Automobile Insurance Toolkit from the Florida Department of Financial ServicesAutomobile insurance coverage is required by Florida law and essential for all vehicles. The Florida Automobile Insurance Toolkit is a free guide with important information about the different types of car insurance and tips about settling a claim. The guide is available in both English and Spanish.

What is the Automobile Tool Kit?

Florida’s Automobile Insurance Toolkit is a free consumer guide from the Department of Financial Services that outlines the different types of insurance Florida drivers must carry and various automobile insurance options. The guide also has tips about settling an insurance claim after an accident.

Coverage and Minimum Insurance Requirements

Drivers who register a vehicle in Florida must have proof of personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage (PD) insurance.

Furthermore, anyone in the State of Florida with their vehicle for more than a total of 90 days in the last 365 days must carry these minimum limits of coverage.

The minimum automobile insurance policy requirements in Florida are $10,000 for personal injury protection (PIP), which pays the expenses of anyone injured in an accident. In addition, the law requires $10,000 property damage (PD) coverage to pay for repairs to other people’s property resulting from an automobile accident for which the policyholder is responsible. However, policyholders can purchase additional coverage.

Florida law requires drivers responsible for causing a previous accident that involved bodily injury or death to carry bodily injury (BI) insurance. Bodily Injury (BI) insurance covers the expenses of another person’s injuries or death from a motor vehicle accident. The bodily injury policy must have a minimum limit of $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. You may purchase a policy covering both types of insurance with a single limit of at least $30,000.

Florida requires drivers convicted of driving under the influence to carry bodily injury liability coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. In addition, they must also have $50,000 in property damage liability.

Factors That Affect Insurance Cost

Insurance companies use a variety of factors to determine how much a policy costs. The costs are determined by the type and amount of driving done and the person’s driving record. Every insurance company has its own specific guidelines for evaluating applicants on whether they will issue or deny a policy and how much it will cost.

The Automobile Insurance Toolkit includes a section on underwriting guidelines, which help protect both the consumer and the insurance company by ensuring all applicants are measured against the same standard. In addition, every insurance company has its own criteria for evaluating policy applicants. Some of the factors taken into consideration include:

  • Type of Vehicle: The make, model, year, and value of the vehicle is a factor in determining the cost of insurance. More expensive cars tend to have more costly repairs and are often the target for theft. As a result, insurers typically charge more to insure expensive vehicles.
  • Driving History: Previous accidents and driving history are factors in determining rates. People with recent moving violations typically have higher insurance rates. In some cases, a person’s driving record may be the reason a company refuses to issue a policy.
  • Vehicle Usage: The distance that one regularly drives to get to work or school can affect the cost of insurance. The more time a driver spends on the road, the greater the risk of an accident.
  • Gender & Age: Statistically, men are involved in twice as many fatal accidents as women. Furthermore, drivers younger than 25 and those older than 65 tend to be involved in a greater number of vehicle accidents. As a result, younger men and older applicants typically pay higher insurance premiums.

Some insurance companies offer discounts to young drivers who complete a driver’s education course or maintain a high grade-point average. In addition, senior drivers may qualify for good-driving discounts based on taking a driver’s education course or being accident-free.

Other factors that can affect insurance costs include:

  • The deductible amount a policyholder chooses. A higher deductible can reduce the policy premium.
  • Driving an older vehicle which tends to cost less to replace.
  • Having a vehicle anti-theft system.
  • Company-specific discounts (such as being accident-free or the number of miles driven).

Automobile Claims

The Florida Automobile Insurance Toolkit has some handy checklists for what to do before an accident and during the claims process.

Before an Accident Checklist

Drivers should:

  • Understand their insurance coverage and the policy limits.
  • Have the name, phone number, and address of their insurance company and agent.
  • Always carry proof of insurance.

After an Accident Checklist

Following an accident, drivers should:

  • Contact law enforcement to report even a minor accident.
  • Keep a copy of the police Exchange of Information Form.
  • Collect any witnesses’ names, phone numbers, and addresses; your insurance company may need to contact them.
  • Call the insurance company immediately after the accident. Accidents not reported promptly could result in a denial of reimbursement from the insurance company.

Settling a Claim and the Repair Process

Policyholders have the right to select which repair shop fixes their vehicle; often, the insurance company has a list of preferred repair shops. Policyholders are not required to use an insurance company’s preferred repair shop; however, there are advantages to using a preferred shop, such as repair guarantees. Additionally, insurers will often cover additional rental car expenses if there are delays in the repair process.

If a vehicle is so severely damaged in an accident, the insurance company may decide the vehicle is a total loss. Should this happen, insurance companies typically pay the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of the vehicle at the time of loss. The term “actual cash value” means the cost to replace the vehicle, less depreciation.

New vehicles involved in an accident often have a loan balance that exceeds the ACV of the vehicle. Therefore, drivers should consider a “GAP” insurance policy to avoid out-of-pocket expenses for paying off the loan.

Florida drivers who have problems with a repair shop are encouraged to seek assistance from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-435-7352 or by visiting their website.

ABC Dennis Insurance

ABC Dennis Insurance is an independent insurance agency established in 1997 that provides automobile insurance to its customers. If you have not reviewed your insurance coverages this year, please call our office at (813) 949-7765 or email us.

Besides auto insurance, we can help with all your insurance needs. As an independent agency, we find the best insurance coverage with the most competitive rates.