Snowbird car insurance should be on your check-list when you're packing up to enjoy warmer weather during the winter season. That's because snowbirds who fly the coop to Florida each winter need to make special arrangements to make sure their car insurance claims are covered. Anyone who has a vehicle in Florida for more than 90 days a year -- and the days don't have to be consecutive -- is required to register the car and meet the Florida car insurance minimum requirements. You might be tempted to register the car only in your home state to save on car insurance rates and avoid dealing with two insurance agents and two insurance policies. But that strategy could backfire and cost you more in the long run. You could get a ticket at a traffic stop if you're caught without proper Florida registration and insurance, says Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for CarInsurance.com. Worst-case scenario: The insurance company finds you misrepresented the car's location, and refuses to pay your claim.
Snowbird insurance: What Florida requires
"If you register a car in Florida, you need to have Florida insurance," says Gusner. You'll need to have at least $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 of property damage liability coverage on your vehicle to meet state law. Although car insurance requirements are minimal in Florida, David Thompson, a licensed insurance agent who teaches courses for the Florida Association of Insurance Agents, recommends you request coverage and limits similar to those on your vehicle at home. And even if you have an insurance agent you love back home, your Florida car insurance has to be purchased through an agent licensed in Florida. Most big auto insurance companies in your home state will have agents in Florida as well. What you don't need to get is a new driver's license, as long as you're a U.S. citizen -- you can use your home state's driving license.