A huge number of uninsured drivers doesn’t help. The Insurance Research Council found that more than a quarter of Florida’s drivers don’t carry insurance, the most of any state. That drives up costs for everyone.
So does the fact that a lot of claims in Florida involve lawyers, according to Insure.com. The state’s scourge of bogus broken windshield cases doesn’t help, nor do spikes in auto theft in some cities.
State insurance officials blame severe weather for higher comprehensive premiums, which pay to repair vehicles damaged by something unrelated to an accident. Tourists unfamiliar with our roads create more fender benders, they say. And the state has a high percentage of college-aged drivers and those over 75-years old, both of whom can pay more for insurance.
Florida also requires drivers to pay for $10,000 worth of personal injury protection, which covers medical costs after accidents. Often referred to as PIP, the coverage raises prices by roughly 20 percent, Insure.com reported. In what has become an annual event, lawmakers in Tallahassee have floated the idea of abolishing the no-fault program.
Florida’s recently strengthened laws on texting while driving could cut both ways. If fewer drivers get into accidents, that could lower rates. But drivers who get a ticket for violating the law could see their rates go up.
Age and gender are out of our control, but there are things we can do to keep rates in check.
Save the NASCAR tactics for the track. WalletHub found that a speeding ticket received three months earlier can increase rates by 21 percent. Reckless driving, 23 percent. A DUI, 27 percent. An accident without injuries in the past year can boost rates by 43 percent.
Buy the right vehicle. Some are much cheaper to insure than others. Think safe and a little boring compared to a car that goes zero to 60 mph in four seconds.
Get every discount. Are you a veteran? Tell your insurance agent. Don’t drive much? Tell them that, too. Same goes for bundling policies or anti-theft systems. Every company is a little different, but they all have discounts.
A good credit rating can lower the cost. So can increasing your deductible or getting less coverage for non-accident related claims. Getting married helps, but not very much, WalletHub found.
Professionals would also tell you to shop around, despite the fact that it hasn’t worked for me. There’s always next year.
Florida’s auto insurance rates by city
WalletHub compared rates in Florida’s 30 largest cities. Gainesville ranked No.1 for lowest rates. Clearwater ranked 15th., St. Petersburg, 19th, and Tampa, 20th.
2. Panama City
3. Fort Myers
2. Lake Worth
3. Boynton Beach
5. Fort Lauderdale