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Question: What is the Florida Financial Responsibility Law?

Answer: According to Florida car insurance law, vehicle owners or operators may be required to carry two types of insurance.

The first type of auto insurance is detailed in the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law (sections of Ch. 627 of the Florida Statutes). Here it requires every person who registers a vehicle in Florida to carry personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability insurance (PDL) on the vehicle.

The Florida no-fault law states that any person who has a car in Florida for more than 90 days during the preceding 365 days, resides in Florida, is employed in Florida or has children in school in Florida must purchase personal injury protection ($10,000) and property damage liability coverage ($10,000).

These insurance coverages provide compensation for insured drivers' physical injury regardless of who is at fault in an accident and for property damage to others when an insured driver is at fault.

The Florida no-fault law did sunset as of October 1, 2007 but new legislation to replace the expired one was signed into law and the no-fault requirement resumed as of January 1, 2008.

The second type of auto insurance Florida requires of drivers is listed under the Financial Responsibility Law (Ch. 324 of the Florida Statutes). Here Florida requires motorists to carry additional liability insurance if they have caused accidents involving bodily injury or have been convicted of certain offenses, such as driving under the influence.

Thus, in Florida if the insured is involved in an accident, the Financial Responsibility Law, regulated by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, also requires bodily injury liability coverage ($10,000 Bodily Injury one person and $20,000 Bodily Injury one accident).

The reason for the Financial Responsibility Law is to require owners and operators of motor vehicles to be financially responsible for damages and/or injuries they may cause to others when a motor vehicle crash happens. This law requires any person to have liability insurance at the time of the following:

  • A crash where you are at fault and injuries have occurred.
  • A suspension for too many points against your driver license.
  • A citation for DUI, which results in a revocation.
  • A revocation for Habitual Traffic Offender.
  • A revocation for any serious offense where this department is required to revoke your license.

You must have the following minimum insurance coverage:

  • $10,000 Bodily Injury Liability (BIL)
  • $20,000 Bodily Injury Liability to two or more persons.
  • $10,000 Property Damage Liability (PDL), or
  • $30,000 Combined single limits.

So the Florida financial responsibility law comes into play if you were involved in any of the above violations and you did not have insurance coverages that comply with the financial responsibility law.

If you are found without these required coverages your driver license and/or tags will be suspended for up to three years. You will have to pay a $15 reinstatement fee and show the department certified proof of full liability insurance on form SR-22 for three years from the original suspension to get your driving privilege back.

Even if you aren't required to carry bodily injury liability coverage, we recommend that you carry it as part of your personal auto policy.  You can compare insurance companies to find the best rates here with us.