UPDATED: FEBRUARY 16, 2023 | 3 MIN READ
With so many new residents, snowbirds, and tourists flocking to Florida, it’s understandable that Florida’s roadways are getting busier by the day. And we all know the busier the streets, the more at-risk drivers are for auto accidents. More than 20 percent of drivers on the roads in the sunshine state are uninsured. But is it against Florida law? Below we’ll review Florida’s penalties for driving without car insurance.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Florida
Consequences for driving without the minimum coverage car insurance in Florida are steep and can include license and registration suspensions and various fees. You could also receive points on your license and may need to carry SR-22 coverage if the offenses become habitual and the severity of the driving infractions.
|Type of Offense||License and/or Registration Suspended?||Jail Time||SR-22 Requirements||Maximum Fines|
|No Proof of Insurance (Can Prove Coverage)||No||No||No||$10 mandatory fine|
|1st Offense With No Coverage||Yes, both||No||Yes||$150|
|Repeat Offense (No Coverage)||Yes, both||No||Yes||$250 to $500|
License and/or registration suspensions for the type of offense
If you get pulled over by a police officer for the first time and can prove you have auto insurance, you won’t need to worry about getting your driver’s license or vehicle registration suspended. But, if it’s your first offense and you don’t have Florida car insurance, you can bet on your license and registration getting suspended by the state. Furthermore, if you commit this offense a second or third time, you’ll get your license and registration suspended again.
Jail time for each type of offense
Many states require drivers who become habitual offenders of not carrying auto insurance to serve jail time. However, Florida doesn’t require jail time for the first offense. Nor does it require any jail time to be served for repeat offenses.
SR-22s are not just for those caught driving while drinking or driving recklessly. Motorists without car insurance won’t be required to get SR-22 coverage if they can prove they have insurance during a traffic stop or car accident.
But, first and repeat offenses will require motorists to carry SR-22 insurance. This will undoubtedly increase premium costs and could affect which insurance carriers you choose to buy a policy through, as not everyone offers SR-22 coverage.
Fines and fees for each type of offense
Anytime you get pulled over by law enforcement and can’t furnish proof of insurance at the time, you’ll be assessed a mandatory fee of $10. Thankfully, most insurance companies offer electronic proof of insurance nowadays, allowing drivers to access their auto insurance ID cards through an app or a website if they don’t have a paper copy in the car.
However, these fines increase dramatically if you don’t have insurance. Suppose it’s your first time getting caught without insurance while on the road; you’ll receive a fine of $150. And if you’re a repeat offender, your penalties will increase to fines ranging from $250 – $500.
Florida auto insurance minimum requirements for insurance
The state of Florida requires drivers to carry the following minimum limits on their policies to stay legal while behind the wheel:
- $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
- $10,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident.
Compared to other states, Florida’s requirements seem less in coverage limits. Most states require drivers to carry bodily injury liability coverage.
While it’s technically not required, you still need to prove to the state that you’ll be able to pay for any injuries caused to another party in an at-fault accident. Most drivers purchase bodily injury liability insurance as the most convenient means to meet the financial responsibility law. This coverage includes the following limits:
- $10,000 in boldly injury liability coverage per person.
- $20,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident.
Before registering your vehicle with the state, you’ll need to ensure you have active car insurance. Florida is also a no-fault state, complicating the insurance process a bit.
What exactly does this mean for drivers? When a motorist is involved in a car accident, no matter who’s at fault, your PIP coverage will kick in to pay for your and your passengers’ injuries, if any. PIP also helps cover any lost wages or household costs due to injuries resulting from your accident.
Avoiding license suspension after an accident
The best way to avoid having your license suspended following a car accident is to ensure you stay current with active car insurance and pay all fines you may have received due to the accident. If you fail to pay for any traffic tickets you receive, you’ll have your license suspended.
Scenarios when you can still get insurance in Florida
Even if you’ve encountered situations where traditional insurance companies turn you away, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to obtain car insurance in Florida.
Drivers with significant lapses in insurance coverage could struggle to find coverage with a traditional insurance company. Insurance companies relate the time drivers are uninsured to a negative driving record and, in most cases, charge these motorists higher premiums than those drivers without any lapses of coverage.
The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend drivers and licenses and charge fines of up to $500 for insurance lapses. The best insurance carrier options for those without insurance include State Farm, Nationwide, USAA, and GEICO.
Many times, high-risk motorists are denied insurance by standard car insurance companies. High-risk drivers are often involved in reckless driving acts, DUIs, speeding, or multiple at-fault accidents. USAA, State Farm, and GEICO will provide insurance coverage to those with driving infractions on their records. Although, don’t be surprised when you find your premiums are higher than the average Florida driver once you’re considered high-risk.
Driving someone else’s car
Drivers often need to get around town, even without owning a vehicle. If you fall in this category, you’ll be pleased to know that you can still obtain insurance to protect you and everything you’ve worked hard for against potential lawsuits and out-of-pocket costs.
You may still get coverage if you rent a car frequently or borrow a friend’s or family member’s car. This insurance is referred to as non-owner coverage.
Non-owner insurance coverage is available through popular companies such as Farmers, GEICO, Infinity, and Liberty Mutual. This coverage costs an average of $1,000 per year for drivers with good driving histories and around $1,700 for those with negative driving records.
How long will your license be suspended for driving without insurance?
Residents in Florida can have their driver’s license suspended for failure to carry auto coverage. You could face a suspension for three years if this happens to you.
How much is the average insurance policy in Florida?
Overall, the average cost of car insurance in Florida is around $2,762 annually for full coverage. Floridians pay far more than the national average, which is around $1,771 each year. Minimum insurance requirements will cost Floridians an average of $545 per year.
Are there ways to save money on car insurance in Florida?
Car insurance rates are based on various factors, such as age, credit score, marital status, etc. While there are no specific discount programs in Florida, drivers can save money by bundling insurance policies, raising deductibles if they have full coverage, and comparing multiple insurance carriers for the most affordable quotes.
How to get Florida insurance after you’ve been caught driving without it
To ensure you avoid registrations, license suspensions, and expensive fines, you’ll want to be sure you’re covered with great auto insurance. It’s an excellent idea to compare multiple quotes across multiple carriers to find a price that won’t break the bank. An affordable monthly premium can keep you legal while cruising Florida highways.