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Florida Auto Accidents

JUNE 2009 Florida Auto Accidents: Damage to the Vehicle A Safer Florida Department of Motor Vehicles about Property Damage Coverage in Florida:

I am registering a vehicle for the first time in Florida. Is automobile insurance mandatory? Yes. If you own a vehicle with at least four wheels and are registering it, you must have Florida insurance.

What type of insurance is required to purchase and maintain a Florida tag and registration? Florida's minimum coverage is $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 property damage liability (PDL) as long as you have a valid Florida tag.

What is " Bodily Injury Liability" (BIL) insurance? Bodily Injury Liability coverage pays for serious and permanent injury or death to others when you cause a crash involving your automobile. Your insurance company will pay for injuries up to the limits of your policy and provide legal representation for you if you get sued. In particular, your company pays for injuries caused by you or members of your family who live with you, even if they were driving someone else's vehicle. It may also cover others who drive your automobile with your permission. This coverage also provides you with legal defense in the event you are sued by the injured party.

What is "Property Damage Liability" (PDL) insurance? This coverage pays for damages you or members of your family cause (and are liable for) to other people's property in a crash involving a motor vehicle.
What is meant by "Florida Coverage"? Florida coverage is an insurance policy delivered or issued for delivery in Florida by an insurance company licensed by the Florida Department of Financial Services.
Can I maintain my current policy issued in my previous state of residence? The minimum required insurance must be issued through a Florida agent with an insurance company licensed to sell in Florida. Most insurers have Florida agents and are licensed to issue policies in Florida. Just ask your agent to transfer your current insurance to Florida when you register a vehicle in Florida.

What if I fail to keep insurance on my vehicle that I have registered in Florida? The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is authorized to suspend your driving privilege, including your vehicle tag and registration, for up to three years or until proof of Florida insurance is provided, whichever is first.
If my driving privilege is suspended because I am not properly insured, is there a penalty to reinstate my license? Yes. A reinstatement fee of $150 up to $500, for subsequent violations, must be paid and you must provide proof of current Florida insurance.

I live outside Florida for six months a year. When not in Florida, my vehicle is in storage and not used. Must I maintain automobile insurance? Yes. Any vehicle holding a valid Florida tag and registration must be covered by a Florida insurance policy throughout the entire registration period. When you leave Florida, you may surrender your tag and registration at the nearest driver license or tag office to avoid maintaining your policy. You can always register your vehicle upon your return to Florida, at which time you can provide proof of Florida insurance.

I am not a resident of Florida but I have business that keeps me in Florida sometimes for several months at a time. Must I comply with Florida's insurance laws? Yes. Any person who has a vehicle in Florida for more than 90 days during a 365-day period must purchase personal injury protection and property damage liability insurance coverage. The 90 days do not have to be consecutive.

I own multiple vehicles. Some are not used for different reasons, but the county I live in requires that the vehicles remain registered. Must I maintain insurance coverage on these vehicles? Yes. Insurance coverage must be maintained throughout the entire vehicle registration period, whether the vehicle is used or not.

What can I do to avoid a driving privilege suspension when I choose not to insure a vehicle? To avoid a driving privilege suspension, surrender the vehicle's tag and registration at any Florida driver license or tag office, prior to canceling your insurance policy.

If my driving privilege is suspended for no insurance, will I be granted a temporary driver license for Business or Employment purposes? No. There is no provision in Florida's motor vehicle insurance laws for the issuance of any sort of temporary or restricted driver license for financial responsibility suspensions.

I am self-employed as a taxi driver and the only vehicle I own is registered as a taxicab. Must I carry automobile insurance? Yes. You must carry Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage of $125,000 per person, $250,000 per occurrence and $50,000 for property damage liability (PDL) coverage.
Click here for Florida Statute Motor Vehciles Financial Responsibility 324.022  Financial responsibility for property damage.--

(1)  Every owner or operator of a motor vehicle required to be registered in this state shall establish and maintain the ability to respond in damages for liability on account of accidents arising out of the use of the motor vehicle in the amount of $10,000 because of damage to, or destruction of, property of others in any one crash. The requirements of this section may be met by one of the methods established in s. 324.031; by self-insuring as authorized by s. 768.28(16); or by maintaining an insurance policy providing coverage for property damage liability in the amount of at least $10,000 because of damage to, or destruction of, property of others in any one accident arising out of the use of the motor vehicle. The requirements of this section may also be met by having a policy which provides coverage in the amount of at least $30,000 for combined property damage liability and bodily injury liability for any one crash arising out of the use of the motor vehicle. The policy, with respect to coverage for property damage liability, must meet the applicable requirements of s. 324.151, subject to the usual policy exclusions that have been approved in policy forms by the Office of Insurance Regulation. No insurer shall have any duty to defend uncovered claims irrespective of their joinder with covered claims.

(2)  As used in this section, the term:
(a)  "Motor vehicle" means any self-propelled vehicle that has four or more wheels and that is of a type designed and required to be licensed for use on the highways of this state, and any trailer or semitrailer designed for use with such vehicle. The term does not include:
1.  A mobile home.
2.  A motor vehicle that is used in mass transit and designed to transport more than five passengers,   exclusive of the operator of the motor vehicle, and that is owned by a municipality, transit authority, or political subdivision of the state.
3.  A school bus as defined in s. 1006.25.
4.  A vehicle providing for-hire transportation that is subject to the provisions of s. 324.031. A taxicab shall maintain security as required under s. 324.032(1).
(b)  "Owner" means the person who holds legal title to a motor vehicle or the debtor or lessee who has the right to possession of a motor vehicle that is the subject of a security agreement or lease with an option to purchase.

(3)  Each nonresident owner or registrant of a motor vehicle that, whether operated or not, has been physically present within this state for more than 90 days during the preceding 365 days shall maintain security as required by subsection (1) that is in effect continuously throughout the period the motor vehicle remains within this state.

(4)  The owner or registrant of a motor vehicle is exempt from the requirements of this section if she or he is a member of the United States Armed Forces and is called to or on active duty outside the United States in an emergency situation. The exemption provided by this subsection applies only as long as the member of the Armed Forces is on such active duty outside the United States and applies only while the vehicle is not operated by any person. Upon receipt of a written request by the insured to whom the exemption provided in this subsection applies, the insurer shall cancel the coverages and return any unearned premium or suspend the security required by this section. Notwithstanding s. 324.0221(3), the department may not suspend the registration or operator's license of any owner or registrant of a motor vehicle during the time she or he qualifies for an exemption under this subsection. Any owner or registrant of a motor vehicle who qualifies for an exemption under this subsection shall immediately notify the department prior to and at the end of the expiration of the exemption. History.--s. 8, ch. 88-370; s. 1, ch. 89-238; s. 302, ch. 99-248; s. 4, ch. 2007-324.

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