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|Florida Statistics Summary||Details|
|Road Miles||Total in State: 122,391|
Vehicle Miles Driven: 201.04 Billion
|Driving Deaths||Speeding: 299 - 10%|
Drunk Driving: 839 - 27%
Total Stolen: 42,579
|Most Popular Vehicle||Toyota Corolla|
|Average Premiums (Annual)||Liability: $858|
Full Coverage: $1,257
|Percent of Motorists Uninsured||26.7%|
State Rank: 1st
Finding unbiased, accurate information about your state can be nearly impossible these days.
As you’ve probably learned the hard way, you can’t always trust what you read online. Which is why we felt it was important that we create this state guide to lay out the cross-checked facts for you.
We do not sell car insurance, but we do have a team of experts who study traffic accident trends, rate changes, vehicle expenses, insurance laws (and much more). Once we confirm and analyze the data, we do our best to keep – YOU – our beloved readers in the know.
This Florida guide will cover all the must-know facts on the topics of traffic, insurance, and the general rules of the road.
Whether you live, work, or vacation in Florida, our comprehensive guide is designed for you. This should be your most-trusted source for comparing insurance providers, monthly rates, coverage options, and more.
Before we get started, you should try out our free comparison tool. You just enter your zip code to compare a few of the top car insurance policies in your area.
Florida Car Insurance Coverage and Rates
The biggest question in car insurance: “What will it cost!?” Because that’s what is going to affect you directly – accident or not – you’ll be paying. When it hits the wallet it hits close to home.
Have you tried to Google how much the top insurers in your state charge for the coverage you need? Before this guide, you’d be on a frustrating, time-draining wild goose chase with no definitive answers.
If you are looking for EXACT dollar amounts that specific car insurance companies are charging without having to provide all of your personal information . . . then you came to the right place. This is the guide for you.
Florida Minimum Coverage Requirements
|Coverage Type||Also Called||Minimum Required|
|Personal Injury Protection||PIP||$10,000|
|Property Damage Liability||PDL||$10,000|
Clear as mud!? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. These car insurance terms are confusing for most people.
And, to make matters even more confusing some sources, including Insurance Information Institute (III), list Florida as a 10/20/10 state.
Here’s what 10/20/10 means:
- 1st number: (10 = $10,000) This is the bodily injury liability (BIL) required. It covers one person who is injured in one accident
- 2nd number: (20 = $20,000) This is the BIL that covers all of the people who are injured in one accident
- 3rd number: (10 = $10,000) This is the property damage liability (PDL) required. It covers the damages – you’re responsible for – to other people’s property
Florida is one of only two states (New Hampshire is the other) that does NOT require bodily injury liability.
In stark contrast, 44 states require at least $20,000 in bodily injury liability coverage and some require as much as $50,000.
The reason why III and others still list BIL minimums for Florida is because of the Florida Financial Responsibility Act, which requires that if you’re found to have caused an accident, you’ll be required to cover $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident.
If you’re found to be at-fault without bodily injury liability coverage, you could quickly go bankrupt trying to pay out-of-pocket for all the expenses you caused.
As stated in the above news report this could change, but as of now Florida is one of 10 states that require drivers to have at least $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
PIP is also known as “no-fault coverage” because after an accident it will pay for your bills regardless of who was at fault.
Here is the breakdown of what (and how much) PIP will cover:
- 80% of medical bills: pays for surgeries, prescriptions, ambulance fees, rehabilitation, glasses, hearing aids etc
- 60% of lost wages: pays you back for your actual lost income and your lost earning capacity
- 100% of services: pays for services for things you can no longer do such as cleaning or yard work
- 100% of mileage: pays for the mileage you log going back and forth to the doctors’ offices and rehab centers
- $5,000 death benefit: if someone on your policy dies; this is in addition to the $10,000 for the above four categories
Important! Personal injury protection claims must be made within 14 days of the accident.
Forms of Financial Responsibility Required in Florida
Do you already carry the minimum car insurance required by Florida law? If you can answer “yes,” that’s great! But it’s not enough.
Every time you drive on Florida public roads, you must carry tangible proof that you and your vehicle are insured by an agent who works for a company licensed to sell auto insurance in Florida.
If you are involved in an accident or pulled over by a police officer, you MUST be able to show proof of insurance (POI) which includes the following:
- Insurance company
- Policy information
- Effective dates
If you can’t show proof of your insurance, you will be given a ticket and lose your license. You will not receive a temporary or restricted license in the meantime. You will have your driving privileges fully revoked until you pay the penalty and reinstatement fees, provide proof of insurance, and reapply for a new Florida license.
The chart below shows the price you’ll have to pay in order to get your license back:
|Driving without Insurance||Fine|
|3 or more||$500|
There’s no excuse to be driving without insurance. Don’t get behind the wheel without it. The below video provides tips for how you can protect yourself from the irresponsible uninsured motorists on the roads around you in Florida:
Don’t live in Florida but own a car that does? You still need Florida insurance for that vehicle. Below is the exact wording of Florida’s state law on this:
“Any person who has a vehicle in Florida for more than 90 days during a 365-day period must purchase personal injury protection and property damage liability insurance coverage. The 90 days do not have to be consecutive.”
Premiums as a Percentage of Income in Florida
|Disposable Personal Income||$37,195||$36,606||$38,350|
|Full Coverage Premiums||$1,197||$1,210||$1,209|
|Percent of Income||3.22%||3.30%||3.15%|
Disposable Personal Income (DPI) = the money you earn before you pay your bills but after you take out what you’re required to pay in taxes.
Check out how quickly an income of $75,000 drops after taxes are deducted in top cities across the country:
A nice income of $75,000 quickly becomes $60,996 after taxes, and then you still have all your bills to pay including $1,209 a year for car insurance.
As a Florida resident, you should anticipate paying over three percent of your income for the state minimum required car insurance.
Curious how Florida’s premiums-to-income ratio compares to nearby states? Check out the graph we made below to show just that:
Each state’s percentage didn’t fluctuate much from year-to-year, but Florida’s premiums-to-income percentage was significantly higher all three years.
The nearly one percent difference you see above between Alabama and Florida quickly translates to spending about $400 more of your hard-earned disposable income on car insurance.
Let’s take a closer look at disposable income versus auto insurance premiums in those same neighboring five states for 2014:
While the average DPI is higher in Florida, so is the percentage of that income that state residents are required to spend on auto insurance.
Curious what percentage of your precious income you’re spending on car insurance? Take our calculator for a spin:
Seem high? That’s because it is. Florida has the fourth most expensive car insurance (compared to income) in the entire United States.
Core Coverage Costs in Florida
The average full coverage car insurance costs in Florida were almost identical from 2013 to 2014, then 2015 experienced the biggest price increase in five years.
Here’s how those costs compared to the states nearest Florida and the national average:
See that spike in the above graph? Yep, that’s Florida.
Florida’s car insurance coverage has been consistently more expensive than the states nearby and the national average by $200 to $400 a year.
Additional Liability Coverage in Florida
|Medical Payments (Med Pay)||74%||73%||81%|
|Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM)||73%||80%||86%|
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||75%||62%||76%|
While personal injury protection (PIP) is required in Florida, medical payments (Med Pay), uninsured, and underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage are all optional.
Remember! Just because a coverage isn’t required doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t invest in it.
Florida is ranked first for having the most uninsured motorist in the entire country. An alarming 27 percent of the motorists on Florida roadways were driving without car insurance in 2015.
What does this mean? Uninsured motorists do not have ANY help paying for damages and injuries they cause in an accident. If you sue them, they will likely go bankrupt before they can pay even a small portion of all the bills you will rake in.
That’s when the additional coverage listed above is such a huge help to you, the responsible driver. If you get in an accident with an uninsured motorist, your PIP, Med Pay, and UM/UIM coverage will pay those bills while you focus on getting a working vehicle, your health, and your life back.
With over a quarter of all the motorists on Florida roads driving illegally without car insurance, you better not get behind the wheel without PIP at the VERY least.
Okay let’s talk loss ratio.
On average auto insurance providers paid for claims amounting to 76 percent of the premiums Florida residents paid for the additional liability coverage options: PIP, UM/UIM, and Med Pay.
Loss ratio is a lot more simple then it sounds. Here’s an example of Florida’s 76 percent loss ratio: you pay $1,000 for coverage and your provider pays $760 for damages— not bad at all.
Florida’s loss ratio for additional liability coverage has been right where you want it. Here’s what can happen if they get too high or too low:
- If the loss ratio is too high, the insurance provider will soon be raising the rates in order to keep the business running
- If the loss ratio is too low, it means that the insurance provider is not paying out all of the claims they should be
Professional advice: be sure to look at the provider’s loss ratio when choosing where to get your car insurance. Don’t just focus on what you’ll be charged, but more importantly, the insurance you will get back for that money you invest.
Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders in Florida
- Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
- Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
- Rental Reimbursement
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- Non-Owner Car Insurance
- Modified Car Insurance Coverage
- Classic Car Insurance
Pay-As-You-Drive or Usage-Based Insurance in Florida
This type of insurance goes by a few names – eight actually if you count the abbreviations too:
- Pay-as-you-drive (PAYD)
- Usage-based insurance (UBI)
- Pay-how-you-drive (PHYD)
All of the above terms refer to one thing: car insurance companies using telematics to determine how you drive. Usually your provider will use the driving data provided to adjust your premiums.
The box below lists four of the most popular usage-based programs that are available in Florida. Click on the program name for more details.
|Insurance Company||Program Name||What it Can Save You|
|Allstate||Drivewise||- up to 10% at sign up|
- up to 30% based on driving
|Nationwide||SmartRide||- 10% at sign up|
- up to 40% based on driving
|Progressive||Snapshot||- up to 30% based on driving|
- on average: $130
|State Farm||Drive Safe & Save||- about 5% at sign up|
- up to 30% based on driving
Currently, most auto insurance providers offer a telematics program that help streamline your coverage and can lower your rates based on your driving and mileage.
Be sure to ask your local agent. Don’t have one yet? Use our free tool below to find the best provider for you:
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Car Insurance Rates in Florida by Gender and Age
|Company||Single Female Age-17||Single Male Age-17||Single Female Age-25||Single Male Age-25||Married Female Age-35||Married Male Age-35||Married Female Age-60||Married Male Age-60|
As you can see, your age and gender make a big difference in how much you pay for your car insurance.
On average in Florida, a 17-year-old male can be expected to pay $15,654 more a year than a 60-year-old male.
Essentially this means that a teen boy living in Florida is having to spend more on car insurance than he would on buy his very first car.
In addition to getting older, getting married can grant you lower rates too.
Plus, each provider charges their own rates (within state laws). Take a look at this graph comparing three of the largest car insurance providers in Florida:
All three providers charge teen drivers thousands more a year, but Allstate clearly puts a drastically high price tag on 17-year-old drivers’ auto premiums.
Speaking from experience as a dad of two teen drivers and insurance agent, Dan Weedin shares helpful tips for how you can lower your teen’s car insurance rates in the eHow video below:
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates in Florida by Zip Code
The zip code in Florida with the cheapest car insurance is found in Waldo where the premiums are $4,150 less a year than they are in parts of Miami.
This rate chart is a perfect example of why price comparing is so important in car insurance. In Tampa for example, Allstate charges an average of $8,889 more a year than Geico. That is no little difference.
Take a look at the rates from the same three providers (compared above) in the five most and least expensive parts of Florida:
Allstate’s car insurance rates are drastically higher in many parts of Florida, especially Tampa.
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates in Florida by City
Miami holds the top seven most expensive areas in Florida for car insurance, and Gainesville has the most zip codes with the least expensive car insurance in the state.
Here’s how the five most and least expensive areas in Florida compare to the state average for their car insurance rates:
How do your car insurance rates compare to Florida’s average annual cost of $4,681? Stick with us, and we can help you keep your rates below the average.
Best Florida Car Insurance Companies
Commercials, flyers, billboards, emails, Facebook ads . . . car insurance companies seem to be everywhere these days. Do you feel overwhelmed by the topic? Does it seem impossible to know who you can trust in the insurance world? You’re not alone.
You face a personal, highly sensitive decision of where to invest your hard-earned money.
It’s essential that you know – without a doubt – that your insurance will fully cover costly damages and medical care you and your family could desperately need in the horrible event of a crash.
This is a MAJOR decision that no one should take lightly. Keep reading for some quick, essential statistics about the car insurance companies in Florida. This guide will help you know who you can trust.
Don’t worry, we are an impartial source—we do not work for any of these companies. We’re just rounding up and laying out the must-know facts for our readers.
Let’s start by looking at the financial strength of the biggest car insurance providers in Florida.
Financial Ratings of the LARGEST Companies in Florida
|Group (by Size: Largest at the Top)||A.M. Best Rating|
You probably recognize those grades we all wanted in school, but do you know what they mean when it comes to an insurer’s financial standing?
Here’s the rating guide straight from A.M. Best (Text too small? Click on the image for full size):
Four of the largest auto insurance companies in Florida have the highest A.M. Best score possible (A++) thanks to a “superior ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations.”
Everyone deserves the peace of mind that their insurance provider will pay for any and all claims they owe.
Companies with the BEST Ratings in Florida
J.D. Power has been successfully collecting and analyzing the opinions of consumers around the world for over 50 years. Here is what they found in their most recent study regarding customer satisfaction of their car insurance companies:
USAA (only for military families) and MetLife are the only two companies in Florida to receive J.D. Power’s highest rating: “Among the best.”
The phenomenal score of 849 (23 points higher than the national average) proves that MetLife’s Florida customers have been very happy overall. What’s impressive is that MetLife and USAA scored higher than the most well-known names in car insurance.
J.D. Power shared insight from their findings in this 2018 auto insurance study:
“Overall satisfaction tends to be highest when customers interact via a mix of online and offline methods of communication…When there is an insurer-initiated premium increase, it is important to communicate that an increase is coming.”
Car insurance customers want multiple ways to get the info and help they need, and they want to be warned before their rates go up. That’s not much to ask. Good job, MetLife.
Companies with MOST Complaints in Florida
What’s just as telling as financial strength and happy customers? . . . the NOT-so-happy customers.
That’s why we found the complaint index for the 30 largest car insurance companies in Florida.
Complaint index is a weighted ratio of the number of consumer complaints filed with the Department of Insurance against the number of premiums written by that same insurance company.
The below chart ranks the largest Florida providers by the number of confirmed complaints that have been filed against them. The car insurance companies with the highest complaint ratios are the at top.
- Ranking of 1 = Least Complaints
- Ranking of 30 = Most Complaints
|Company||Premiums||Market Share||Complaint Index||Rank|
|Florida Farm Bureau||$150,242,065||0.8%||0.41||4|
A complaint index of one is average. Here’s a visual for the five best and worst Florida car insurance providers (out of the 30 largest) according to their complaint index:
It’s very impressive when a provider can maintain a high market share and low complaint index such the below five (pulled from the above table):
|Company||Market Share||Complaint Index||Rank|
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Florida
Through a partnership with the data powerhouse, Quadrant, we were able to collect average car insurance rates drilled down to specific coverage and driver details.
Our team of experts analyzed and organized the – exact dollar amount – average annual premiums across hundreds of categories for each of the largest car insurance providers in the nation by market share.
Three of those top ten did not have rate information in Florida. Those three were:
Here are the remaining top seven providers, their average annual rates, and how they compare to the state average for car insurance costs in Florida. They are listed by what they charge, cheapest at the top:
|Company||Average||$ Difference||% Difference|
Since 65 percent of the population are visual learners, we made a graph to illustrate the above info for you. Here are the average annual rates the top five auto insurance providers in Florida charge:
In the same state, one company charges an average of $4,591 more a year for the same coverage.
We can’t repeat enough how important it is to price compare and shop around before choosing your car insurance provider. Just enter your zip code into our free comparison tool to get started.
Rates by Commute and Miles in Florida
Most car insurance companies factor the length of your commute to and from work every day and the total miles you drive each year into how much they are going to charge you for your car insurance coverage.
Here’s a chart that shows the average annual rates top providers in Florida charge according to how much you drive each day and all year:
|Commute & Miles||Company||Rate|
|Commute: 10 miles|
Annual Miles: 6,000
|Commute: 25 miles|
Annual Miles: 12,000
|Commute: 10 miles|
Annual Miles: 6,000
|Commute: 25 miles|
Annual Miles: 12,000
|Commute: 10 miles|
Annual Miles: 6,000
|Commute: 25 miles|
Annual Miles: 12,000
|Commute: 10 miles|
Annual Miles: 6,000
|Commute: 25 miles|
Annual Miles: 12,000
|Commute: 10 miles|
Annual Miles: 6,000
|Commute: 25 miles|
Annual Miles: 12,000
|Commute: 10 miles|
Annual Miles: 6,000
|Commute: 25 miles|
Annual Miles: 12,000
|Commute: 10 miles|
Annual Miles: 6,000
|Commute: 25 miles|
Annual Miles: 12,000
Did you catch it? Not all car insurance providers are going to increase your rates based on how much you drive.
Key fact: Nationwide and Progressive’s premiums do not increase when the commute and annual miles driven are doubled.
Do you have a long commute to work every day? Take weekend road trips whenever possible? Have a child on a travel team?. . . Regardless the reason, if you shop around you probably can avoid being penalized for those extra miles.
Rates by Coverage Level in Florida
Another big factor that affects the cost of your car insurance is how much coverage you invest in. You might be thinking, “Well, DUH!” How much you buy is always going to change the price.
But, the rates are not always what you’d expect. The chart below might surprise you.
Here are the average annual premiums from the top car insurance providers in Florida based on the level of coverage you buy:
If you price compare the rates from the providers in your area you could end up paying less for more coverage.
According to the average rates in Florida, you could pay $1,122 less for a high level of coverage from State Farm than for low coverage from Liberty Mutual.
Since the above table makes it difficult to compare the costs for the same coverage from different providers, we created the below visual:
On average with the top providers in Florida, the annual price jump from low to medium coverage is $940, and the jump from medium to high coverage is only $476 a year.
With Liberty Mutual, you can raise your coverage from low all the way to high for as little as $67 a month. And, military families insured by USAA can for even cheaper, just $60 a month.
What’s even more important than keeping your premiums low is making sure you have sufficient coverage. Remember, investing in a higher level of coverage will likely save you thousands in out-of-pocket-expenses after an accident.
Rates by Credit History in Florida
The way your car insurance rates are determined have changed a lot over the past decade.
The biggest cost factors have shifted from how safely you drive to how you shop and your credit score.
Consumer Reports conducted a massive study analyzing over two billion price quotes across the U.S. which revealed the following:
“What we found is that behind the rate quotes is a pricing process that judges you less on driving habits and increasingly on socioeconomic factors. These include your credit history, whether you use department-store or bank credit cards, and even your TV provider.”
The below chart lays out the average annual rates the top providers in Florida charge depending on your credit score:
The biggest providers in Florida all continually raise the price of your car insurance the lower your credit score gets.
Here’s a visual that more specifically compares the cost by credit score level:
Look at all that orange! Drops in your credit score will cause serious spikes to your car insurance premiums.
A fair credit score is going to mean an average annual rate increase of $783, and a poor score will cost you another $2,203 a year.
Someone with a poor credit score in Florida should expect to pay $2,987 more a year than someone with a good credit score.
Here’s the average annual rates and percent of increase you should expect based on your credit score in Florida:
- Good Credit (670+) = average annual premiums: $3,424
- Fair Credit (580-669) = 11-38 percent increase: $4,207
- Poor Credit (300-579) = 51-182 percent increase: $6,410
The national average credit score in 2017 was the highest it had been in five years, a “good” score of 675. In Florida the average credit score was slightly lower at a “fair” score of 668.
How does your credit score compare to the norm? Count on this: working diligently to raise your credit score will save you some serious dough on your car insurance payments.
Rates by Driving Record in Florida
You should know this by know, but just in case you don’t . . . how you drive WILL affect how much you pay for your car insurance no matter where you live.
It’s also important to know that every car insurance provider handles claims and moving violations differently. Some insurers will drastically raise your rates, while others will let you stay at your current price point even after you make a costly mistake.
Here are the average annual rates the top providers in Florida charge based on your driving record:
|USAA||1 Speeding Ticket||$2,342|
|State Farm||Clean Record||$3,105|
|State Farm||1 DUI||$3,398|
|State Farm||1 Speeding Ticket||$3,398|
|State Farm||1 Accident||$3,690|
|Liberty Mutual||Clean Record||$3,869|
|Nationwide||1 Speeding Ticket||$4,115|
|Geico||1 Speeding Ticket||$4,116|
|Liberty Mutual||1 Accident||$5,026|
|Liberty Mutual||1 Speeding Ticket||$5,285|
|Progressive||1 Speeding Ticket||$5,916|
|Allstate||1 Speeding Ticket||$7,120|
|Liberty Mutual||1 DUI||$7,292|
As the above attorney explains, Florida state law prohibits insurance providers from increasing your car insurance rates after an accident unless you were found to be at least partially at fault.
Keep in mind, the rate increases you see in the chart above after “one accident” are ones in which the insured customer was found to have some level of fault in the accident.
Since it’s tricky to compare all those rates, we broke down each event and associated increase for you below:
|Company||Clean Record||Rate Increase: Speeding||Rate Increase: Accident||Rate Increase: DUI|
Most car insurance providers increase your rates in the following order (higher increases from left to right):
Clean Record >> One Speeding Ticket >> One Accident >> One DUI
However – like most things in the insurance world – there are exceptions to this. For example:
Geico, Liberty Mutual, and Nationwide charge more for a speeding ticket than an at-fault accident, and what’s more surprising is that Progressive and State Farm charge more for one accident than a DUI.
Here’s a visual to help you see what each event will cost you:
The rows that only show two colors are when the provider doesn’t have a rate increase for that claim or violation.
News Flash! Not only will accidents and violations raise your rates, but safe driving can actually do the opposite—lower them.
For instance, if you maintain a driving record that’s free of at-fault accidents and major violations for five years, Nationwide will lower your premiums by up to 10 percent.
Do you have a teen driver on your policy who added a claim to your once pristine record? Be sure to shop around, many of the biggest and best providers offer accident forgiveness.
Largest Car Insurance Companies in Florida
|Company||Premiums Written||Market Share||Rank|
Why is it important to know who the largest auto insurance providers are in your state? Because the biggest insurance companies are the ones who not only write the highest number of premiums in a calendar year, but they also have the biggest share of the auto insurance market.
These companies are the most experienced and the most successful. They deserve a pretty graph for all they do to protect the motorists across the state of Florida. Check it out:
Number of Insurers in Florida
Florida is running out of dry land and roadways for all of its full-time residents, spring breakers, and snowbirds. But one thing Florida isn’t short on is insurance providers.
Here are the total number of Property and Casual Insurance providers operating in the state of Florida:
- Domestic – 114 Rank: 7th
- Foreign – 953 Rank: 4th
Florida is ranked in the top ten in the country in both categories for having such a high number of this specific type of insurance provider.
State Laws in Laws
A common consequence of breaking the law as a motorist is being required to trade your license for hefty fines and high-risk insurance. It’s an embarrassing and financially painful trade nobody wants to make.
How do you avoid this scenario? Don’t break the law! But, that’s easier said than done—especially if you don’t know the laws in your state.
We believe every motorist should know and understand the laws that govern insurance and our public roadways.
You don’t want to be blindsided with citations, fines, or higher insurance rates, do you? Okay, then pay attention to the next sections of our Florida guide, because if you live or drive in “The Sunshine State,” you must obey these laws or it could get really gloomy really fast.
Car Insurance Laws in Florida
If insurance providers do not follow strict guidelines, they risk losing their license to sell insurance. Many people don’t realize that insurers are closely watched and restricted by state laws.
The following section covers the rules that govern insurance providers in Florida.
How State Insurance Laws are Determined
The form filing regulation in Florida is referred to as, “Prior Approval.” Here’s what that means:
In Florida, insurance forms must be sent to the state insurance department and approved before they can be officially established and used.
The requests for approval must be sent at least 30 days before they are used. If the forms are not denied in time, they are considered approved. The state commissioner is allowed to extend the approval time frame by 15 days if he or she provides notice.
The rate filing regulation in Florida is referred to as, “Use and File.” This means insurance rates don’t need to be filed with the state insurance department until after they are set.
Good News! If the rates are found to be too high, the insurer is ordered to lower the premium and return the excess dollar amount. If the new rate is still too high, the state commissioner can set a lower rate in its place.
Windshield Damage and Repair Laws in Florida
Florida does not have a specific law that makes driving with a cracked windshield illegal. However, there are loopholes that can make it very possible for you to still get a ticket for a crack or chip, here’s how:
The state of Florida does have laws that make anything that obstructs the driver’s view illegal. Plus there are federal laws that make the following illegal:
- Windshield cracks located in front of the driver’s line view
- Windshield cracks that are located within three inches of other cracks
Since there are no specific Florida laws in place, police officers can write a ticket if they feel there are windshield cracks that obstruct the driver’s line of view or break federal law.
Plus there is a Florida law that makes it illegal to drive without fully functioning windshield wipers. So be sure your windshield cracks or chips don’t affect the use of your wipers.
Take Note: Even though there are no specific laws in Florida in regards to windshield cracks you can still get a ticket, be required to pay a fine, and be required to repair or fully replace the windshield.
So, before you get pulled over, find one of the many windshield repair companies eager to help.
Speaking of repairs, did you know that many states have laws on what type of repairs and replacements parts are used?
In Florida, insurance companies are not required to have to pay for repairs to be done with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, but the parts must all be the “same fit, quality and performance” of the original parts.
Can you trust Florida repair shops with your beloved vehicle?
The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act can help to put your worries at ease. Since put in place in 1980, this act has required anyone paid to repair vehicles to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), and there are many strict laws that govern these repairs.
That’s not all! Good news for Florida residents: you live in a “zero deductible” state. What this means:
Florida is one of only three states that require insurance companies to replace or repair your windshield for FREE.
The catch: vehicle owners must have comprehensive car insurance for this fee to be waived. If you don’t have it, we strongly suggest you get it. Use our free tool to help you find the best comprehensive coverage in your area.
High-Risk Insurance in Florida
Choosing to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, without a license or insurance, or being reckless in general will land you on the high-risk driver list before you know it.
In Florida there are two forms insurance companies file and send to the DMV as proof of a high risk driver’s extended (quite costly) level of coverage: SR-22 and FR-44.
Only two states use FR-44s: Florida and Virginia.
In Florida, individuals convicted of a DUI or DWI must have FR-44s (aka “DUI Insurance”) before they can get their license reinstated. FR-44s must be maintained for three years.
An SR-22 is required for all other reasons that require a driver to obtain high-risk insurance such as:
- having a suspended license
- failing to maintain insurance
- serious driving violations
To be clear, you do NOT want an SR-22 or FR-44. These labels hit both your reputation and wallet—hard.
You think basic car insurance costs a lot? State minimum insurance requirements are nothing compared to high-risk insurance. Check out the higher levels of coverage an SR-22 and FR-44 require:
|$100,000: Bodily Injury Liability per person|
$300,000: Bodily Injury Liability per accident
$50,000: Property Damage Liability
|$10,000: Bodily Injury Liability per person|
$20,000: Bodily Injury Liability per accident
$10,000: Property Damage Liability
FR-44 has as much as 15 times the coverage requirements of an SR-22. Florida doesn’t even require bodily injury liability for drivers who aren’t high risk, so these amounts are astronomically high compared to the state minimums.
Are you a high-risk driver in Florida who has been denied coverage?
In 1973 the Florida Automobile Joint Underwriting Association (FAJUA) was created for drivers just like you. The Florida Insurance Commissioner created this “High-Risk Market” or “Market of Last Resort” to ensure that all drivers in the state can have adequate car insurance.
The catch? It’s crazy expensive. High-risk coverage from FAJUA costs motorist up to 200% more than similar policies elsewhere. But, if it’s the only way to get back on the road, you should take the opportunity and start mending your driving reputation.
Low-Cost Insurance in Florida
Although Florida has a program for high-risk drivers, it does not have one to help low-income drivers.
California, Hawaii, and New Jersey are the only three states that have government funded programs to help low-income families pay for their car insurance.
If you’re living on a small income, it’s essential for you to realize that being caught without insurance will cost you much more than the car insurance bills. We know it’s tempting to save all that money, but driving without insurance is never worth it.
Struggling financially? Here are some tips to help you be able to afford Florida’s coverage requirements:
- Drive a cheap car to insure – Smaller vehicles with lots of safety features that are under 10 years old but not brand new usually cost less to insure.
- Don’t miss payments – Almost as bad as having no insurance is to have a lapse in your car insurance coverage. Once you have a lapse in coverage, other providers will charge you more or deny you altogether.
- Evaluate your coverage – As we discussed above, sometimes more coverage costs less. Make sure you have the best rates for the best price
- Try to own just one car – The more cars you own, the more you have to pay for insurance. Also, fewer cars mean fewer maintenance costs.
- Don’t settle on a plan – Shop around. Compare companies and the various policies they have to offer. Our free comparison tool makes that easy.
- Look into discounts – Your car insurance agent might forget or not realize there’s a discount you could qualify for. See what’s available and ask about any savings you might be able to earn.
Automobile Insurance Fraud in Florida
|Insurance Fraud Classified as a Crime||Yes: penalties include fine and prison time|
|Immunity Statues Established||Yes: protects the proper exchange of information between customer and insurer|
|Fraud Bureaus in Place||Yes: the Enforcement and Investigation Bureau in the Department of Insurance investigates fraud in all three financial sectors|
|Mandatory Insurer Fraud Plan||Yes: requires insurers to create and implement programs to reduce insurance fraud|
|Mandatory Auto Photo Inspection||Yes: five states require photos to be taken of used cars before collision or comprehension coverage is provided|
Out of all the laws listed by the Insurance Information Institute (III), Florida has taken every step to stop insurance fraud. Many states have only two or three of the above actions in place.
Below are the criminal penalties for insurance fraud in Florida:
|Fraud Amount||Classification||Prison Time|
|Under $20,000||3rd Degree Felony||up to 5 years|
|$20,000 to $99,999||2nd Degree Felony||up to 15 years|
|$100,000 or more||1st Degree Felony||up to 30 years|
In addition to those serious penalties, people caught trying to steal money through fraudulent behavior in Florida are also hit with hefty fines:
|1st||up to $5,000|
|2nd||up to $10,000|
|3rd or more||up to $15,000|
Did you know? Florida is considered one of five “hot spot states” for insurance fraud, and this increased prevalence of fraud is a primary reason car insurance is so expensive in these states.
In 2011 car insurance fraud cost Florida consumers and insurers roughly $658 million.
“Auto insurance fraud is a crime, and all Floridians pay for it. Auto insurers are paying out more than they should in no-fault claims and their policyholders are paying out more in premiums.”
– Insurance Information Institute
A Florida resident insuring two cars has to pay over in $115 fraud taxes alone thanks to all the selfish scammers across the state.
Statute of Limitations in Florida
In Florida the statute of limitations for claims are:
- Property Damage – four years
- Personal Injury – four years
What this means: You have four years to file a lawsuit over property damage or personal injury.
The statute of limitations in Florida are much longer than in most of the U.S. In 25 states the time frame to take someone to court over harm or loss is only two years or less.
Licensing Laws in Florida
Back in 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which lays out specific standards for official forms of identification. This act will eventually make all driver’s licenses that don’t meet every specification invalid.
Florida is one of 37 states that is “compliant” meaning all Florida forms of identification now meet the standards set forth by the the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the REAL ID laws.
Beginning October 1, 2020, non-DHS compliant identification will no longer be accepted for travel by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Do you have a gold star on the top right corner of your Florida driver’s license?
Whether you plan to travel by plane or not, be sure to get your updated REAL ID driver’s license so you can have documentation that is accepted across the country.
License Suspension in Florida
Here are the top reasons Florida residents can get their driving privileges suspended or fully revoked:
- Driving Impaired: being found guilty of a DUI will (at the very least) cause a license suspension. Depending on the number of offenses and severity of the crime, the individual’s license could be permanently revoked.
- Points on the License: if a driver gets 12 or more points in a year, his/her license will get suspended anywhere from 30 days to three years depending on the total number of points he/she accumulated.
- Refusing a Breath Test: if a driver is stopped for a DUI and refuses to take a breath test, his/her license will get suspended.
- Failing a Breath Test: if a driver registers over the legal limit (BAC .08) on a breathalyzer his/her license will get suspended.
- Driving without a License: driving without a license will, at the very least, suspend the driver’s license (if he has one) or result in jail time if the individual has prior offenses.
- Driving on a Suspended License: driving on a suspended license outside of the terms will result in additional suspension and up to five years in jail time.
- Driving without Insurance: getting caught driving without the Florida minimum insurance will result in license suspension.
Those are just the seven most common reasons Florida drivers get their license suspended. You can also lose your driving privileges for other serious moving violations, not paying child support, providing false information, not responding to a DMV notice, failing to appear in court, not paying fines owed and more.
Value your driver’s license and recognize the privilege it represents. Getting your driver’s license suspended will cost you time and money if you ever want to get it back. You do not want this to happen.
This is what it will cost you to get your license back after the suspension period is over:
Please note: The fees listed above are for the first offense only. The reinstatement fees increase for subsequent offenses.
Penalties for Driving without Insurance in Florida
As we discussed earlier, you do NOT want to get caught driving without insurance.
You’re completely wrong if you think driving uninsured will save you money. Right now, it might seem smart, but unless you want to be bankrupt, lose your home and car, and even face jail time, DON’T DO IT.
|Reinstatement Fee||Suspension Period|
|1st Offense||$150||up to 3 years|
|2nd Offense||$250||up to 3 years|
|3rd Offense +||$500||up to 3 years|
It is considered a subsequent offense if it happens within three years from the prior offense.
Don’t forget! Those fees are nothing compared to what it will cost you if you get in an accident without insurance.
An accident attorney, Jeffrey Meldon, who practices law in Gainesville, Florida shares this warning:
“It is heartbreaking to see how in one second a person’s life can be devastated because they failed to plan and purchase adequate insurance. Beware: Neither the state of Florida nor the other driver will protect you – only you can plan ahead and protect yourself and your family.”
– Teen Driver Laws in Florida
“Driving is one of the most dangers things we do. And, we do it every day.”
We need to do all we can to keep our youth safe. Below are some of the laws in place for young drivers to give them the safe and supervised experience behind the wheel that they desperately need.
Here are the specific requirements teenagers must meet in order to get their Florida driver’s license:
|Time with Learning Permit||12 months|
|Minimum Supervised Driving Time||50 hrs; 10 at night|
During the 12-month holding period while they have what is called an intermediate license or learner’s permit, teen drivers in Florida have set times they are not allowed to drive:
|16-year-olds||11pm to 6am|
|17-year-olds||1am to 5am|
Do those laws seem strict? They aren’t at all compared to other states!
Florida is one of only four states in the country that does not have restrictions on the age or number of passengers their brand-new, teen drivers are allowed to have.
Three states and D.C. don’t allow their learner’s permit drivers to have any passengers of any age (parents excepted), and six states only allow these young drivers to have one passenger of any age.
License Renewals and Older Drivers in Florida
|Frequency||Vision Test Required||Mail or Online|
|General Population||every 8 years||if in person||both allowed for every other renewal|
|Older Drivers||every 6 years if 80 and older||every renewal if 80 and older||both allowed for every other renewal|
Again we come to an area where Florida is very lax compared to other states—older drivers.
12 states start having new requirements for drivers in their 60s. In Oregon those stricter rules start for drivers who are only 50.
With its large population of elderly residents, Florida’s older driver laws really should start before motorists reach 80 years of age. 76 percent of Florida residents are 60 and older, while only 8 percent are 80 or older.
Most would expect Florida to be the strictest in this department.
Florida Visitors and New Residents
Not sure if you need a Florida driver’s license? The below box should help with some of the tricky scenarios:
|Florida License Required...||Florida License NOT Required...|
|If you register to vote in Florida||If you are a non-resident who attends college in Florida|
|If you enroll your children in Florida public schools||If you are a non-resident who works in Florida|
|If you file a homestead exemption in Florida||If you drive only farm vehicles or work machines|
|If you live in Florida for more than six consecutive months||If you are a member of the military stationed in Florida (only if not employed)|
Teen drivers take note! You must be at least 16 years old to drive in Florida with a license from another state.
Moving to Florida? As soon as you do one of the following: become employed, enroll your child in school, or establish residency, you have 30 days to get a Florida driver’s license and register your car.
Trying to get your Florida license by mail or online? Here’s a list of reasons you would be required to go to your local DMV office in person:
- If you are getting your first Florida driver’s license
- If your last license renewal was done by mail or online
- If your current driver’s license is not REAL ID compliant
- If you have legally changed your name since your last license
Important! If this is your first REAL ID driver’s license you must bring original documents that validate your identity, Social Security Number (SSN), and Florida residential address.
How to be sure: REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses started being administered in Florida on January 1, 2010. If your last Florida license was before that date, it is not compliant. Another easy way to tell is the DHS compliant REAL IDs have a gold star in the top right corner.
Driving Record Points, Suspensions and Revocations in Florida
Did you get nailed with points on your driving record? These are the kind of points that no one wants . . . Like in golf, only in this case it’s not a game.
Why? Because points on your driving record will increase the cost of your car insurance. Plus, if you get too many of these points you can lose your license and be labeled a high-risk driver who is required to have an SR-22.
Here is a list of the most common traffic violations and the number of points you get for each one in Florida:
|Driving in reverse or improper backing up||3|
|Driving on the shoulder of the road||3|
|Driving too fast for the conditions||3|
|Driving with an open container||3|
|Failing to move over for a stopped vehicle on the side of the road||3|
|Failing to obey a traffic control device (including a sign)||3|
|Failing to stop at a steady red light||3|
|Failing to yield||3|
|Failing to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian||3|
|Not obeying child restraint laws: child 5 and under not in a separate car seat||3|
|Not obeying child restraint laws: seat belts etc||3|
|Not obeying seat belt laws||3|
|Speeding: driving over the posted limit (less than 15mph over)||3|
|Violating a set curfew||3|
|Committing a moving violation that results in an accident||4|
|Failing to stop at a traffic signal or red light||4|
|Failing to stop at steady red signal on a one-way street before making a left turn||4|
|Failing to stop for a school bus||4|
|Passing on the enter/exit side while a school bus is stopped (mandatory hearing)||4|
|Speeding: driving over the posted limit (more than 15mph over)||4|
|Committing a moving violation that results in bodily harm||6|
|Leaving the scene of a crash without giving information (when over $50 in damage)||6|
|Leaving without providing information after causing property damage on an unattended vehicle||6|
|Speeding resulting in an accident||6|
Regardless of what you did to accumulated them, if you get too many points on your driving record, the cost of your insurance will skyrocket and you will risk losing your driver’s license.
Here are the specifics on the license suspensions these points will cause in Florida:
|Points & Time Frame||Length of Suspension|
|12 points in 12 months||30 days|
|18 points in 18 months||3 months|
|24 points in 36 months||12 months|
As we discussed earlier, racking up points isn’t the only way Florida residents can lose their driving privileges. Below are examples of violations that cause instant license suspension or even revocation.
|Violation||Suspension or Revocation|
|Causing death or serious injury by a non-DUI moving violation||License suspended for 3 months to 1 year|
|Determined to be a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO)||License revoked for 5 years|
|Failing a vision test||Licence revoked indefinitely unless driver can prove adequate vision|
|Failing to make child support payments||License suspended indefinitely until payments made|
|Using a fraudulent driver's license||License suspended for 1 year|
We can’t repeat it enough: driving is a privilege. Remember that every single time you get behind the wheel.
Rules of the Road in Florida
You would think that the states making up the UNITED States of America would have the same traffic laws, but that’s not the case at all. Due to these variances, we suggest all drivers learn the rules of the road where they’re headed before crossing state lines.
You are responsible to know the traffic laws where you drive. Don’t get blindsided by an expensive ticket waiting for you in your mailbox because you broke a law you didn’t know existed.
Whether you’re moving to Florida, educating your teen driver, a non-resident newly employed in Florida, or just planning to drive through on vacation, the below details are essential for you to know. Keep scrolling!
Fault vs. No-Fault
Florida’s no-fault law means that no matter who caused the accident, your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays for your vehicle’s damage and your injuries.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), “The no-fault system is intended to lower the cost of auto insurance by taking small claims out of the courts.” If that’s the case, it’s scary to think what the premiums would look like in Florida if it wasn’t a no-fault state.
No-fault systems definitely have their benefits, but Florida has a bad combination that can cause serious problems for the innocent victims of a crash: being a no-fault state plus not requiring bodily injury liability (pays for injuries you cause to others).
When a driver causes a crash resulting in injuries to you and everyone in your car along with damage to your vehicle, YOU are the one who pays, even though you didn’t do anything wrong.
Listen to James Ohnesorge’s near death experience – caused by a driver failing to yield – and the injuries and medical bills he’s left with:
Now that you know how a no-fault state works, be sure you have adequate personal injury coverage so you don’t find yourself in James’ situation—being stuck with a $155,600 hospital bill you can’t pay.
According to Florida law, there are situations where the innocent victims of a crash can sue the at-fault driver if the injuries they sustained are serious enough. Below are some examples that may warrant a bodily injury lawsuit:
- Complete loss of bodily function
- Permanent bodily injuries
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
The tragic event of death as a result of a car crash, is another example where the innocent victims can sue the at-fault driver to recoup expenses.
We aren’t always the innocent victims though, are we? If you are being sued because of a car accident you caused in Florida, be sure to find an experienced lawyer to help you.
Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws in Florida
Our data experts conduct hundreds of studies every year to compare drivers, states, roads. laws and more. One of these studies includes seat belt use across the nation. After compiling detailed statistics from NHTSA reports, our team discovered the following:
Florida is ranked 22nd in the nation for drivers and passengers wearing their seat belts (21 states are doing better). Our five-year study found that nearly 12 percent of Florida residents do not obey the seat belt laws in their state.
Here are the laws that millions of people in Florida are ignoring:
|Seat Belt Laws||Specifics|
|Effective Date||July 1, 1986|
|Enforcement||Primary since June 30, 2009|
|Front Seat||Passengers 6-years-old and older|
|All Seats||Passengers 6 to 17-years-old|
|1st Offense Fine||$30 plus fees|
Let’s hope Florida residents take heed to the laws below since they are in place to protect our precious youth:
|Car Seat Laws||Specifics|
|Car Seat Required||Children 5-years-old|
|1st Offense Fine||$60 plus fees and 3 points|
Surprise, Surprise! Yet another area Florida is extremely lax – child restraint laws. Almost every other state has specific weight, height, and age requirements for all three types of child car seats:
- Rear-Facing Seats
- Forward-Facing Seats
- Booster Seats
Florida doesn’t have a law in place regarding these specific seats, only a law stating that children aged five and under need to be in a separate car seat of some kind. This car seat law is insufficient because rear-facing seats make a huge difference in protecting small children.
The below video provides an excellent visual to show how much better a rear-facing seat protects a developing child’s neck and spine in the event of a crash or hard stop.
In addition to lacking specific car seat guidelines, Florida doesn’t have any laws requiring kids to sit in the back seat.
Due to the intense impact of airbags, it’s extremely dangerous for children younger than 13 or under 65 pounds to ride in the front seat of the vehicle, but in Florida it is perfectly legal.
Florida law does, however, have laws prohibiting people from riding in the cargo area of pickup trucks. Anyone 18 and older is allowed to ride in the flatbed of a truck, and there are four instances when people aged 17 and under are also allowed.
If they are . . .
- sitting in an enclosed cargo area
- sitting in a seat with a seat belt
- riding on a “non-limited-access” road
- on duty as an employee
Please note: local law can override these exceptions and completely prohibit minors from riding in the cargo areas of pickup trucks and flatbeds.
Keep Right and Move Over Laws in Florida
According to Florida statute 316.081, motorists in Florida must drive on the right side of the road unless:
- they are passing another vehicle that is driving in the same direction
- there is an obstruction in the road (drivers must yield right-of-way)
- making a left turn at an intersection, private road, or driveway
- authorized by an official traffic control device
- during rush hour traffic when all lanes are full
Drivers must stay right when they are traveling slower than the rest of the traffic. Motorists who don’t follow Florida’s keep right law, are subject to a moving violation with a minimum fine of $121.
WAIT! There’s more! You can’t always keep right. Yes, in general you should drive in the right lane, but if there’s a vehicle stopped on the side of the road such as a police officer, ambulance, utility vehicle, tow truck, broken down or crashed cars, Florida has a law in place (statute 316.126) ordering that you move over a lane to your left.
If you are traveling on a one-lane road or the lane to your left isn’t available, you must either:
Slow down 20 mph below the speed limit
– OR –
Slow down to 5 mph if on a 20 mph road
Violating Florida’s Move Over Law results in a moving violation, fines of up to $500, and three points added to your driving record.
Speed Limits in Florida
|Road Type||Max Speed|
Have a need for speed? Before you drive over the posted speed limit in Florida, keep in mind most of the U.S. is much more strict on how fast vehicles can travel.
Compared to Florida, 31 states have slower speed limits on their interstates. On many major highways across America, motorists aren’t allowed to travel over 55 mph.
When you see a speed limit sign, please realize that number is the fastest you are allowed to drive, not how fast you need to drive. Also, that maximum posted speed is not safe in certain conditions such as rain, snow, or low visibility.
Remember, even if you are driving under the posted speed limit, if you’re driving too fast for the conditions you can get a ticket and three points added to your driving record according to Florida law.
Ridesharing Laws in Florida
A study conducted by Pew Research found that from 2015-2018 the percentage of U.S. adults who used ride-hail services – such as Uber or Lyft – grew from 15-36 percent.
Ride-hailing services are extremely popular in Florida by residents and tourists alike.
From 2016 to 2017, 14.5 percent of Uber trips in Florida were taken by out-of-staters, and 27.3 percent of users said they spend more money on their vacations now that they can get around easier thanks to rideshare.
Nowadays most people use the terms ride-hailing and ridesharing interchangeably even though it’s not a shuttle or carpooling service as the term implies. By “rideshare” we mean a ride you request (and pay for) through an app on your phone that usually arrives in under 5 minutes and begins at your current location.
Regardless of what you call it, a transportation network company (TNC), mobility service provider (MSP), ride-hailing, ridesharing . . . Florida legislators felt the need to set some boundaries on this ever-growing commodity.
According to Statute 627.748 (the “Uber/Lyft Bill“), which became effective on July 1, 2017, here are the Florida rideshare laws:
|Company Requirements||Driver Requirements|
|Conduct criminal background checks for each hire||Have a valid driver's license|
|Conduct new background checks every 3 years||Have proof of adequate car insurance coverage|
|Have a nondiscrimination policy in place||Have proof vehicle is registered for rideshare|
|Have a zero-tolerance policy in place for impaired driving||Must be accommodating to service animals|
|Have the driver's picture and plate number visible on the app||Never alter or hide ride details from law enforcement|
|Keep drivers' records for at least a year after they leave||Never discriminate against certain customers|
|Must maintain records of every ride for at least one year||Never try to charge more for a disabled person|
|Not hire any drivers who are listed sex offenders or have any arrests/charges in the past 5 years||Not accept a paid ride unless on the digital network|
|Review driving history records for every driver before they're hired||Not accept or try to get street hails|
Florida law also specifies the exact car insurance coverage requirements for rideshare drivers in each stage of the job and whenever they operate their vehicle, as listed in the table below:
Uber and Lyft provide $1 million in both bodily injury liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, but this insurance only covers their drivers when they are en route with a paid customer. These two TNCs also offer coverage for when drivers are logged in and not giving a ride, but the drivers must already have their own comprehensive and collision coverage to qualify and the deductibles are high—$1,000 for Uber and $2,500 for Lyft.
Automation on the Road in Florida
The chart below shows Florida’s status and current requirements for Autonomous Vehicles (updated April 2019):
|AV Topic||Florida Law|
|Driving Allowed||Full Deployment|
|Regulated Platooning Technology||Yes|
|Operator License Required||Yes|
|Operator Required to be in the Vehicle||No|
|Liability Insurance Required||No|
Florida is one of only 14 states that allow autonomous vehicles (AVs) to be driven on its public roads—many states still only allow fully self-driving cars to be tested under specific parameters.
Florida and only five other states do not (yet) require liability insurance for these self-driving vehicles. On the other hand, four states require as much as $5,000,000 of liability coverage before AVs can legally be deployed.
Toll Roads in Florida
Florida is ranked first for having the most toll roads in the country, and it’s home to a top ten most expensive toll road in America: State Road 417.
With expensive tolls seemingly at every turn and many stops that don’t even have a cash lane, most Florida residents use a prepaid SunPass transponder.
Especially to drivers new to the area, tolls can be confusing and cause deadly crashes, which is why the Florida tolls are now set up to take a photo of your license plate and mail you an invoice if you don’t pay.
Warning: you only have 10 days to pay the invoice or you face fines that increase with time, and you’ll be unable to renew your license or vehicle registration without paying it all off.
Tinted Windows in Florida
If you know anything about Florida, you know it gets a lot of sunshine – hence the nickname – and it gets hot. All that sunshine does a great job of heating up cars.
One short errand can turn your vehicle left in the parking lot into an unwanted sauna. Let’s just say that dark leather seats are not the best welcome when you hop back in. What’s a good solution to this problem? Tinted windows.
But wait! There are laws on that too. Before you pay someone to tint your vehicles’ windows, make sure they follow these strict rules or you’ll risk a ticket and having to pay to have it removed.
The rules on window tinting are twofold, darkness and reflection levels. Here are the details:
|Tint Darkness: Sedans||Tint Darkness: SUVs & Vans|
|Windshield||Non-reflective tint is allowed above the AS-1 line||Non-reflective tint is allowed above the AS-1 line|
|Front Side Windows||Must allow more than 28% of light in||Must allow more than 28% of light in|
|Back Side Windows||Must allow more than 15% of light in||Must allow more than 6% of light in|
|Rear Window||Must allow more than 15% of light in||Must allow more than 6% of light in|
What is an AS-1 line? It’s an imaginary parallel line that runs across the windshield at the point “AS-1” is printed on the glass. Most vehicles have this imprint, but if it’s not visible, five inches below the top of the windshield is the distance used instead.
|Tint Reflection: Sedans||Tint Reflection: SUVs & Vans|
|Windshield||None allowed||None allowed|
|Front Side Windows||No more than 25%||No more than 25%|
|Back Side Windows||No more than 35%||No more than 35%|
|Rear Window||None allowed||None allowed|
Safety Laws in Florida
We all like to think of ourselves as “good” drivers, but how safe are you really? For instance, when your phone rings, your kids start fighting in the back seat, you’re running late for a meeting, or you spill your coffee?
The busier life gets, the more we usually slip up. Let’s slow down and remember how important it is to never take our eyes off the road and to always value the privilege it is to operate a motor vehicle before we lose that right altogether.
Below are laws in Florida that every motorist who drives anywhere in this state is required to know and follow.
Distracted Driving Laws in Florida
Washington D.C. and 24 states have laws banning hand-held cell phone use while driving and 39 states (including D.C.) completely ban cellphone use by teen drivers (each with their own specifications), BUT Florida didn’t have laws prohibiting either until it finally joined the fight in the middle of 2019.
Florida’s new texting while driving law (effective July 1st 2019) is a primary traffic offense that will be enforced by fines and subsequent offenses will assign points to the driver’s record.
There are some loopholes to this new law. For instance, drivers can hold their phones to talk, touch and look at their phones when using them for navigation, and texting while stopped at traffic lights is allowed.
Please Note: The laws are more strict in school zones and active work zones with workers present. Beginning October 1st 2019, only completely hands-free phone use is allowed when driving in these areas. As Florida’s new distracted driving laws are implemented, drivers will receive warnings only until January 1, 2020.
Thankfully, new leaders in Florida office worked diligently to strengthen state laws to put an end to devastating stories like this one:
In addition, the Florida DOT created 64 “Safe Phone Zones,” which are rest areas, welcome centers, and service plazas designated as areas where motorists should pull over to safety use their cell phones.
Hopefully these efforts make a difference, because Florida is ranked second for having the most distracted drivers in America just behind its neighbor, Louisiana.
Drunk Driving laws Florida
In 2017, there were 839 people killed in Florida car crashes involving a drunk driver. Let’s see what laws are in place to make that deadly act of driving under the influence illegal:
|Name for the Offense||Driving Under the Influence (DUI)|
|BAC Limit||under 21 = 0.02%|
21 & older = 0.08%
commercial = 0.04%
|High BAC Limit||0.15%|
|Criminal Status||1st & 2nd = misdemeanors|
3 or more = 3rd degree felony
|Look Back Period||5 yrs for 2nd|
10 yrs for 3rd
unlimited for 4th+
In Florida alone in 2017, there were 32,727 motorists arrested for driving under the influence. Terrifying thought: Those are just the ones who got caught.
Here are the penalties in place for each conviction in Florida:
|1st DUI||2nd DUI||3rd DUI||4th DUI|
|Community Service||50 hrs||50 hrs||Court ordered||Court ordered|
|Fine||$500-$1,000; High BAC or minor in the car: $1,000-$2,000||$1,000-$2,000; High BAC or minor in the car: $2,000-$4,000||$2,000-$5,000; High BAC or minor in the car: min $4,000||min $2,000|
|Jail Time||min 8 hrs up to 6 mo; High BAC or minor in the car: up to 9 mo||min 10 days up to 9 mo; High BAC or minor in the car: up to 12 mo||min 30 days up to 5 yrs||up to 5 yrs|
|License Revoked||min 180 days up to 1 yr||2nd DUI in 5 yrs: min 5 yrs; 2nd in 6+ yrs: min 180 days up to 1 yr||10 yrs||Permanent|
|Yes - required for at least 6 mo||Yes - required for at least 2 yrs||Yes - required for at least 2 yrs||NA|
|Mandatory Program||DUI school, substance abuse ed., evaluation and treatment as required||DUI school, substance abuse ed., evaluation and treatment as required||DUI school, substance abuse ed., evaluation and treatment as required||DUI school, substance abuse ed., evaluation and treatment as required|
|Probation||up to 1 yr||up to 1 yr||up to 1 yr with monthly reporting||NA|
|Vehicle Impounded||10 days||30 days||90 days||90 days|
In general Florida’s DUI laws and penalties are average, but there’s one state in particular that makes Florida look easy: Utah where at just 0.05 percent you’re considered a drunk driver!
Have you been told you should refuse a breathalyzer test if you’re pulled over? A Florida DUI defense attorney gives his professional advice on that topic in the below video:
Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws in Florida
Twenty states have laws in place regarding drivers impaired by marijuana, but Florida does not.
Wait! Before you drive high, you must know this: Even though there’s not a specific law on marijuana-impaired driving, you can still get arrested for it in Florida.
“No person in the state shall be intoxicated and endanger the safety of another person or property.” – Florida Statute 856.011
Driving intoxicated most definitely puts others in danger, and you can be intoxicated by many substances other than alcohol including marijuana.
However, since marijuana stays in your system for so long – in blood for a week and urine for two months – it’s difficult to prove an individual was impaired by marijuana while driving.
Driving in Florida
So far in this guide, we have laid out the essential traffic and insurance laws that govern Florida, and we have shown you how your state stacks up in every category from drugged-driving to monthly insurance rates.
Now it’s time to go over some dangers every driver and car owner in Florida should be aware of—even if they aren’t so pretty. Do you feel like a well-informed citizen?
Well, we don’t hold back. We dig until we get all the juicy details, and we promise to keep you as informed as we possibly can.
Let’s get started with a topic that is far more common then it should be: stolen vehicles.
Vehicle Theft in Florida
|Make & Model||Most Popular Year||Number Stolen|
Some clarification for the chart above: the three pickup trucks listed are all the full-size versions. The totals in the “number stolen” column are how many were stolen for that make and model of any year. The “most popular year” column shows the model years that were stolen most frequently.
There were 936 more Ford pickup trucks stolen than any other vehicle in Florida in 2016. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports show that the 2006 model was the most-stolen Ford pickup truck. When a specific year is targeted by thieves, it’s usually because that model lacks an anti-theft feature that makes it easier to steal.
It’s not just in Florida that the full-sized pickup by Ford is a favorite among thieves. It was the third most stolen vehicle in the nation in 2016 just below the Honda Accord and Civic.
What car do you drive? Always close your windows, lock your doors, keep an eye on your keys, and don’t walk away from your vehicle when it’s on and unattended. Stay Alert! Car thieves have clever distraction tactics you’d least suspect.
For a more detailed analysis, check out this study we put together.
Cities in Florida with the Most Vehicle Theft
How does where you – or your loved ones – live and/or work in Florida compare to the rest of the state for car robberies?
Below are the total number of vehicles stolen for every city in Florida as documented by the FBI for 2016. The cities are listed and ranked by the total number of thefts from greatest to least. The search box makes it easy to find a city you’re interested in.
- Ranking of 1 = Most Stolen Vehicles
- Ranking of 284 = Least Stolen Vehicles
|Florida City||Vehicles Stolen||Rank|
|West Palm Beach||553||11|
|North Miami Beach||150||43|
|Port St. Lucie||85||66|
|Palm Beach Gardens||69||76|
|Fort Walton Beach||49||90|
|New Smyrna Beach||48||92|
|New Port Richey||44||97|
|Royal Palm Beach||37||108|
|Village of Pinecrest||37||109|
|Sunny Isles Beach||31||116|
|North Bay Village||28||123|
|St. Pete Beach||22||136|
|North Palm Beach||16||150|
|Daytona Beach Shores||12||165|
|Green Cove Springs||11||174|
|Panama City Beach||10||179|
|Indian Harbour Beach||8||184|
|Bay Harbor Islands||7||189|
|Indian Rocks Beach||7||193|
|Lake Clarke Shores||6||204|
|St. Augustine Beach||3||235|
|Bal Harbour Village||2||239|
|De Funiak Springs||2||242|
|Jupiter Inlet Colony||1||257|
|North Redington Beach||1||263|
|Palm Beach Shores||1||264|
|Sea Ranch Lakes||1||266|
|South Palm Beach||1||267|
|Indian Creek Village||0||273|
|Indian River Shores||0||274|
|Key Colony Beach||0||276|
|Port St. Joe||0||281|
If you live, work, visit . . . heck, ever have a parked car in Jacksonville, BE CAREFUL! 3,027 vehicles were stolen in 2016 in that one city alone. There were 1,031 more vehicles stolen in Jacksonville, then in Miami – the city ranked second.
Road Fatalities in Florida
The stuff you should know about where you live, work, and drive isn’t always uplifting. Some of what we’re here to tell you isn’t good news – sadly a lot of it is downright depressing and horrifying.
Although this section of our Florida guide is rather dreary, we feel all drivers should know the risk factors that result in injuries and deaths. Once you’re educated on the dangers to be wary of and the driving behaviors to avoid, you can do your part to save lives on Florida’s public roadways.
Okay now that you were warned, let’s begin by looking at how specific weather conditions affect death totals.
Fatal Crashes in Florida by Light & Weather Condition
|Weather Condition||Daylight||Dark but Lighted||Pitch Black||Dawn or Dusk||Other or Unknown||Total|
The chart above shows the total number of car crashes in Florida in 2017 that resulted in lives lost. It is a crash count, not a death count. The disturbing reality is that one car crash often causes multiple, devastating injuries and deaths.
Traffic Fatalities in Florida by County
The table below shows the car crash death totals from 2013-2017 in every county in Florida.
All 67 counties are listed in alphabetical order. Use the search box to quickly pull up the area you’re looking for.
All five years the three counties with the most traffic deaths remained the same. Here are their five-year fatality totals:
- Miami-Dade County – 1,423
- Broward County – 1,047
- Hillsborough County – 937
It’s bad news: for all three counties, the 2016-2017 death totals were significantly higher than their 2013-2014 totals.
Miami-Dade County had a drastic 27 percent increase in traffic fatalities from 2013 to 2017—60 more people killed in just four years.
Remember, these numbers are made up of preventable tragedies – lives that ended too soon. Like the young man in his 20s who died on February 9, 2019 in the gruesome Miami-Dade County car crash shown in this news report:
Traffic Fatalities in Florida by Road Type
Okay, now let’s look at rural vs. urban roadways.
Here are the car crash death totals by road type across ten years:
Interestingly, rural road safety in Florida has improved from 2008 to 2017 while urban roads have experienced an increase in traffic deaths across those same years.
There were 1,508 more traffic deaths on urban roads from 2013-2017 than there were the five years prior (2008-2012), and there were 977 less comparing those same time frames for rural roads.
Traffic Fatalities in Florida by Person Type
What were all those people doing when they were killed?
This next table breaks down the deaths by the types of vehicles people were traveling in. And actually, in hundreds of cases they weren’t traveling by motor vehicle at all, but rather walking or biking. Take a look:
|Large Truck Occupants||25||22||31||30||45|
|Passenger Car Occupants||726||768||903||1,048||1,001|
|Pick-up Truck Occupants||191||199||215||297||258|
|Utility Truck Occupants||219||186||271||262||306|
Pedestrian fatalities have been on the steady rise in Florida since 2013 with up to 18 percent increases in just 12 months.
In fact, looking at the table above, pedestrian deaths is the only category that has a constant increase all five years.
Traffic Fatalities in Florida by Crash Type
Now let’s look at some crash specifics for the accidents that caused all these deaths:
|Involving an Intersection||764||803||1,009||1,043||1,134|
|Large Truck Involved||197||190||225||293||292|
|Single Vehicle Crash||1,376||1,395||1,600||1,696||1,622|
|Roadway Departure Involved||957||940||1,071||1,203||1,122|
Traffic accidents involving intersections was the only category that had constant increases all five years.
Alarming facts: in 2017, there were 246 more single-car crash deaths and 370 more intersection crash deaths in Florida than there were in 2013.
Florida Counties with the Most Traffic Fatalities
The chart below shows a five-year trend for the ten counties in Florida where the most traffic deaths occur:
|Top 10 Counties Total||1,329||1,400||1,612||1,767||1674|
|Remaining Counties Total||1,074||1,094||1,326||1,409||1438|
Overall the death count is going up across Florida, but the greatest increase this five-year trend shows is for Orange County.
In 2017 there were 65 more people killed in Orange County traffic deaths than in 2013.
Floridians Beware! 54-56 percent of ALL the traffic deaths in Florida are happening in these ten counties.
Here’s a graph so you can see the comparison of traffic deaths in these 10 counties from 2015-2017:
As you can see, 2016 was a bad year for traffic deaths especially in Broward, Hillsborough, and Polk County. In 2015, Miami-Dade had a scary spike in deaths—fortunately, there were 54 less people killed on those same roads in 2017.
Traffic Fatalities in Florida Involving Speeding
In a rush? Is it worth risking a lifelong injury (or death) just to shave few minutes off of your commute? Is it worth a $376 fine??
Just remember if you get in a car accident, you’ll never make it on time. And much worse – if you kill someone while speeding, you’ll only end up without a license, in handcuffs, facing jail time. Slow down. Speeding kills. Below are the numbers to prove it.
The counties in Florida with the most speeding fatalities in 2017 were Miami-Dade, Broward, and Hillsborough. These three counties alone had a combined 67 deaths caused by one deadly decision in that year.
However, in 2015 and 2016 Palm Beach was the county in Florida with the most traffic deaths caused by speeding. Here’s the five-year fatality total for those top four counties:
- Hillsborough County – 140
- Miami-Dade County – 138
- Broward County – 127
- Palm Beach – 120
Traffic Fatalities in Florida Involving Alcohol
You think having a little alcohol, being a little tipsy, then driving yourself home is okay? Apparently, a lot of Floridians think it’s okay to mix alcohol and driving.
In 2017, 58 percent of the traffic deaths in Florida involved drivers with alcohol in their system—27 percent of those drivers were actually drunk.
Here’s what IS a big deal: being convicted of DUI manslaughter in Florida, which is a second-degree felony and will grant you 10 to 15 years in prison.
The chart below lists the total number of traffic deaths that involved a drunk driver (BAC = .08+) from 2013-2017 in all 67 Florida counties:
From 2013 to 2016 the three counties with the most drunk driving fatalities were consistently Broward, Hillsborough, and Miami-Dade, but in 2017, Orange County had more than Hillsborough. Here are the five-year death totals for those top four counties:
- Miami-Dade County – 344
- Broward County – 272
- Hillsborough County – 271
- Orange County – 230
Top 10 Florida County Fatality Comparison
In sections above, we showed you how many total fatalities happened in all 67 Florida counties every year from 2013 to 2017 and we gave you the breakdown for how many of those traffic deaths were caused by speeding and drunk driving.
Since that’s a lot of numbers and info to compare, we put it all in a graph for you. Below is a visual comparing these crash causes for the ten counties in Florida with the most traffic deaths in 2017:
In all 10 counties, over 30 percent of the traffic deaths were caused by speeding or drunk driving. In Pinellas County it was 42 percent, and in Lee County a shocking 52 percent of the total deaths all had drivers who were speeding or drunk.
If law enforcement in these counties started to really crack down on these two offenses alone, there would be a major reduction in the amount of deaths across the state.
Teen Drinking and Driving in Florida
It doesn’t get much deadlier than an inexperienced driver with slowed responses and impaired judgement speeding down the highway.
Underage drinking and driving is a major problem in Florida that can’t be ignored. Florida’s rate of drivers (under 21) impaired by alcohol and killing people in car crashes was worse than 36 states and D.C. in 2016.
What doesn’t add up here is that Florida’s death rate by underaged impaired drivers was worse than 73 percent of the county, BUT it’s DUI arrest rate for teen drivers was exceptionally low – only three states had less arrests.
Here are the stats: Florida had 1.6 deaths for every 100,000 people caused by an illegal drinker who was driving impaired, but according to the FBI reports for that same year, Florida only had 109 teen driver DUI arrests.
EMS Response Time in Florida
A question that most people don’t ask until someone is hurt or in trouble is: “How fast will help arrive?!”
How long it takes for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to arrive in your area is very helpful to knowledge to have, but I bet none of your neighbors know the answer.
It’s not just random trivia either. Knowing how fast EMS arrive at crash sites can help you make split-second decisions such as if someone needs CPR or a tourniquet . . . there isn’t always time to wait!
Check out the average EMS response times below for both rural and urban fatal car crashes in Florida:
|EMS Response Times||Rural Fatal Crashes||Urban Fatal Crashes|
|Time of Crash to EMS Notification||17 minutes 9 seconds||1 minute and 47 seconds|
|Notification to EMS Arrival||15 minutes||5 minutes and 49 seconds|
|EMS Arrival to Hospital Arrival||NA||NA|
|Time of Crash to Hospital Arrival||NA||35 minutes|
|Total Fatal Crashes||768||2,141|
EMS teams are able to arrive at the scene of a fatal crash much faster in the urban areas of Florida—as much as 10 whole minutes faster than they can in rural areas.
An important fact to keep in mind is that even in urban areas in Florida, from the time of a fatal crash until medical help arrives will likely be over seven minutes. In those crucial minutes, you can move the injured out of traffic, give CPR if needed, and apply pressure to a wound. You might not be an expert, but a little help could save someone’s life.
Transportation Facts for Florida
In addition to the scary stuff we have covered so far – car thieves, DUI manslaughter, and emergency tourniquets – it’s important to know basic commuter facts in your area that will affect your daily life.
If you live in a nice, safe neighborhood it’s easy to become oblivious to your surroundings. But, things can be much different just a few miles from your home.
Let’s start by looking at how many vehicles there are per family across the state.
Please note: for all three graphs below, the 2017 data shown is comparing Florida households in orange to the U.S. average in grey.
Car Ownership in Florida
A combined 67 percent of Florida families own just one or two cars. In the rest of the country, it is less common to own one care and more common to own three cars than it is in Florida.
Commute Times in Florida
Overall, Florida residents have a longer commute than the average American employee.
The most common commute length for Florida residents is 30-34 minutes one-way, whereas the highest percentage of Americans have a much shorter average commute of only 15-19 minutes each way.
Ten percent of Florida employees have to endure a 45-59 minute commute to and from work, which is a higher percentage than the national average. Fortunately, Florida beats the U.S. average with under three percent of residents having a “super commute” (over an hour and a half long).
Commuter Transportation in Florida
When comparing the average Floridian to the rest of the country, the mode of travel used to get to and from work is similar.
The biggest differences: more Florida residents drive alone and work from home and less use public transportation or walk to work than the average American employee.
In Florida, just under 80 percent of those employed drive alone to work every day.
Traffic Congestion in Florida
Each year INRIX does a massive traffic study that analyzes congestion and mobility in over 200 cites and 38 countries around the world. Their 2018 findings showed that Americans lose an average of 97 hours a year sitting in traffic, which costs the nation over $87 billion – a problematic $1,348 per driver.
For two consecutive years, four cities in Florida have ranked in this global traffic study due to having some of the busiest roads in the world. Let’s see how the most congested cities in Florida compared to the other 216 cities in the 2018 update to this study:
|2018 Hours Lost to Traffic||60||105||74||87|
|2017-2018 Percent Change||+1%||-5%||+16%||+11%|
|Per Driver Cost of Congestion||$840||$1,470||$1,037||$1,216|
|Inner City Avg Travel Time||3 minutes||5 minutes||4 minutes||5 minutes|
|Inner City Avg Speed||17 mph||12 mph||15 mph||13 mph|
In Miami, residents are losing 105 hours a year to traffic. In addition to being infuriating, this congestion is costing the city an outrageous $1,470 for each motorist. This troubling expense is $122 (per driver) more than the national average.
Both Orlando and Tampa took turns for the worst with 16 and 11 percent increases in the hours drivers spent stuck in traffic from 2017 to 2018.
Traffic Results in Crashes: Drivers stuck in traffic kill time on their phones, then even after the cars start moving they’re still distracted and cause an accident. It happens all too often.
Make sure you have the car insurance you need to cover vehicle damages and maybe even a chiropractor bill to fix your neck from the whiplash. Remember, in Florida no matter who is at fault, your personal coverage is what pays. Enter your zip code into our free tool to compare the top providers in your area.