Here are 5 factors Treasure Coast residents should know before making that decision.
It’s probably safe to assume that the steps being taken to control the coronavirus outbreak along the Treasure Coast are affecting your finances. With the state of Florida imposing temporary closures of schools, restaurants, retailers, gyms and other non-essential businesses, there is a lot of economic uncertainty for the thousands of people who are now unable to work.
If you’ve lost your job, are working reduced hours, or worried about a possible layoff, it’s important now more than ever to focus on saving and limiting your spending. As you start to cut expenses, you may be tempted to cancel or reduce your car insurance. After all, with shelter in place mandates, you’re probably not driving a lot these days.
However, temporarily cancelling or reducing your car insurance policy could significantly impact your finances in the future. Before you make the decision, consider these five factors.
1. It’s illegal to not have car insurance
Under Florida law, it’s illegal to drive any motor vehicle without proof of insurance or financial responsibility. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines and jail time.
When you cancel your car insurance, your insurance company is legally required to immediately inform the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). The Florida DHSMV then sends you a notice of suspension by mail.
If you drive your vehicle before reinstating your insurance and are stopped by law enforcement or involved in an accident, your license, plates, and registration will be suspended for up to three years for just your first offense.
2. Short term cancellations can raise your rates in the long term
For now, the coronavirus lockdown on the Treasure Coast is temporary, lasting several weeks to a month. If you cancel your car insurance for a short period, the State of Florida can actually penalize you for going without car insurance for any length of time. This means that when you go to purchase a new car insurance policy, you will likely be classified as a high-risk driver, which will raise your premium rates.
3. Car accidents without insurance are costly, even if it’s not your fault
Florida is a “no-fault” state, meaning that, in the event of a car accident, both parties turn to their own auto insurance policies to make claims, regardless of who was at fault. To cover this, all Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 for property damage liability (PDL) and $10,000 for personal injury protection (PIP).
However, if you don’t have car insurance, you will have to pay out of pocket for the car damage, medical bills and other related costs.
4. You could be charged for cancelling or reducing your policy
Insurance companies finance policies for a certain time period. If nothing is cancelled or altered, your monthly payments will cover the total cost of the policy by the end of the term.
However, if the term is cut short, your monthly payments will no longer meet the schedule. Your insurance company could charge you for the money not paid or cancellation fees.
5. Removing Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage can cost you everything if involved in an accident
UM coverage generally only adds a few dollars to your monthly premiums, but the amount of coverage it gives you can be life-changing in the result of a tragic accident.
Did you know that Florida has the highest rate of uninsured drivers? Most of these drivers don’t have insurance because they are tight on cash . . . which means they probably won’t be able to pay for your accident-related expenses. If you want to reduce car insurance costs by removing UM coverage, you run the risk of becoming financially responsible for your bills in the unfortunate event you’re in an accident, even if it’s not your fault.
Learn more about UM coverage and reasons to keep it on our blog.
Injured in an auto accident in Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach or Fort Pierce?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you likely feel confused or overwhelmed by what to do next. Fortunately, our Treasure Coast accident attorneys are here to guide you through the entire process. Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney and National Top 100 Trial Attorney Steve Hoskins, our firm has helped thousands of Treasure Coast residents and their families recover from serious car and truck accidents. Our car injury lawyers will investigate your accident, handle the insurance companies for you, and if necessary, take your case to court trial. We will take care of all the legal work so you can focus on what matters most: getting better.
At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, you are more than a number. We have the resources of a large law firm but pride ourselves on providing a personalized and small-firm feel for our clients. You won’t have to deal with a middleman, and you will always be able to speak directly with your legal team.
Get the legal help you need without leaving your home.
Our Treasure Coast accident attorneys are available 24/7 to provide the answers and help you deserve. We have five convenient office locations in Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Sebastian, and Okeechobee, but if you can’t come to us, you can get the protection you need and hire us electronically from home. We can then start working on your case in minutes. We also work on a contingency basis, which means there are no fees or costs unless we win your case.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a wreck, call Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd today at 866-930-6435 to receive your 100% free consultation with one of our experienced Treasure Coast car accident lawyers.