If you live in Florida, you can expect to pay more for car insurance than Americans in nearly every other state. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find the best deal.
Florida has the third highest insurance rate in the country. Floridians pay an average annual premium of $2,298.
"When our clients move from Chicago or the surrounding suburbs, they think their auto insurance will go down when they move to Florida, but they are wrong," says David Miller, a personal insurance agent for the last 25 years and vice president, client executive at Plexus Private Client Solutions in Illinois.
One reason is that there are many uninsured drivers on the Sunshine State’s roads. Insurance Information Institute estimates that 26.7% of Florida drivers are uninsured.
"Florida is consistently among the worst states in terms of uninsured drivers on the road,” Miller says.
Fortunately, there are ways you can save by being an informed consumer. That means doing a bit of research and comparison shopping.
Here's what you need to know about the best car insurance in Florida and how to land an affordable rate.
How Florida insurance companies determine your rate
Florida insurance companies use several variables to determine your car insurance rate:
- Your driving record
- The make and model of your car
- Your age and gender
- Where you live
- Your credit history
You have to follow Florida's minimum insurance requirements. Those requirements are:
- $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP)
- $10,000 in minimum property damage liability
Personal injury protection provides coverage if you or someone else is injured in a car accident -- whether it's your fault or theirs. Property damage liability provides coverage if you damage another person's vehicle or other public or private property.
Florida has the lowest minimum insurance requirements in the country, Miller says. Getting the minimum required coverage generally isn't a good idea.
"Your policy gets to pay for your injuries and your damaged vehicle - even if the accident isn't your fault. Insurance companies know this, so they adjust their rates accordingly," Miller says.
The average annual rate in Florida is $884 for minimum PIP and property damage liability insurance compared to $1,823 for full coverage. It’s likely a wise decision to increase your coverage and reduce your financial exposure in case you get into an auto accident.
If you're looking for ways to save, there are plenty of options to help you do it.
Shopping for car insurance
Before you shop for car insurance, figure out how much insurance you actually need.
If your car is less than 10 years old, it's best to get more coverage. Penny Gusner, a consumer analyst with Insurance.com, recommends coverage of at least:
- $100,000 per person
- $300,000 per accident
- $100,000 for property damage
You especially want this expanded coverage if your net worth is between $50,000 and $100,000.
If your net worth is above this threshold, consider getting at least:
- $250,000 per person
- $500,000 per accident
- $100,000 in property damage liability insurance
If you have an older vehicle, consider your budget and potential replacement costs when deciding on coverage. The Car Insurance Coverage Calculator can help you figure out what you need. Once you've done this due diligence, get quotes from multiple insurance companies for the same coverage.
Rates will vary by company. How much? Here’s how five insurers compare in Florida for three coverage levels:
- State minimum liability requirements
- Liability limits of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident, and $50,000 property damage
- Liability of $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident and $100,000 property damage, with comprehensive and collision at $500 deductible
State minimum average annual rate
50/100/50 average annual rate
100/300/100 average annual rate
21st Century Centennial
How to get the best car insurance in Florida
If this price range is outside your budget, doing the following may reduce your car insurance costs:
- Boost your credit score: "Credit is a huge determinant of premium. In some cases, it is more important than whether or not you've had a couple of moving violations," Miller says.
- Take advantage of organization discounts: If you're a member of the military or AARP, you can get discounted auto insurance. Several university alumni associations, employers, and wholesale clubs also offer them. Affiliation discounts can save you as much as 25%.
- Raise your deductible: Increasing your deductible to $500, for example, can save you 15% to 30% on car insurance costs, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
- Be a loyal customer: "If you have a home, insure it with the same company as your car. If you rent, take out renters’ insurance. Even if your insurance doesn't offer a home/auto account credit, it shows the insurance company you are more than just a 'monoline [one type of insurance] policy,'" Miller says.
- Practice good driving habits: Being a safe driver can lower your car insurance by as much as 5%. Driving fewer miles a year will also save you money.
- Take a driver training course: Check with your insurance company or search online to find out where an approved defensive driving course is taught in your area. If your son or daughter drives your car, having them take a driver's education course could get you discounted insurance.
Like any form of insurance, car insurance is a necessary expense that can financially protect you for all of life's "what-ifs." In Florida, you may have to pay an average of nearly $2,300 a year for car insurance, but you can offset some of the cost if you search for discounts and compare rates.
Take all these steps to find the best car insurance in Florida and a policy you can afford. You might be tempted to forgo insurance, but in the long run, it's more costly to go without it.