What Do I Need to Know About Car Insurance?

There is a lot to know about car insurance and sometimes industry jargon can make understanding your policy difficult. Today on the Reliance Insurance blog, we are going to share with you the very basics you need to know about insurance to not only understand what kind of coverage you are getting, but also how to make sure you are completely covered. 


Keep reading, watch the videos below, and visit the Reliance Insurance website to find the best cheap car insurance that can effectively cover you. 

Everything You Need to Know About Car Insurance in Florida

It’s easy to feel intimidated when you don’t know much about insurance or are buying it for the first time. Never fear! We are here to help. 

You Need Insurance

The first thing you should know is that you need car insurance. It’s easy to think that because you’re a good driver or you don’t drive very much or very far, that you won’t get in an accident or need insurance. Not paying a premium sounds nice and it may seem like a good way to save money each month. However, if you get into an accident, you may have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars out of pocket for expenses — which could jeopardize your finances for a long time and maybe even put your personal assets at risk. Also to note, many people get into accidents within five miles of their home. Don’t risk it! Get insurance. 

Florida Requires You Carry Insurance 

If you are in an accident and you don’t have car insurance, it isn’t just the monetary expenses that are going to be punishing to you. You will also be in trouble with the law. You will receive a fine of $150- $200 and your driver's license, registration, and license plate will be suspended. By law, you must carry minimum insurance: 

  • Property Damage Coverage - to pay for the other person’s vehicle repairs ($10,000 worth).
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - to pay for your medical bills and lost wages ($10,000 worth). Keep in mind that, in most cases, your car insurance will only pay 80% of these costs up to the $10,000 limit. 

What is Insurance For? 

When you’re in an accident, you and other parties involved will incur two basic expenses: those related to the vehicles involved and those related to medical expenses. The type of insurance that you invest in will determine which aspects are covered by your insurance policy and which you will have to pay for out of pocket.  

There Are Many Types of Insurance Coverage

The minimum insurance requirements by the state of Florida provides limited coverage; you do not have coverage to pay for your vehicle (unless the other person is at fault) and your personal assets aren’t protected in the case that the other person’s medical bills exceed what your insurance or you can pay. Other types of insurance include: 

Collision Insurance 

Pays for replacing or repairing your vehicle if the damage exceeds the $10,000 limit. 

GAP Insurance

Pays when the value of your vehicle is less than what you owe on your loan. 

Extended Personal Injury Protection

Covers your medical bills and lost wages if they exceed $10,000 — which, in a serious accident, can easily occur. 

Medical Payment Coverage

With basic coverage, your insurance will only pay 80% of your medical bills, leaving you with 20% of your bill. This type of coverage can help you pay the remaining 20%. 

Bodily Injury Liability

If you are at fault for the accident, this insurance coverage protects your personal assets when you have to pay for the other person’s medical bills. 

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

There are many in Florida that have decided to take a risk and have not invested in insurance. If you get into an accident with them, this coverage makes sure that your expenses are paid for when the person at fault doesn’t have insurance. 

You Want to Do Your Research Before You Buy

Before you buy insurance, research to find out what is available to you in your area. In some cases, you may be paying less for the best coverage. Here are some general tips to keep in mind that can help you get the best coverage: 

  • Cheaper car insurance can be better
  • Many things affect your premium rate
  • Discounts can significantly affect your premium
  • A higher deductible usually means a lower premium; however, you have to make sure you can pay out of pocket if you are in an accident
  • Your car will affect how much you pay
  • An expired policy can mean paying more money


Stay tuned to learn more about what coverage you need, and visit the Reliance Insurance website to speak to a cheap car insurance expert! 

Insurance terms: 

Insurance Terms Dictionary Agent: In insurance, the person authorized to represent the insurer in negotiating, servicing, or effecting insurance policies. Applicant: The party applying for an insurance policy. Application: A printed form developed by an insurer that includes questions about the prospective insured and the desired insurance coverage and limits. Auto Collision Coverage: Optional auto insurance which pays for damage to your car caused by collision with another car or object, or by rolling the car over. Frequently required if you have a car loan. Auto Comprehensive Physical Damage Coverage: Optional auto insurance which pays for damage to your auto caused by things other than collision or rolling the car over, such as fire, theft, vandalism, flood or hail. Frequently required if you have a car loan. Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: Pays when an insured person is legally liable for bodily injury or death caused by your vehicle or your operation of most non-owned vehicles. This coverage also pays for your legal defense if you are sued. Claim: A person's request for payment from an insurer for a loss covered by the insurance policy. Collision Coverage: Pays for loss to your covered vehicle when it collides with another object or overturns. We will also pay for a collision loss to any non-owned vehicle, or to a vehicle you have rented other than a vehicle rented for use in connection with your business or employment, while that vehicle is in your custody, or while you are operating it. Comprehensive Coverage: Pays for loss or damage to your covered vehicle caused by any event other than collision. This includes damages due to events such as fire, theft, windstorm, flood, and vandalism. We will also pay transportation and loss of use expenses under this coverage if your motor vehicle is stolen. Conditions: The part of your insurance policy that states the obligations of the person insured and those of the insurance company. Continuously Insured: Insurance coverage was in effect from an insurer or more than one insurer at all times, without a break or lapse in coverage for any reason. Contract: A legally enforceable agreement between two or more parties. Declarations Page: The report from your insurance company listing: the types of coverage you have elected; the limit for each coverage; the cost for each coverage; the specified vehicles covered by the policy; the types of coverage for each vehicle covered by the policy; and other information applicable to the policy. Deductibles: The portion of the loss that the policyholder agrees to pay out of pocket, before the insurance company pays the amount they are obligated to cover. For example, if the covered claim is $1000 and your deductible is $250, you pay $250 and your company will pay $750. Deductibles help to keep insurance rates reasonable. Raising the amount of the deductible lowers the cost of insurance. Depreciation: Reduction in the value of property due to age and use. Endorsement: Attachment or addendum to an insurance policy; an endorsement changes the contract's original terms. Garaging Location: The ZIP code where your vehicle is parked when not in use and usually corresponds to your primary residence. Insurance Company: An organization that has been chartered by a governmental entity to transact the business of insurance. Insured: The person whose insurable interest is protected under an insurance policy. Insurer: See Insurance Company. Lapse: Termination of a policy due to nonpayment of premiums. Liability: A legal obligation to compensate a person harmed by another's acts or omissions. Liability Coverage: Insurance that provides compensation for a harm or wrong to a third party for which an insured is legally obligated to pay. Life Insurance: Insurance that pays a specified sum of money to designated beneficiaries if the insured person dies during the policy term. Limits: The most we will pay for a specific insurance coverage. You may choose the limit which meets your needs. Most states have laws that specify the minimum limits you must purchase. Loss: A claim either paid or payable due to the insurer's policy obligations. Medical Payments Coverage: Medical and funeral expense coverage for bodily injuries sustained from or while occupying an insured vehicle, regardless of the insured's negligence. Named Insured: The first person in whose name the insurance policy is issued. Negligence: Failure to use a generally acceptable level of care and caution. No-fault Insurance: A system of compensation enacted by law in many states under which indemnification is made by the insured's own insurance company regardless of who is at fault. Details of this system vary significantly from state to state. Occasional Driver: The person who is not the primary or principal driver of the vehicle. Peril: The cause of loss or damage. Personal Property Insurance: Protects against the loss of, or damage to property other than real property (real estate) caused by specific perils. Policy Expiration Date: The date when your current insurance policy expires. This date can be found on your current policy, Declaration (or "DEC") page, insurance identification card or recent cancellation notice. This date is not to be confused with the date of your next payment or when your renewal payment is due. Policy Term: The length of time that the policy is in force. Usually 6 months or a year. Primary Residence: The place where you will reside for the majority of your policy term. If you are a homeowner who does not reside in the home you own, please choose the "rent" or "other" option. Primary Use: What your vehicle is mainly used for: To/From Work If you use your vehicle to commute to and from your work and/or school. Business If your vehicle is used for one or all of the following: used to make sales calls used as vehicle for business trips to bank or post office, picking up supplies, going to different locations owned or leased by a partnership or corporation that have a business listed as and additional interest on the car Farm If your vehicle is used primarily on a farm, ranch or orchard Pleasure No others apply Policy: The written forms that make up the insurance contract between an insured and insurer. A policy includes the terms and conditions of the coverage, the perils insured or excluded, etc. Policy Declarations: The part of the insurance contract that lists basic underwriting information, including the insured's name, address and description of insured locations as well as policy limits. Policy Limits: The maximum amount an insured may collect or for which an insured is protected, under the terms of the policy. Policyholder: The person who buys insurance. Policyowner: An individual with an ownership interest in an insurance policy. Policy Period: The amount of time an insurance contract or policy lasts. Premium: The price for insurance coverage as described in the insurance policy for a specific period of time. Principal Driver: The person who drives the car most often. Proof of Loss: A sworn statement that usually must be furnished by the insured to an insurer before any loss under a policy may be paid. Property Damage Liability Coverage: Pays when an insured person is legally liable for damage to the property of others caused by your vehicle or your operation of most non-owned vehicles. This coverage also pays for your legal defense costs if you are sued. Reimbursement: The payment of an amount of money by an insurance policy for a covered loss that was initially paid by the insured or a third party. Reinstatement: The process by which a insurance company puts back in force a policy that has lapsed or has been canceled for nonpayment of premium. Riders: An addition to an insurance policy that becomes a part of the contract. Risk: The possibility or chance of loss or injury. Second Named Insured: The named insured or listed agent on a policy may request to designate any other person listed on the policy as a "second named insured". The second named insured has the same coverage under the policy as the named insured. Settlement: An agreement between a claimant to an insurance policy and the insurance company regarding the amount and method of a claim or benefit payment. Theft Limit (or Inside Policy Limits): The highest amount an insurance company will pay on certain items of personal property. For instance, some policies have a $5,000 limit for computers. Underwriting: The process of reviewing applications for coverage. Applications that are accepted are then classified by the underwriter according to the type and degree of risk. Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Coverage that pays for covered damage for bodily injury that an uninsured motorist is legally liable but unable to pay. VIN: The vehicle identification number (VIN) on your vehicle. This number is usually found on the dashboard of your vehicle on the driver's side, and is usually listed on the vehicle registration and title. The VIN number is a combination of letters and numbers 17 characters in length that can be used to identify the make, model, and year of your car.