How Much Car Insurance Should Florida Drivers Carry?
Drivers in 'fault' states are usually required to carry a certain type and certain amount of insurance. That's not the case for most types of auto coverage in Florida. Knowing what kind and how much auto insurance to carry can sometimes be difficult to determine.
We asked Brian Labovick, an attorney in South Florida who specializes in auto accident cases, to weigh in on the issue. "You know, it's so easy for me to do because I'm not spending somebody else's money. When you're trying to figure out whether you buy auto insurance or you buy groceries, it's a pretty easy analysis for people who have to make that decision. If you can afford to buy insurance, I would highly recommend that you get yourself medical payments insurance, bodily injury insurance and uninsured motorist insurance at a minimum. I would say that, at a minimum, you should be carrying $50,000 - $100,000 of that. The difference between buying the minimal policy, which is usually either a $10,000 or a $25,000 BI policy, and a $100,000 policy is not a significant difference. The initial hit that you take in just getting the BI insurance is the hard part to swallow. The increments of how much more you get are easier in a comparative way."
Labovick also thinks that stacking insurance, which allows you to 'stack' your auto insurance polices for additional coverage if you have more than one car, is especially important to Florida drivers. According to Labovick, "Stacking insurance takes you back to the concepts of bodily injury and uninsured motorist insurance. For instance, we have three cars in my family. I have a car, my wife has a car and we also have a third car. So, we have three cars. You can buy bodily injury and uninsured motorist insurance for each of those cars at let's say, $50,000 a piece, but you can also add a provision on all of them called stacking."
"It's a little more money, but it allows you to stack all three cars' policies on top of each other to protect you, somebody else or protect you from being sued. So instead of having $50,000 of coverage, I have $150,000 of coverage on my car because the three $50,000 policies would jump on top of each other."
Tips on saving money
As an attorney who knows the auto industry, Labovick offered the following tips to Florida drivers on how to save money on auto insurance:
- Shop around. I think shopping for insurance, and I've got something to say about that at a lot of levels, but I think shopping different insurance companies is important. I think you can get quotes online and I also think there are some smaller companies out there that will give you low rates. I would suggest not using them because I don't believe that smaller companies (in my experience) have paid their claims as well or as professionally as some of the larger companies. As much as I don't like some of the larger companies, when you go with them, they typically pay their claims and have the ability to pay their claims better.
- Maintain a clean record. Don't get into an accident and don't get tickets; a safe driving record will help reduce premiums.
- Get safety features. Get antilock brakes and air bags as those generally give you a percentage off on your insurance.
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