
Florida car insurance is complex, and many different things influence the price. While high mileage drivers tend to see higher rates, Floridian drivers as a whole drive a bit less than the national average. Federal Highway Administration data show that Americans average 13,476 miles per year, but drivers in Florida actually drive about 12,000 miles per year.
Even so, there are a lot of other drivers in the state to crash into. According to Florida Highway Safety And Motor Vehicles data, there were 17 million licensed drivers in 2018. The department also recorded 400,000 crashes that year. If we assume that one crash involves two drivers, each driver has a percent chance of being involved in an accident per year. Of course, this estimate doesn’t take things like county populations or driver demographics into account, but it’s good to have an idea of the risk since crashes can raise your rates.
Costs can vary day-by-day and will also depend on your location, driving history, and more. Use our tool to get the best quotes available:
Breaking Down The Numbers
According to a recent study by The Zebra, Florida auto insurance costs $949 on average for minimum coverage and $2,286 for full coverage with a low deductible. The average for the state is $2,059 which is significantly higher than the nationwide average of $1,470. Also, Florida car insurance has spiked in price over the past decade – it grew 50 percent from 2011 to 2018, which is a lot more than the national growth of 23 percent.
Now, these averages might not be what you see in your area. Many people know that the county they live in matters, but prices can even fluctuate between zip codes. For example, Miami is an expensive place to be insured, not to mention you might have a higher chance of smashing into a Lamborghini Aventador.
The cheapest places are rural areas and middle-class suburbs. Even though Florida auto insurance costs a lot in some areas, other areas are cheaper and balance out the state average. See how insurance in your specific area compares to the state average:
USAA: Cheapest Auto Insurance In Florida
If you’re really looking for the cheapest car insurance in Florida, you can’t go wrong with USAA car insurance. Floridians with USAA pay about $1,000 for their yearly policy on average. The average price includes people on a range of policies, from the minimum to full coverage. Depending on the coverage options you want, you might see a higher price. Plus, USAA doesn’t add a fee to break your policy up into monthly payments.
We recently compared many popular car insurance companies and ranked USAA the best across the country, as well – giving the provider 5 out of 5 stars. After digging into the company, we found plenty of positive qualities. It has great financials according to its AM Best rating of A++, and it wrote over $14 billion in premiums in 2018, according to the National.
Looking at customer service, USAA got a 900/1,000 score on J.D. Power’s 2019 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, which was higher than any other company except for NJM Insurance Co., which it tied with and which is not available in Florida. USAA also scored 896/1,000 on J.D. Power’s 2019 Insurance Shopping Study for its great quotes experience. That was the second highest score only behind Erie Insurance (though that provider also doesn’t operate in Florida).
You might be thinking, “Well that’s great, but who can get it?” When most people think of USAA, they think you have to be in the military or a direct family member to get it. However, it’s actually open to more people than that. USAA is available for:
- U.S. military members who are active, retired, honorably separated, or enlisted
- Candidates in commissioning programs (ROTC, Academy, OCS/OTS)
- Spouses and children of USAA members who have or had an auto or property policy
Notice how it doesn’t say spouses and children of military members. Once someone in your family has a USAA auto or property policy, they pass that eligibility on. It does have to start with someone who was in the military, so if someone in your family is in the service, encourage them to join.
Once someone becomes a USAA member, eligibility can spread throughout an entire family tree even if no one else is in the military. Let’s say your grandfather became a member. Now, all of his kids are eligible. If your parents get a policy, now you are eligible. Your spouse and kids could be eligible if you signed up for a policy as well.
Remember, this eligibility tree only applies to people who have purchased home insurance or car insurance through USAA, not people who only have a USAA bank account. If you meet any of these qualifications, you’ll have a hard time finding a lower price for Florida car insurance. With the combination of price and customer service, we think USAA is the best car insurance in Florida, hands down.
Progressive: Second Best Florida Car Insurance Option
At the end of the day, not everyone can get a USAA policy. That’s why we think you should also check out Progressive car insurance for cheap auto insurance in Florida. While it offers some of the best rates, it is a bit more expensive than USAA. People pay about $1,800 on average for a yearly plan, though that’s still below the state’s average.
Progressive came in third place in our car insurance research, behind Geico auto insurance in second, but we found that Progressive offered better rates in Florida. As another nationwide full-service company, Progressive has a lot going for it. The company has an AM Best rating of A+ and has brought new innovations to the car insurance market since its inception in 1937. For example, Progressive was the first car insurance company to sell policies online.
Looking at customer service, Progressive fared average in both of the studies by J.D. Power mentioned above. While there might be other companies with better customer service, we think Progressive offers the best rates for Floridians who can’t get USAA.
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