While they’re arguably some of the most enviable people in the world, snowbirds— AKA, the lucky people who live in the north but travel down south to stay for the cooler months— have a lot to consider when faced with the prospect of keeping two residences.
If you’re one of those lucky people who make the annual trek to live in warm climates all year round, did you know you need to make sure your auto insurance is compliant with Florida laws? Each state has specific stipulations on the type of insurance you need to carry when a car is registered there. You may think because your home state is Illinois or Minnesota and your vehicle is registered there, you only have to worry about the insurance required by that state.
However, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles stipulates that “any person who has a vehicle in Florida for more than 90 days during a 365-day period must purchase personal injury protection and property damage liability insurance coverage. The 90 days do not have to be consecutive.” This means that while your home state may not require this coverage you do need to purchase it if you plan to be in Florida for more than 90 days during the year.
Consequences for Failure to Have Proper Insurance
There was a couple from up north who had been coming down to Southwest Florida to spend the winter in Cape Coral for the last decade. They drove their car down every November and stayed until the spring. They were involved in a serious auto accident, but failed to acquire the proper amount of personal injury protection. Unfortunately, this resulted in a large liability being placed squarely on their shoulders.
When you purchase auto insurance, the last thing you want is to be underinsured. Even if the accident is not your fault, you could be found in violation if your insurance is not up to code.
Florida law stipulates that a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection, and a minimum of $10,000 property damage liability must be kept in order to be compliant with F.S. 627-736. Since the couple referenced above were in Florida for more than 90 days out of the year, they were required by law to carry personal injury protection insurance in addition to their auto insurance, even though that’s not required by their home state.
The best way to ensure that you’re compliant with Florida’s strict auto insurance laws is to keep careful count of the number of days you are in Florida each year, even if that time is not consecutive. If you stay in Florida for more than 90 of the 365 days, it’s time to discuss your insurance needs with your automotive insurance agent.