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Q

My Florida license was suspended in February for "financial liability". I cancelled my insurance in December because I took me car off the road. How long do you have after you cancel your insurance to obtain new insurance before they suspend your license? What do I do now?


A

Florida mandates minimum car insurance of $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 of property damage liability (PD) if you own a motor vehicle. Florida law requires you to carry the insurance continuously throughout the licensing and registration period of the vehicle.

This means any vehicle having a valid Florida registration and license tag must be covered by at least minimum insurance coverage for the entire period of the vehicle's registration. If you are no longer driving a vehicle, you may surrender your license plate and registration at a FL Driver License or tag office. By doing this you will be able to cancel your insurance policy without penalties, such losing your driving privilege.

The Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (HSMV) site indicates that any lapse in insurance reported to the HSMV can result in a suspension of your license. If you are changing insurance companies the previous policy should not be canceled until the new policy is in force.

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If you handle this before January 1, 2008 you may get a break. According to this article, Ironically, drivers who had their licenses suspended before Oct. 1 for not carrying PIP and property damage insurance as required by the old law got a gift when the law expired. The suspension was rescinded. But they aren't in the clear entirely.With the new law in place, Dave Westberry, deputy executive director for DHSMV, says the agency can now actively track those drivers who aren't carrying property damage coverage.

To reinstate your license, after a suspension due to not being properly insured, you will need to pay a restatement fee of $150 up to $500. You will also need to provide proof of current Florida insurance.


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