Auto Insurance FAQs

Auto Insurance FAQs

Our attorneys can provide current and complete answers for your specific case. These answers may not apply to your situation.

1. I was a passenger in someone else’s car and received a citation for having an alcoholic beverage in an open container. Can my insurance company raise my rates, or cancel, or nonrenew my policy?

According to Florida Statute 316.1936, a passenger of a vehicle is guilty of a nonmoving violation. If this is your first citation of a nonmoving, non-criminal violation, the company may not cancel, non-renew or surcharge you. However, if you change to another company, they may consider this violation as a part of the underwriting of your new policy, and you may have to pay a higher premium.

2. I was involved in an automobile accident, and the other party was at fault. My company does not want to subrogate, including the amounts due on my deductible or loss of use. What can I do?

There is no requirement that your company pursue subrogation. If the company does subrogate, you may be responsible for a portion of the expenses, regardless of the outcome. If the company does not plan to pursue subrogation, you can usually file in small claims court to recover the amounts owed. Or, you may make a claim against the at fault party’s insurance policy for your out of pocket expenses.

3. I was in an accident caused by a state-owned vehicle. How do I go about resolving my claim?

You should contact the Division of Risk Management, (850) 922-3120, ext. 1600, which handles the insurance claims for all state agencies.

4. My agent quoted me one price for my automobile insurance, but when I received the policy, the premiums were higher. What can I do?

You should first find out why there was a discrepancy in the quote. Sometimes information will be revealed to the company on your Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) that will require the originally quoted premiums to be changed by the company.

According to Florida Statute 627.7282, you have three options:

  • You may pay the increase.
  • You may request cancellation, but the company is entitled to earned premium based on the corrected premium. The policyholder has a period of within 10 days from receipt of the notice to cancel the policy and demand a refund of any unearned premiums, without penalty.
  • Do not pay, and the company will cancel your policy for nonpayment of premium.

The agent should be able to give you a satisfactory explanation for the increase in your premium. If you feel that your premium was intentionally quoted low in order to obtain your business, you should file a formal complaint with our Department.

5. I was involved in an automobile accident, and the company has not yet inspected my vehicle or authorized a rental vehicle. Isn’t there a time limit on how long an insurance company can take?

At the present time, there is no Florida Statute or Department Rule, which addresses a time limit. However, seven to ten working days should be ample time for a company to inspect a damaged vehicle and authorize a rental car. Rental may not be covered unless it is approved by the insurance company.

6. Will a company cover property damage liability for rental vehicles?

Usually, but it depends upon the terms and conditions of the contract. Contact the company or agent.

7. Can an insured cancel an automobile insurance policy during the first 60 days after the effective date?

Florida Statute 627.7295 states that no policy providing coverage for PIP and property damage liability may be cancelled by the insured during the first two months of the policy term immediately following the date of issuance or renewal except: 1) upon total destruction of the motor vehicle, 2) upon transfer of ownership, 3) upon replacement of the policy, or 4) if the insured elects to cancel because of an additional premium charge as allowed in Florida Statute 627.7282.

8. Can an insurance company cancel an automobile policy within the first 60 days of the effective date?

An insurance company is prohibited from canceling only for nonpayment of premium within the first 60 days, unless the nonpayment is the result of a dishonored check. Otherwise, the company’s rights to cancel are the same as allowed by Florida Statute 627.728.

9. How much notice does a company have to give for cancellation of an auto policy?

For nonpayment of premium, 10 days. For any other reason, 45 days.

10. How much notice does the company have to give to cancel a binder on auto insurance?

Five days written notice.

11. Is insurance required on motorcycles?

There is no statutory requirement to purchase insurance on motorcycles, except when a driver has to prove financial responsibility due to violations or failure to pay for damages they caused in an accident. Lenders may require comprehensive and collision coverage to protect their interest.

12. What is the minimum amount of insurance required to be carried in order to comply with Florida’s automobile insurance laws?

Any person who has a car in Florida for more than 90 days during the preceding 365 days, reside in Florida, be employed in Florida or have children enrolled in school in Florida, must purchase Personal Injury Protection coverage ($10,000) and Property Damage Liability coverage ($10,000).

In addition, 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 one person, $20,000 one accident or $30,000 combined).

13. How long does an insurance company have to settle an auto claim?

There is no specific time limit during which the company must come to a settlement agreement with an insured or a third party claimant. However, once the person and the company have agreed in writing upon an amount, the company must pay within 20 days or pay interest as provided by Florida Statute 627.4265.

14. What is the minimum amount of insurance required to be carried in order to comply with Florida’s automobile insurance laws?

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).

In addition, 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, $20,000 Bodily Injury one accident, or $30,000 combined Bodily Injury).

15. How long does an insurance company have to settle an auto claim?

There is no specific time limit during which the company must come to a settlement agreement with an insured or a third party claimant. However, once the person and the company have agreed in writing upon an amount, the company must pay within 20 days or pay interest as provided by Florida Statute 627.4265.

16. Can any casualty agent place a policy with the Florida Joint Underwriting Association?

The agent will have to make application to the FJUA to be an authorized agent.

17. The company selected a body shop to repair my car. However, I’d rather go to one I am familiar with. Will I be penalized for choosing my own body shop?

Normally, you have the right to choose the auto repair shop you want. Note: Some policies approved by Department of Insurance require the insured to take the vehicle to a designated repair shop in exchange for a reduced premium. The company cannot be required to pay a higher price for the same necessary repairs. When a company directs a vehicle to be repaired by their facility, the insurance company is responsible for the quality of the repair.

18. I have my car financed through the bank. I could not afford comprehensive and collision coverage. The bank secured coverage on my vehicle without my consent. Can they do this?

Yes, the bank has the right under their installment loan agreement to protect their interest. The loan agreement includes a provision allowing the lending institution to secure coverage and charge you for it, if you fail to obtain the required insurance. These charges are subject to interest and the premiums will be much higher than if you purchase insurance yourself.

19. Why do I have to carry PIP if I already have health insurance?

Florida law requires every owner of a motor vehicle required to be registered in Florida carry PIP to protect themselves in the event of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. This coverage is primary over any health insurance.

20. The person that hit my car does not have any coverage. I don’t want to make a claim through my own insurance company. Do you have any suggestions?

You can take the at-fault party to court. If you obtain a judgment against the owner of the car and they do not pay the judgment, you should contact the bureau of Financial Responsibility in the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles so they can take the appropriate action against the owner of the car.

21. The company wants to repair my car with non-factory parts. Can they do this?

Yes. The parts used do not necessarily have to be original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, but should be of like kind and quality as the parts being replaced. Ask your company about what guarantees will be given on these parts. Florida law requires the parts to be of same fit, quality and performance.

22. My front windshield was broken. I have comprehensive coverage with a deductible. Will I have to pay the deductible before the company pays for the replacement of my windshield?

No. Florida Statute 627.7288 states that the deductible shall not apply to windshield damages.

23. Can my automobile insurance premium be increased because I received a speeding ticket for driving 69 mph on an interstate highway?

No. Florida Statute 626.9701 states a company may not surcharge an insured for non-criminal violations solely for speeding less than 70 mph on a four-lane major highway, outside of business or residential area.

24. How long should it take to receive a refund of premium after I cancel my auto policy?

Florida Statute 627.7283 states that the unearned premium must be returned within 30 days of the company’s receipt of the written request for cancellation, or the company must pay interest at the rate of 8%. If a premium finance company is involved, the company is responsible to refund to the premium finance company within 30 days.

25. I was in an automobile accident. The other person was at fault. What should I do?

You have two options: You may file a claim with the at- fault party’s insurance company if they are insured; or, if you have collision insurance on your vehicle, you can have your own insurance company pay for the damages, less your deductible, and they will usually subrogate against the at-fault party to recover their loss.

26. My car has been totaled. The company has made payment, but the amount paid will not cover what I still owe the financial institution. What next?

Insurance companies are obligated to pay in accordance with their policy provisions, which is usually the actual cash value of the vehicle at the time of the loss. This amount does not always cover the loan balance because you may owe more than the vehicle is actually worth. You would be responsible to pay the difference to the financial institution.

27. The company is refusing to pay for a CB radio that was stolen from my automobile. Can they do this?

Most companies exclude electronic equipment, such as CB radios, cellular telephones, compact disc changers, etc., unless they are factory- installed. You should review your policy and its exclusions to determine if your CB is covered. If CB radios are excluded and it was not specifically endorsed onto your policy, then there would be no coverage.

28. How long does it take for an insurance company to issue an automobile insurance policy?

You should receive your policy no later than 60 days after the effective date.

29. What expenses are covered under Medical Payments coverage?

Medical Payments coverage pays for medical expenses which are caused by injury in an automobile accident. It covers you and members of your family who live with you regardless of who is at fault. This coverage also applies if you are in someone else’s vehicle or if you are a pedestrian, as long as the accident occurs in Florida.

30. Can a company refuse to renew your policy based on the number of accidents made in the last three years?

An insurance company may non-renew your policy if you have more than one at-fault accident. If you have three or more accidents, regardless of who is at fault, the company may non-renew your policy.

Please note, a company may non-renew for claims activity, regardless of accidents.

31. What is Personal Injury Protection?

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is sometimes referred to as “no-fault” insurance. It covers you and relatives residing in your household for injuries sustained in an automobile accident regardless of who is at fault. This coverage pay 80% of reasonable and necessary medical bills, 60% of lost wages, and includes a $5,000 death benefit, up to a limit of $10,000.

32. What is comparative negligence?

Comparative negligence is a legal principle providing that the amount of a person’s negligence in an accident is determined by his contribution to the accident. In Florida, the percentage of the individual’s negligence in the accident is usually subtracted from the amount he would otherwise recover, if the other person were 100% at fault.

33. I was involved in an automobile accident, and my car was totaled. My company is not offering me a fair settlement on my claim. What can I do?

Do your homework. Check the “blue book” for the actual cash value (ACV) of your car, check out the classified advertisements in your local newspapers and check with the car dealerships in your area. Look for the prices of cars similar to yours and submit them to your company, if the prices are higher than the company’s offer. If they still fail to offer you more money, you may invoke the appraisal clause in your policy, request mediation or consult an attorney to see if legal action may be taken. Remember their estimate must be based on the local market.

34. Can my premium finance company request cancellation of my auto policy because I did not pay the late charge assessed, but did pay my regular installment?

No. The premium finance company may only cancel your policy for nonpayment of the premium, which doesn’t include late charges.

35. I was involved in a car accident and was not at fault. The officer gave a ticket to the other individual. I have contacted the other party’s insurance company, and they refuse to honor my claim because their insured has not given them notice of the accident. Doesn’t the company have an obligation to pay my claim even if their insured does not report the accident?

The company is obligated to pay what the insured is legally liable for because of an accident. A ticket by itself is not evidence of 100% legal liability, therefore, in many instances the company may not have to pay for damages if their insured does not report the accident and cooperation in the investigation. There are many factors taken into consideration when evaluating liability claims. Each situation is judged on its own merit.

These answers may not apply to your situation. Our lawyers can provide current and complete answers for your specific case.

Contact us online or call us at 407-244-1212 (toll free at 844-FL TRIAL MD) to discuss your legal options. Of course, you owe us nothing unless we can accept your case and make a recovery.

Verdicts and Settlements
Wrongful Death of a Child
$30,000,000
Eye Injury
$4,500,000
Wrongful Death of a Young Man
$1,250,000
Spine Injury
$483,000
Wrongful Death of a Mother
$4,180,000
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