Florida auto insurance law is pretty different from other states and has a fairly unique take on the No Fault law.
The first part of the Florida auto insurance law that is very important to know is called the Florida Financial Responsibility Law. The exact law refers to the fact that if you are driving you are legally bound to carry insurance or be able to show proof of financial ability to respond for damages. It also has specifics under which financial responsibility must be shown, the amount of responsibility, and penalties for failure to comply.
The law is triggered by an accident that or traffic violation. If, at the time of the occurrence, there is auto liability insurance in effect with limits of not less that 10/20/10, the law is essentially satisfied. Alternate ways that satisfy the law include being a qualified self-insurer or posting a bond or cash that guarantees responsibility.
Effective 10/1/2007, persons found guilty of DUI must purchase limits of 100/300/50 or post a bond in the amount of $350,000. If the person is then able to stay clean of another DUI during the next three years, they are allowed to return to the standard coverage limits. During the period of the higher limits, the insured must keep proof of coverage on them at all times.
As to required proof for future accidents by purchase of auto liability insurance, the insurer must make a filing (Form SR-22) certifying that coverage is in effect, and this certification must remain on file for three years. If the coverage is terminated within that time, a notice of cancellation must be filed and person again becomes subject to license/registration suspension.
Nonresidents are subject to the financial responsibility law as well and risk their operating privileges being suspended in Florida should they not comply. Florida will also honor suspensions from other state for violations of the law.
The personal auto policy in Florida will meet the minimum requirements of law in other states. Thus, a Florida insured with limits of 10/20/10 may be in a state that requires higher coverage and the policy will honor those higher coverages.
Florida No Fault Law
The main elements of the Florida law include:
- Those who are subject to the law, and comply with the law, are not subject to legal liability for causing bodily injuries to others, regardless of fault.
- As one may not be able to seek legal liability damages against another for bodily injuries, the law substitutes, under one’s own insurance, a coverage named “Personal Injury Protection” (PIP). This coverage provides first-party benefits for economic loss, without regard to fault.
- The law requires that PIP insurance be carried by the owners of motor vehicles, and imposes penalties for failing to do so.
An important point: the law has nothing to do with property damage. It applies to bodily injury claims only. In the area of property damage, the traditional legal system handles the claims.