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Am I Paying Too Much For Florida Auto Insurance

If you have been involved in a an SUV or car accident in the Tampa Bay area call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez at 813-755-9500
Am I Paying Too Much For Florida Auto Insurance

Am I Paying Too Much For Florida Auto Insurance?

Most likely yes, you are paying too much unless you are shopping around for new auto insurance at least yearly.  There are many reasons why you are paying too much, but frankly, have no loyalty to your insurance carrier because they have none to you. People quite often stay with the insurance carriers because they are either too busy or lazy to change companies or they are too loyal.  This is silly.  It’s your money and think about how long it took you to earn that money.

Who Has the Cheapest Car Insurance In Florida?

Florida has some of the most expensive auto insurance in the country, but, according to MarketWatch, State Farm tends to offer the cheapest full coverage in Florida, costing an average of $151 per month or $1,813 per year. Geico is a close second, offering full-coverage policies at rates of $171 per month or $2,057 per year on average.

Which Are the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Florida?

According to Quadrant Information Services, Bankrate’s insurance editorial team,  the average rates for Florida car insurance are $1,128 for state-mandated minimum insurance (which is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage) and $3,183 for full coverage (PIP, PD and Bodily Injury, collision and comprehensive) insurance. These rates are high compared to the national average of $622 for minimum and $2,014 for full coverage.

Key takeaways

How Expensive Is Car Insurance in Florida?

Car insurance for Floridians is 66% more expensive than than the national average at $1462 for a 6-month policy. Unfortunately, many in Florida cut out bodily injury liability insurance and this leaves them personally exposed and no compensation for the victim of the accident.

But I Am Loyal To My Insurance Company

In my opinion, loyalty is the worst reason to stay with an auto insurance carrier in Florida.  Why? Go get three moving violations and see how fast they drop you after being with them for 20 years and no tickets.  Trust me, shop around and if they have the best price, stay.  Otherwise, change companies even if you have to change every year.  You are just a number to them – quite literally a policy number.  Insurance companies count on your loyalty and laziness so they increase your rates, hoping you do not mind.  It’s your money.

What Car Insurance Companies Are Good?

Many insurance companies are “good” but that does not mean you should stay loyal to them. Go with a top rated insurance company and you should be able to avoid a lot of problems. Consumer Reports’ latest car insurance survey of more than 90,000 CR members found that seven car insurance companies lost at least 20% of their customers over a recent five-year period. Those companies are:

  • Farmers Insurance: 27% of customers lost;
  • The Hartford: 27%;
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance: 27%;
  • Nationwide: 26%;
  • Allstate: 23%;
  • Progressive: 21%;
  • Travelers: 20%;

Meanwhile, other insurance companies appear to generate more loyalty. For example, USAA lost just 2% of its customers over that five-year period. Amica (6%), State Farm (12%) and Geico (18%) also lost relatively low levels of customers.

Why Do Customers Leave Their Car Insurance Company?

Money is the biggest reason to leave an auto insurance carrier.  According to the survey, 62% switched insurers because another company offered better rates or for rate hikes.

By contrast, less than 10% of customers cited nonfinancial reasons such as following recommendations of family and friends, or having problems with an insurer’s honesty or level of courtesy.

But make sure you are comparing “apples-to-apples” and not dropping certain valuable coverage just to save a buck.  Insurance coverage like Uninsured Motorist is vital and should never be dropped.

How often should I shop for new car insurance?

Try to shop for new auto insurance every year or two.  If you don’t regularly shop for car insurance, you’re probably making a mistake. As Consumer Reports notes:

“Among the 22 percent of Consumer Reports members who told us they’d switched insurers in the past five years, 62 percent said they’d found a better price. And 77 percent of those who switched said they were highly satisfied with their new carrier.”

When I was a newlywed and money was extremely tight as both my wife and I had just graduated from law school, I shopped every six months when it came up for renewal.  Much to the frustration of my wife because she never really knew who our auto insurance carrier was, we saved anywhere from $80 to $200 per 6 months.  Three years later, after no claims ever being filed, our insurance coverage was cheaper for two cars than it was for one car 3-years earlier.  Twice the insurance carrier kept our business because I found a cheaper carrier and they wanted to keep my business so they cut their prices to beat the competition.

How Should I Shop for New Car Insurance?

You could call all of the insurance carriers or go online, but that is time-consuming.  If you don’t have the time or knowledge, you might want to consider letting a third party like Gabi or The Zebra gather quotes from auto insurers for you.

I, however, like having the same human take care of me and that will look out for me.  I, therefore, like shopping with auto insurance brokers that will bundle my home with my car for even more savings.  Brokers like AAA or Adrian Fernandez Insurance (813-872-8481) or Adam Talley (813-685-9393) with Talley Insurance are local and will shop several companies at the same time and will streamline the car insurance shopping process.

What Are the Minimum Coverage Requirements for Florida Drivers?

Drivers in Florida have to carry at least a minimum amount of coverage to drive legally.

As Florida is a no-fault state, the statement minimum is:

  • $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP)
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident

Is Bodily Injury Liability Required in Florida?

No, bodily injury liability insurance is not required in Florida.  Florida drivers are supposed to prove their ability to pay for damages they cause in an accident by filing self-insurance certificate, that is if your net worth is high enough to qualify. However, in my 20-plus year career of helping victims of car insurance, I have never seen an individual person complete this certificate. Thus, leaving all other drivers exposed to uninsured drivers.

What Happens If I am Hit and Hurt By Someone With No Car Insurance?

At-Fault Drivers could face harsh penalties if they cause injuries in an at-fault accident without bodily injury coverage or the proper self-insurance certificate filed, EVEN IF they maintain insurance that meets Florida’s minimum insurance (property damage and PIP requirements).  If a judgment is entered against the at-fault party, the at-fault may lose her/his license for up to 20 years or until the judgment is paid or enter bankruptcy.

In these situations, the state may require you to maintain an SR-22 or an FR-44. They could also issue a fine and suspend your driver’s license until you can prove financial responsibility by purchasing car insurance that includes bodily injury coverage.

The easiest way to protect yourself is to buy auto insurance with bodily injury coverage. If you choose to purchase insurance, the minimum requirements for bodily injury coverage are:

  • $10,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $20,000 bodily injury liability per accident

Florida insurance companies must also offer uninsured motorist coverage, but you can decline this coverage in writing. This coverage option gives you financial protection if an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you.

How Much Auto Insurance Coverage Should I Buy?

You should buy as much as your household income in order to properly protect yourself and your family.  I know that sounds like a lot and you are probably thinking this Tampa auto accident lawyer is trying to make you buy more insurance than you need.  But that is not true.  You buy auto insurance hoping you never need to use it.  Frankly, the insurance companies are hoping you never need to use them either as they make more money never paying claims.

So, how much is enough? This is what I recommend as a Personal Injury Attorney in Tampa, Florida:

  • Bodily Injury coverage – buy this equivalent to the household income. This protects you if you are at-fault for the accident.  If a husband and wife make $75,000 per year together, buy a $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident coverage ideally or more.  Expenses too tight? Shop around but we do not recommending buying less $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident.  You will be on the hook personally for anything above those limits and that would likely bankrupt you.
  • Underinsured Motorist coverage – again – equivalent to the household income. Chances are that if you are reading this article, you will not be at-fault in an accident but are likely to be the victim of an accident.  The at-fault party may not have insurance or enough insurance and just like you cannot get blood out of a turnip, you cannot get money out of somebody who does not have money.  For example, if you owed me $1 million, no matter how much I beat you, slap you, or throw you against the wall, you will never pay me $1 million.  The same is true here.

Out of all of the insurance coverage, this is usually the cheapest to buy – dollar per dollar and it is the most important as it follows you wherever you and your family members go and will pay you for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, loss of consortium, etc.

  • Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage – mandatory coverage. This is the only coverage this mandatory.
  • Comprehensive and Collision – make these deductibles $1,000. Why? If it is less than $1,000 it is better to pay in cash and not file a claim.  Trust me, your rates will go up if you do file a claim.  Also, if you do not file a claim, then nobody sends a damage report to com
Remember, insurance companies are in the “risk business” and they never lose.  Therefore, shop around and buy enough coverage hoping to never to use it.

These are solely my opinions and I am sure there are people out there that will disagree, but they usually have an agenda.  I don’t.  I just hate seeing people waste money or not properly protect themselves.

If you have been injured in a Tampa car accident, call Tampa Injury Attorney Martin Hernandez at 813-755-9500.

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