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Why is Florida Car Insurance so Expensive?

By Michael O'Connor | November 4, 2021

Living in Florida has a lot of benefits for many different people. The sun, beautiful landscapes, and attractions make it a great place to call home. However, one of the downsides of living in the Sunshine State is that car insurance can be very expensive, which increases the true cost of ownership for most vehicles as well as the overall cost of living.

While Florida is one of the most expensive states for car insurance for a lot of different reasons, there are a few ways you can get cheaper coverage. Knowing why the prices are so high in the first place can help you lower your insurance costs so you can enjoy living in such a fantastic state.

Why is Florida Car Insurance So Expensive?

Because Florida requires relatively comprehensive car insurance, many people wonder about the cost of that kind of coverage. The truth is, insurance in Florida is expensive when compared to the national average.

As of 2021, Floridians pay $2,364 per year on average for full coverage and $1,101 for minimum coverage car insurance. Nationally, the average annual premiums are much lower at $1,674 for full car insurance coverage and just $565 for the minimum.

Insurance companies determine premiums for insurance based on quite a few different factors. In Florida, a lot of them come into play and make the prices much higher than they are in other states. Knowing what these factors are can help you understand why insurance is so expensive there.

Population

Florida has an incredibly high population for its size, which makes it a very dense state. Even though Florida is only 22nd in size, it is third in population in the United States. It only falls behind California and New York when it comes to the number of people living in the state.

Because of this dense population, the roadways are very busy. When roadways are busier, car accidents are much more likely to happen. In fact, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department, Florida has up to 400,000 vehicle accidents per year, which translates to an average of 1,100 accidents every day. This presents a higher risk to car insurance companies, which translates to higher costs.

Tourism

Tourism is another factor that drives insurance rates up in the state. Florida hosts 128 million tourists every year who are trying to see the region’s many different attractions. When people are driving in an unfamiliar area, they are more prone to accidents and potential vehicle damage on the road. Insurance companies understand this and take it into account when they are setting their rates in certain areas.

Uninsured Motorists

Uninsured motorists will always drive up the cost of insurance. This is because when you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, the company will pay for damages under uninsured motorist coverage. This puts the company at a much higher risk and costs them more money than they would pay if both drivers were insured.

In Florida, 26.7 percent of drivers don’t have insurance. Since 2009, this has been the main reason companies have had to increase car insurance premiums in the state. Unfortunately, the high cost of insurance causes a higher number of uninsured drivers, which exacerbates the problem.

Weather

While Florida is known for having lots of warm sunshine, it is also known for hurricanes and other extreme weather. This increases the chance that vehicles will sustain damage whether they are on the road or not. Whenever bad weather conditions come around, more accidents are likely to happen and vehicles are much more susceptible to damage, which leads to high rates. This is especially true when people live near the ocean, rivers, or other areas that are prone to flooding.

Personal Injury Protection Requirement

In the state of Florida, all drivers are required to have Personal Injury Protection insurance. This makes it a no-fault state. This comprehensive coverage is not required in most other states and it drives up the total cost of coverage for all Florida drivers. PIP no-fault insurance covers a large portion of medical bills for both the driver of a vehicle and the passengers no matter who was at fault for the accident. This coverage requirement increases costs for drivers by 20 percent and is one of the main reasons insurance prices are so high in the state.

High-Risk Drivers

Any time an area has a population of high-risk drivers, insurance premiums are going to be higher. In Florida, there are a number of demographics that auto insurance companies consider to be high risk. Tourists, senior citizens, young drivers, and students make up large portions of the population in the state, which translates to what insurance companies consider a higher risk.

However, it should be noted that demographics like this are starting to become less of a factor in auto insurance premiums as time goes on. Companies are beginning to recognize that age does not necessarily constitute a higher risk and they are slowly starting to adjust.

Healthcare Costs

According to the Commonwealth Fund, Florida residents pay much more for healthcare than the average U.S. citizen. Because of this and the fact that the state requires insurance companies to pay for medical expenses incurred after an accident no matter who was at fault, the prices of insurance are much higher. Companies know that they will end up paying out much more per-accident and they adjust their rates accordingly.

High-Number of False Claims

When insurance companies have to get bogged down with legal matters, they tend to pass the cost onto the consumer. Unfortunately, Florida has a high prevalence of false insurance claims as well as many claims that involve legal representation. Because of this, companies have increased premiums to help offset some of the costs associated with pursuing these claims and getting them sorted out through the legal system.

Is Car Insurance Required in Florida?

Like most states, car insurance is required in Florida. This law keeps everyone safe and covered on the road and helps keep general costs down as much as possible. If you are caught driving without insurance, the penalties can be steep and you could even end up losing your license or your ability to get insurance in the future.

If you are caught once without car insurance in Florida, you will have to pay a $150 reinstatement fee and you could have your license and registration suspended for up to three years if you don’t show proof of insurance on time. If you are caught twice, the fee goes up to $250 and any offenses after that will result in a $500 fee.

If you are driving without insurance and end up getting in an accident, not only could you possibly be held personally responsible for any damages, you will also have to complete an SR-22 certificate. This certificate could cause you to pay much higher auto insurance rates in the future and even make it difficult to get any insurance at all.

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Florida

In Florida, you need to have both Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage Liability coverage. Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, covers 80 percent of medical expenses from an accident no matter who is at fault. Property Damage Liability, or PDL, pays for damage to another person’s property or vehicle if you are at fault.

You need to have at least $10,000 in PIP and $10,000 in PDL collision coverage to drive in Florida. This coverage needs to be continuous whether the vehicle is being driven regularly or not and even if it is inoperable. If you are going to cancel your insurance, you have to surrender your license plates and tags before you do so.

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance Rates in Florida

Even though insurance rates in Florida are high, there are ways you can decrease your individual rates. Insurance companies take where you live into account but they also consider many other factors that you have control over. Knowing what these factors are can help you work to get the cheapest car insurance rates possible and keep your driving costs down.

Keep a Clean Driving Record

The best thing to do to keep your insurance costs low is to be a safe driver and maintain a clean driving record. More than anything else, companies will look at your driving history and make their determination for your rates. By driving carefully and avoiding issues, you can keep your costs low.

Insurance companies cannot look at your complete motor vehicle report, but they can look at things like tickets, accidents, and any convictions you might have had in the past related to driving. Depending on the company, they will look at your record for the past three to five years. Some offenses, such as a DUI, will be on your record for much longer and will have more of an effect on your insurance rates.

Buy a Safe Vehicle

The kind of vehicle you drive will heavily influence how much you pay for insurance. Safer vehicles like hybrids and family sedans will be much cheaper to insure than high-powered, high-performance vehicles. If you want to get the lowest possible insurance rates, a safe car is your best option.

Raise Your Credit Score

Insurance companies look at your credit score when determining rates for your insurance. They use this as a metric to assess their risk in insuring you and your vehicle. People with poor credit are much more likely to pay higher premiums. The higher your credit score is, the lower your insurance premiums are likely to be.

You can increase your score and get good credit in many different ways. Things like paying bills on time, keeping your debt low, and having a long credit history can all have a positive effect on your credit score. A higher score can also help you get better rates on auto loans and credit cards as well.

Live in a Smaller City

If you live in a larger city like Miami, you will be much more likely to be in an accident on busier roads. Insurance companies understand this and will charge you a higher rate to help offset some of this risk. Living in smaller towns like Gainesville and Panama City will get you lower rates on your car insurance due to the lower population and less crowded roads.

Bundle Policies

If you bundle your different types of insurance, you can save money overall. By combining your auto insurance policy with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, you can pay less for all of them. Depending on your insurance provider, you should be able to get all the insurance coverage options you need in one place.

Shop Around

Getting as many quotes as possible for your car insurance can help you get the best rate. All insurance companies are different and look at various things when determining their premiums. You might get vastly different car insurance quotes from Allstate than you would from Progressive or Nationwide, so it is important that you get quotes from a wide variety of providers.

Look for Discounts

Many insurance companies offer discounts for certain driving habits and demographics. Discounts for things like being a good driver, low mileage, and being a good student can all be applied to your final rate. Some of these discounts can get you up to 25 percent off, which can bring your rates closer to the national average cost of car insurance if you live in Florida. Check with your provider or insurance agent to see if you are eligible for any of these price reductions.

Drive Less

One of the best ways to get a cheaper rate on your insurance is to drive your car less. Many companies offer per-mile insurance plans that will cover you like any other plan but will be dependent on how many miles you drive. If you only need a car every now and then, this could be one of your best options for coverage.

Final Thoughts

Even though Florida has some of the highest insurance rates in the country, there are many ways you can save money on your coverage. By understanding some of the factors that determine your rate, you can get the possible price. While you might not be able to control where you live, you can work on several other things to get a better rate for your car insurance in Florida.