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How to Find Cheaper Car Insurance in Florida

Here's what you need to know...
  • Understand everything before you buy
  • Look for price reductions when applicable
  • Compare more than one insurance company

Consumers should use a systematic approach to find cheap car insurance in Florida. Rather than randomly hoping for the best when searching for auto insurance in the Sunshine State, start your quest by keeping a few things in mind that can help you get the best rate.

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The best comparison of companies happens when you’ve done your homework and properly researched all aspects of car insurance.

The first step to research is understanding everything on your policy as well as the laws in Florida that govern the types and limits of insurance you are required to have.

Each state sets their own laws when it comes to auto insurance, and Florida’s limits are not necessarily the same as they are everywhere else.

1. Understand Florida Auto Insurance Requirements

Florida requires every motorist to have a valid Florida license plate and carry both personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability insurance, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

The minimum on each type of liability coverage is $10,000 and $20,000, although you are free to go higher if you think you need additional protection, as Florida has the lowest minimums in the US.

While the Sun Sentinel reports Florida personal injury protection laws have changed, the change mainly affects the waiting period for seeking medical help. Injuries must now be tended to within 14 days and only emergency treatment is reimbursed up to $10,000.

Non-emergency care is only covered up to $2,500. Another change is the type of medical care that is covered. Chiropractors are still on the list, but acupuncturists and massage therapists are no longer eligible for coverage under the new regulations.

The changes were designed to cut down on PIP insurance fraud, which the Sentinel says has increased dramatically in recent years.

The cost of PIP coverage may or may not be affected but that will only be seen over the longer term. Insurance companies will eventually be required to reduce their PIP rates or explain why they are unable to reduce them.

The Office of Insurance Regulation explains that an average 25-year-old single male in West Palm Beach paid $376 for PIP in 2008 but would be expected to pay $992.50 in 2013.

Understanding what the revised law covers can help you choose wisely when it comes to deciding on the amount of PIP coverage you intend to purchase.

Understanding the rest of the policy is necessary for finding the cheap Florida insurance since you could otherwise end up paying for coverage you neither want nor need.

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2. Understand Your Auto Insurance Policy

Your Florida auto insurance policy must contain the minimum $10,000 coverage for personal injury protection (PIP) and the minimum $10,000 coverage for property damage liability (PDL). This liability coverage is also known as no-fault insurance in Florida.

PIP covers your injuries from a crash, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. The limits you choose for PIP dictates how much coverage you receive. A definite benefit of PIP insurance is its broad applications.

In a no-fault state like Florida, personal injury protection also extends to your passengers if they do not have their own auto insurance which would otherwise cover their injuries.

Additionally, PIP covers your children if they are injured on a school bus as well as your injuries in other accidents where you are not driving. It covers you if you are injured while on a bicycle, in another person’s vehicle, or on the sidewalk hit by a vehicle.

PDL, on the other hand, only kicks in if you were at fault for the accident. It then covers the damage done to other people’s property in the event of an accident.

Basic Florida Auto Insurance Coverage Beyond the Minimum

Keeping your Florida car insurance at the very minimum amount of coverage may keep your rates cheapest, but it may not offer the coverage you need.

Bodily injury liability, for instance, is not mentioned as mandatory, but it may help protect you from being sued if someone is injured in an accident that was your fault. If the accident was the other person’s fault, the person’s own PIP would cover it.

Other coverage types that go beyond Florida’s minimum include collision coverage and comprehensive coverage.

Collision coverage takes care of the cost of repairs if your car is damaged in a collision. Comprehensive coverage takes care of the cost of damage due to other events, such as weather-related damage and theft.

Extras that Usually Cost Extra

Most insurance companies offer a host of other options that may go far beyond the basics. Some of these may include roadside assistance, towing, car rental costs, and special coverage during travel.

Coverage for custom extras and electronics added to your vehicle may be an option with certain companies. Some may even offer coverage that reimburses you for lost wages and essential home services during injury recuperation.

3. Look for Rate Reductions and Discounts

You have two main ways to find rate reductions for Florida car insurance. One is to know what factors affect your premium. The other is to check out available discounts.

Many Florida insurance companies may offer the same type of discounts found in other states. Typical discounts usually include money off for being a good driver, good student, or a mature, experienced driver.

Others may come from insuring more than one vehicle with the same company, insuring both your home and car with the same company, or having safety devices and anti-theft devices in your vehicle.

Low annual mileage may merit a discount, as may reducing your driving by car pooling or enhancing your driving skills with defensive driving or other courses.

Looking at What Affects Your Premium

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While you cannot control every factor that goes into calculating your premium, you do have some sway over several of them. Reviewing those you can amend to keep your premiums lowest may help you obtain cheap car insurance in Florida.

Your age and gender are beyond your control. Some age and gender combinations are statistically more likely to be in accidents, so those are the people who usually pay the highest premiums to offset the risk.

Male drivers under age 25 generally have higher rates than other categories.

Your marital status and household information also play a part in your premium. Although you can change both factors, doing so for the sake of an auto insurance policy may not be the most romantic option or family-friendly option.

Remember, the higher your coverage limits, the higher your premiums are likely to be. This is something to keep in mind if you choose to take your PIP and PDL above Florida’s $10,000 minimum.

Additional factors include your driving record, where you live, the type of vehicle you drive, and your vehicle’s use. Good driving records typically merit the cheapest auto insurance rates in Florida or anywhere.

Living or working in congested areas with high car theft rates such as Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville usually results in higher premiums than more rural locations.

Vehicle types that are generally cheaper to insure include those with low theft rates that are inexpensive to repair. Your rates may dip if you do not drive that often and only for personal pleasure. Driving to work or using your vehicle as part of your job may result in higher rates.

Your credit history can also be a factor in your auto insurance rates. Companies may review your credit report and charge more if you have a poor credit history, outstanding balances, and weak financial stability.

4. Compare Auto Insurance Quotes

Your final step for help getting cheap car insurance rates in Florida is comparing more than one company.

Figuring out what you want and need may help stop companies from adding unnecessary coverage types when they prepare a quote. It may also stop you from giving different companies different information.

Comparisons only work if you are comparing exact insurance types and limits on your proposed policy.

Asking about discounts is a must, as not all of them are always obvious or incorporated automatically into a policy quote. For instance, military discounts might be an option that a company does not bring up unless you mention your eligibility.

You may also want to consider comparing other aspects of the companies that go beyond the cost.

Customer satisfaction, financial stability, and ratings from consumer agencies may help guide you to making a final decision. Also, make sure the company is properly licensed to sell before you sign on the dotted line for any policy.

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