Getting cheap car insurance is dependant on one’s knowledge of available auto insurance options. This article takes a look at different auto insurance coverage options in detail so that it provides the necessary information to compare and shop for cheap auto insurance quotes in Florida for the right coverage and not just the mandatory cover of $10,000 PIP and $10,000 PDL.
Do not be carried away by cheap insurance claims which peddle minimum covers. They are cheap for a reason. The art of cheap Florida auto insurance has more to do with understanding the actual coverage you would need when you need it (before an accident happens) without cutting corners. Striking a balance on coverage which is adequate while keeping it all affordable is what cheap Florida auto insurance is all about.
The minimum statutory insurance cover is neither adequate nor cheap if god forbid, you end up being in an incident. Costs multiply quickly even in a seemingly minor incident. The minimum statutory cover (PIP) guarantees swift medical help when needed, instead of trying to see who pays for what up to the permissible limit. But with medical cost being what they are costs escalate quickly and the minimum is not adequate. You can buy additional/optional medical payment insurance.
Med pay covers medical bills of the person insured, person’s family and other passengers, just as PIP coverage would pay. Coverage extends even if not in own car, as a bicycle rider, or a pedestrian etc.
If someone else drives the insured person’s car and has an accident, that person may be covered by med pay irrespective of whether person has own med pay or not.
Med pay will not pay for lost wages if in an incident, or maid service. This will be paid by PIP.
Florida being a no-fault state, the mandatory Property damage of $10,000 will help pay damages you caused to others. But what happens when you are hit by someone else? You are at the mercy of the other party’s insurance company who might not respond to your need as quickly. It might end up being a long drawn process, with paper work, investigations etc. What if there is no police report filed? Collision coverage comes to your aid in such circumstances.
Collision coverage applies for the following:
You can file a claim with your own company quickly so you are not stranded for lack of a car. Having a rental car at your disposal until the car is repaired will not disrupt your life. (Make sure this option is provided with the coverage when you shop) Getting to work, picking up and dropping off your kids etc cannot stop just because you do not have a car right?
Deductible: The collision deductible kicks in though so keep the deductible affordable and not too high which you cannot pay. A bit of what-if analysis will help you arrive at a deductible which will not break the bank or keep your premiums very high. Remember, your deductible should be an amount you can pay at all times easily. Your insurance company will take care of recovery from the other party. The insurance company will repair or pay up to the market value or fair value of the car minus the deductible which you will have to pay. Collision coverage is a must have in Florida with a high incidence of uninsured motorists.
Hit and Runs: Collision coverage will help to repair damages if driver is not found. Another point to verify with your insurance agent is how the collision coverage applies in a hit and run incident.
While Collision covers damages from collisions caused by you or others, comprehensive covers everything else other than a collision. You can buy only collision or comprehensive coverage but typically both are sold together. If you are leasing or financing a car the leasing company will insist on you having both comprehensive and collision coverage.
Comprehensive coverage typically pays for the following: (Important to check with insurance company for finer detail as each insurance company differs)
If you live in an area where theft is high, park the car on a street instead of a garage, drive a car which is a thief magnet, drive a lot of miles for work, live in farm country where the chances of run ins with live stock is high, or deer encounters are common definitely go in for comprehensive coverage.
In case of a qualifying incident, the insurance company will pay up to the actual cash value of the car minus the deductible which you have to pay. Choose the right deductible which you can pay at all times. Keep it high enough to reduce premiums and low enough so you can pay it always.
Questions to ask with Insurance company/agent when you compare rates for Comprehensive Collision Coverage:
If an expensive car got totaled in an incident, for which the auto loan is still being paid the comprehensive collision coverage only pays the actual cash value which might be lower than the loan amount due. “Guaranteed Auto Protection” or GAP coverage will help pay the difference.
This difference in value is due to depreciation. The minute a car is driven off the dealership it depreciates by 10%. Typically after 5 years of ownership a car is worth only less than 40% of the actual value.
GAP Insurance should be considered if:
Another advantage of having comprehensive coverage is that Florida Statute 627.7288 mandates free replacement of damaged windshield without any deductibles by auto insurers. It is not only 100% free, but also gives total discretion to choose the business which repairs or replaces the windshield provided it is a reputed business.
If you have only the minimum mandated Florida auto insurance coverage then you will have to bear the expenses of repairing or replacing the windshield yourself.
How to tell if your windshield needs only repair and not replacement?
Please be aware that you can get a ticket if you are seen driving with a windshield that is not safe. The discretion lies with the police officer. If pulled over for this you will have 30 days to fix the windshield and mail the proof of repair/replacement to the county clerk where you were fined. Your car can be declared unsafe to drive and might have to be towed at significant cost to you. Fix a chipped or cracked windshield immediately.
Considering one in five drivers in Florida is uninsured/underinsured this coverage is important so that one is adequately protected financially in an incident which is caused by the fault of an uninsured/underinsured motorist. According to the Insurance Information Institute Florida has the highest uninsured motorists at 26.7% as of 2015.
This insurance typically pays medical bills if there are other people in the car or lost wages after the limits of a minimal policy.
This coverage is essential in Florida:
So How Much Coverage is essential?
Stackable UM Coverage simply stacks up UM coverage on multiple cars in one claim. So if there are 3 cars in the policy, the total sum of all 3 cars can be claimed in a qualifying incident.
In Florida, if you opt for bodily injury liability insurance, as per law, the insurance company is required to also provide Uninsured Motorist coverage, unless it is expressly rejected by the buyer. Florida Statute 727.727(1) reads:
No motor vehicle liability insurance policy which provides bodily injury liability coverage shall be delivered in this state with respect to any specifically insured or identified motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in this state unless uninsured motor vehicle coverage is provided therein or supplemental thereto for the protection of persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death, resulting there from. However, the coverage required under this section is not applicable when, or to the extent that, an insured named in the policy makes a written rejection of the coverage on behalf of all insured parties under the policy.”
“Uninsured drivers create risks for themselves and for all drivers, and that means purchasing just the minimum amount of required coverage may not be enough,” says Lynne Christian, Florida representative for the I.I.I. “Purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will pay for medical expenses and lost wages after the limits of a minimal policy are paid out.”
Top 10 Highest and Lowest States by Estimated Percentage of Uninsured Motorists, 2015 (1)
https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists#Top 10 Highest and Lowest States by Estimated Percentage of Uninsured Motorists, 2015 (1)
BI protects an injured person if the insured person is at fault causing a serious injury. This coverage helps pay the liability of the insured person to cover the damages of people injured in an accident. BI will pay monetary compensation for injuries incurred up to the covered amount.
This is an optional coverage unless convicted of DUI. But it is a recommended coverage for the following reasons:
Recommended BI coverage Limits:
The financial Responsibility Law of Florida has a requirement of $10,000 and $20,000 per accident, which is inadequate. It is recommended to have $100,000 per person and $300,000 per incident.
Please note, UM insurance cover limits should match the same amount as the BI policy.
SR-22(Safety-Responsibility) is a proof of insurance document verifying that someone has auto insurance with BI and PDL. This document is prepared and filed by the insurance company with the department of Motor Vehicles.(DMV) It is required when a driver seeks reinstatement of driver’s license after a DUI conviction, reckless driving, driving without insurance, or other moving violations that resulted in a suspension of driving privileges.
Depending on whether person owns a vehicle or not Owner-22 or non-owner-22 is filed as required. SR-22 is needed for 5 years after a DUI conviction. If the policy holder does not pay the premiums, SR-22 is cancelled and an SR-26 is filed with the DMV. The policy holder’s license is suspended until a new SR-22 is filed by the insurance agent or company.
An FR-44 is required if a person is convicted for driving under the influence.(DUI) This document is proof of purchase of increased BIL/PDL insurance coverage of $100K/300k/50K. Filing FR-44 to the DMV is mandatory for 3 years from the original suspension date.
The FR-44 will be submitted by the insurance agent or company.
This coverage helps pay the cost of a car rental when the car is being repaired from a qualifying incident which is covered by comprehensive collision Insurance. crashing into a wall, damage from vandalism or a branch falling on the car etc. This coverage can only be availed with comprehensive collision coverage.
For a monthly coverage cost ranging from $.1.50 to $100.00 this is a must have add on to your collision coverage.There is a per day, per incident limit. For ex. $30.00/day, 900.00/incident option lets one rent a car at 30.00 per day up to $900.00. Depending on the car driven and the city rates vary. But it is a must have since paying out of pocket is always more expensive. Discounts are also given by car rental companies when your car is being repaired.
Renting a similar car being repaired is allowed but keep in mind the duration needed to repair the car and choose accordingly. Discuss with the insurance company coverage for a minimum of 10 days to 2 weeks to get a standard quote to compare easily.
Important to Note:
This will pay for food, transportation and hotel expenses if your vehicle is disabled in an incident covered by your comprehensive or collision insurance more than 50 miles from your home. Check with the insurance co. if this coverage is offered. This feature is not as popular as the rental coverage. If your lifestyle or work has plenty of driving it is worth having this optional coverage.
Running out of gas, flats, being locked out, engine failure, stuck wheels etc., these are some of the emergencies that are covered. This is also called towing and labor coverage and provides the following services when needed:
Coverage rates and options vary from each insurance company. So ask for detailed information as to limits, exclusions, and covered services when you shop for this coverage. Due to negotiated rates it is cheaper to get services through the insurance company rather than call independent providers.
When you are in an emergency you have to call a pre-determined number to get service 24 hours which is very convenient. Obviously you do not want the hassle of finding a local provider especially if it is night time and unknown locales.
The cost of this coverage is negligible and worth having especially if you do not belong to any automotive or travel clubs like AAA.
Use the information to make a checklist of questions, comments under different coverage options to get the cheapest Florida auto insurance with optimum coverage.