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  • Do I need to insure my car in Florida?
    Florida law states: If your car or motorcycle is registered in Florida, you must take out insurance with the State of Florida. If you reside in Florida for more than 90 days (not necessarily consecutive) during the year, you must take out insurance that complies with Florida law. In any case, it's important to pay attention to your coverage both for your vehicle and, even more importantly, for your civil liability should you be at fault in an accident. Car insurance laws in Florida are partially regulated by the Department of Highways: http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/frfaqgen.html If you keep your car insurance in your country of residence, contact your broker before you travel, to make sure that your level of insurance will be properly adjusted.
  • What level of car insurance should I take?
    The Florida laws to which you are subject, depending on your situation, require : Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance of a minimum of $10,000 (this insurance covers the medical expenses of the driver and passengers - under certain conditions - with NO fault requirement). This means that PIP comes first, even if the accident is caused by a third party. Florida makes this insurance compulsory, as do some twenty other states in the USA. 10,000 in third-party liability insurance; this minimum is surprisingly low, but is increased according to the driver's history (for example, if he or she has already had an accident, the minimum is $30,000; if he or she has had a DUI, the amount rises to $300,000...). So it's important to ensure that these criteria are fully respected when taking out car insurance. We strongly advise you to opt for a higher level of coverage than the minimum required by law. In addition to these legal minimums, take into consideration the "Uninsured Motorists" or "UM" option, which will cover you if the other party at fault has no insurance or has levels of cover too low to cover the damage, whether bodily or material. This insurance also comes into play in the event of a "hit and run". Uninsured vehicles are a serious problem in Florida, where the rate of uninsured vehicles is estimated at 24%. It's not to be taken lightly.
  • What does my car insurance cover in Florida?
    Car insurance protects you in the event of third-party liability and, depending on the policy, in the event of damage to your car. On the "Declarations page" of your contract, you'll find the various coverages and the amounts for which you are covered. Some are compulsory (see here), others are optional. "Bodily Injury Liability or BI - compulsory in Florida: covers expenses arising from injury or death caused to others in an accident for which you are declared at fault. If you are sued, your insurer will also cover the legal costs of the proceedings. "Property Damage Liability (PD)" mandatory in Florida: covers damage to the property of others for which the insured is declared liable. "Personal Injury Protection (PIP)" mandatory in Florida: covers a percentage of medical expenses incurred following an injury, without any notion of responsibility or fault. For this coverage to come into play, you must see a doctor within 14 days of the accident; otherwise your coverage is reduced. "Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM): covers your medical expenses if your injuries or illness were caused in an accident and the person at fault had no insurance or had a level of insurance too low to cover your expenses. Not compulsory in Florida, but highly recommended given the high proportion of drivers without insurance (estimated at 24%). This insurance also applies in the event of a "hit and run" (when the driver flees following an accident). "Medical Payments (Med Pay): covers health expenses in the event of bodily injury following a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. "Comprehensive or Other Than Collision (OTC): Reimburses damage to your vehicle in the event of an incident other than a collision, such as fire, theft, hurricane, flood, vandalism, etc. This coverage also includes damage caused by a falling object or impact with an animal. This coverage comes with a deductible, usually $250. "Collision": Reimburses the cost of repairs or the current value of the vehicle in the event of collision with another vehicle or object (other than an animal), or in the event of a rollover, whether or not you are at fault. Most contracts require you to take out "Other Than Collision" cover before you can take out collision cover. This coverage comes with a deductible, usually $500. "Towing & Labor": covers you if you call for emergency service on the road. The conditions and amount of coverage for towing and repairs vary according to your contract. "Rental Reimbursement": reimburses you for the cost of renting a vehicle if your car is being repaired following an accident or if it has been stolen. Coverage conditions and amounts vary according to your contract.
  • What is the deductible of my car insurance?
    This is the portion of the damage that the policyholder must pay before the insurance will pay. The deductible varies according to the risk covered: there is a Collision deductible, an Other Than Collision deductible and a PIP deductible. Your deductible amounts are shown on the Declarations page of your policy.
  • I don't live in Florida 6 months of the year and during that time my car is not in use and is in the garage. Should I maintain my insurance?
    YES. A car registered in Florida must be covered by Florida insurance for the duration of its registration. When you are not in Florida and wish to suspend your insurance, you can return your registration plate and title to the nearest Florida DMV. When you return, you'll need to re-register your vehicle with proof of insurance. Remember that you are ALWAYS legally responsible for your vehicle.
  • I am not a resident of Florida but I come there several months a year. Am I subject to Florida laws?
    YES, anyone who owns a vehicle in Florida for more than 90 days (consecutive or not) during the year must be insured according to Florida criteria.
  • I own several cars that I don't use at the same time. Do I have to insure them all?
    YES. As long as your vehicle is licensed and registered in Florida, you must maintain insurance coverage.
  • What impacts the price of my car insurance?
    A multitude of factors influence the price of your insurance. Among those that have the greatest impact are: The type and age of the vehicle. Drivers: age, experience, type of license, history, profession… Your accident history or breaches of the highway code. Your license according to whether it is an international or Florida one. The level of coverage: insurance (limits) and excess amounts The type of compensation: value to nine (replacement cost) or present value (actual cash value) or risk covered by your contract (collision, other than collision…) The use of your car: for recreation, for work. The number of kilometres you travel per year. Good to know: If your child is a good student, he will receive a credit on his insurance premium! Compare the options offered to you by your insurance broker well, and make sure that the coverage level you select is sufficient. If during your contract, you change some of these points, please remember to inform your broker. Bon à savoir : si votre enfant est bon élève, il recevra un crédit sur sa prime d’assurance ! Si pendant votre contrat vous changez certains de ces points, pensez à informer votre courtier. Comparez bien les options qui vous sont proposées par votre courtier d’assurances et vérifiez que le niveau de garantie que vous choisissez est suffisant.
  • Can I lend my Florida insured vehicle to a friend?
    Yes, when you lend your vehicle, you lend your insurance! Of course, your friend must hold a valid driver's license! Please note that all persons ordinarily resident in your home must be declared to your insurance company and be insured.
  • I got into an accident and my insurer is talking about “Comparative Negligence”, what does it mean?
    This means that each party involved in the accident has a share of responsibility. Compensation will therefore be paid in proportion to each party's negligence.
  • What to do in the event of an accident?
    Do not leave the scene; call the police (911) immediately, even if the incident seems minor. Note the names and contact details of any witnesses present, as your insurance company may need to contact them. At the scene, don't sign any papers requested by the other driver, and don't offer any money to repair the damage "amicably". Don't admit to any wrongdoing and stay calm. Wait for the police to arrive and make sure the officer gives you a copy of the Exchange of Information Form. As soon as you are in a position to do so, contact your broker or insurance company to report the accident. Don't delay. Finally, don't hesitate to see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if it's just for a routine check-up.
  • I have a second home in Florida and I leave a car there. Can I register my vehicle in Florida?
    YES, you can register your vehicle in Florida and you don't need a Florida driver's license to do so. The whole procedure is explained here: https://www.flhsmv.gov/ Important: as long as your car is registered in Florida, you must have Florida insurance. If you wish to cancel your insurance when you leave Florida, you must remove the license plates and drop them off at a local agency. The next time you return, you can re-register it by going to your local agency and providing them with proof of insurance.
  • Do I need to have a Florida driver's license?
    If you are not a resident of the state of Florida, you must have a valid driver's license issued by your country (state) of residence. An international driver's license is not required to drive in Florida, but may come in handy if your country of residence's license is not written in English. On the other hand, if you become a Florida resident, you'll need a Florida driver's license.
  • Drink or drive...
    The law is very strict in Florida regarding the consumption of alcohol or any substance that influences behavior. If you're going out and planning to drink, it's best to use a cab or transport company, or to designate a non-drinking friend as your driver! The tolerance threshold is 0.08 grams / 100 ml of blood. Reaching this threshold varies according to your height and weight, but happens much faster than you think. If you are stopped and found to be "DUI - Driving Under Influence", the penalties are numerous. A fine: from $500 to $1,000 for a 1st offence. Incarceration for up to 6 months for a 1st offence. What's more, this offence will stay on your record for a very long time, which will have a major impact on your daily life in the USA...and on your car insurance!
  • How do I insure my house or condo?
    Whether you own or rent your home, you need to be insured, whether for damage to your possessions or if you are held liable in the event of an accident on your property. Home insurance covers you in the event of damage to your home and/or, depending on the policy, your civil liability. On the "Declarations page" of your contract, you'll find the various guarantees and the amount for which you are covered. "Dwelling": This is the insurance for your house or, in the case of a condo, your apartment. "Other Structures on Your Property": This refers to structures on your property, such as a garage or shelter. "Personal Property/Contents": Your personal belongings on your property. "Loss of Use": The compensation you will receive if you are unable to use your home due to a loss covered by your policy, for the time needed to restore it. "Liability": Protects you if you are declared legally responsible for an accident causing bodily injury or damage to the property of others. It does not cover family members living with you, damage caused by your car, or professional activities carried out in your home. "Medical Payments: Covers the medical bills of people injured on your property, without any notion of civil liability (note that this guarantee may apply even if you are not declared responsible for the accident). As with "Liability", this cover does not extend to family members who live with you, nor does it extend to car damage or business activities carried out in your home. There are two main types of home insurance in Florida: "Homeowners" and "DP". Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for one or other of these policies. Please note that coverage varies enormously from one type of policy to another. Be sure to discuss your coverage with your broker.
  • What risks are my property covered against?
    The risks covered by your policy vary according to the contract you choose. Generally speaking, fire, hurricanes, lightning, theft and vandalism are covered, BUT be sure to take a close look at your specific contract: some exclude hurricanes, even though this is a major risk in Florida, while others exclude theft... Earthquakes and floods are excluded from your home insurance contract. These coverages can be added as part of an additional contract. Flooding is a major risk in Florida, even if your home is not in a designated flood zone. Think about it, especially if you live near water, such as a lake, canal, ocean... We're here to explain your policy's coverage and exclusions.
  • How will I be compensated in the event of a claim to my home?
    In the event of a claim for a risk covered by your policy, an expert will determine the amount of your damage. Remember to keep any bills for renovations, furniture or equipment purchased outside your home, so you can access them even if your house or condo is destroyed. Compensation will depend on the type of indemnity you have subscribed to in your contract. "ACV - Actual Cash Value: The expert will take into account the value at purchase, less depreciation. After a few years, your furniture or electronic equipment may no longer be worth much... "Replacement cost: your goods will be reimbursed at replacement value, i.e. at the purchase price on the day of the claim. This type of compensation is much more favorable to the insured than the previous one, but it is not always available and obviously costs a lot more. Good to know: dwelling and contents are often valued using a different method. Your broker can explain to you what is provided for in your contract.
  • What impacts the price of my home insurance?
    A multitude of factors influence the price of your insurance. Among those with the greatest impact are Level of coverage: amount of insurance (limits) and deductible. The type of compensation: replacement cost or actual cash value (ACV). Risks covered by your policy (theft, hurricane, etc.). Use of your home: do you live in it year-round or seasonally? Do you rent it out? Type and year of construction. Your home's protective features: fire protection, burglar alarm, hurricane protection.... Compare the options proposed by your insurance broker and check that the level of coverage you choose is sufficient.
  • What is the “Dwelling” guarantee?
    In home insurance: This is the part of your contract (called Coverage A) that covers the cost of rebuilding/repairing your home in the event of damage following a covered risk. The dwelling corresponds to all the buildings forming an integral part of the residence. Good to know: detached buildings (garages, sheds, etc.) are subject to a separate coverage limit. The amount of insurance (limit) you purchase must be sufficient to cover the cost of rebuilding your home in the event of total destruction. Don't confuse this amount with the market value, which includes the price of the land, which is never covered by your policy. Be careful not to be "under-insured", as some contracts provide for penalties if you were in this situation on the day of the loss. In condo insurance: the "Dwelling" guarantee in your contract covers "wall to wall": renovation work, household appliances, permanently fixed cupboards or furniture. Talk to your broker about the amount of coverage you need.
  • How is condo insurance different from home insurance?
    If you own a condo, the common areas are covered by the policy underwritten by the association. With traditional condo insurance, you're generally covered for your personal property inside the condo, as well as any renovations you've made to it. Standard condo policies are called HO6 (if you qualify). In many cases, especially for seasonal or corporate residences, you may be eligible for a DP3. Ask your broker to explain exactly how much coverage you have and what risks you are covered for.
  • What is covered by my condo insurance?
    Traditional condo insurance (HO6), if you are eligible and subscribe to it, covers your personal property inside your condo and certain items not covered by the association's insurance. It also includes Civil Liability coverage. The contract taken out by your association will define what is covered by their policy. Ask your association for a copy of their insurance policy or by-laws to find out what they are responsible for. If you have difficulty obtaining this document, contact the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Florida, Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes, at (850) 488-1122. The Association's contract generally does not cover the interior of your unit: Wall, floor and ceiling coverings. Electrical equipment. Household appliances. Water heaters and filters. Built-in cupboards and worktops. Window treatments and equipment (blinds, curtains, etc.). If an item is covered by both the association's policy and your own, the association's insurance will intervene first. Associations can sue condo owners for damage to common property not covered by the association's insurance. The amount covered by your individual contract for this "loss assesment" varies, but by law, Florida companies must include a minimum of $2,000. Always check the amount of your coverage with your broker.
  • What is the deductible in my home insurance?
    This is the portion of the damage that the policyholder must pay before the insurance will pay out. The deductible varies according to the risk covered: there is a hurricane deductible and an other perils deductible (AOP deductible). The hurricane deductible is generally expressed as a percentage of the value of the property (Dwelling) and will therefore vary according to the level of insurance you take out. Your deductible amounts are shown on the Declarations page of your policy.
  • How can I be sure that I will be reimbursed in the event of damage to my goods or property?
    1/ Talk to your broker to make sure that the amount of insurance you buy is enough for you. Paying a low price is all well and good at the time, but you need to be as covered as you want to be in the event of a claim. Ask yourself these questions before deciding on a contract or type of cover: What deductible am I prepared to pay in the event of damage? Is the reconstruction value of my home adequate and up-to-date? Is my furniture and electronic equipment new or old? Do you have valuables such as jewelry in your home? Are you covered in the event of flooding? 2/ Keep and protect the supporting documents you will be asked to produce in the event of a claim: Keep them outside your property so that they are accessible even if your home is destroyed or inaccessible. Take photos or videos of your belongings. Keep your bills. 3/ Protect your property and belongings: Regularly trim your trees around your home and cut back anything that could damage your roof. Be particularly vigilant as hurricane season approaches. Don't forget that in the event of a storm, a simple coconut can turn into a sometimes fatal projectile! When you're away for an extended period, ask a trusted neighbor or friend to check on your property regularly. A small leak can be disastrous if it isn't repaired as soon as possible. If you've declared that you have protective devices such as an alarm system or fire protection, activate them before you leave your home. Your insurer may refuse to indemnify you, or limit your compensation if you don't. In the event of a hurricane warning, secure your windows and doors, and bring in all your outdoor furniture. Follow all instructions given by local authorities.
  • Should I take an inventory of my belongings?
    This is recommended so that you can provide your insurance company with complete, up-to-date documentation in the event of a claim. Make a list of your possessions, room by room, not forgetting your closets, garage, sheds, patio... Take photos of the most important items, and keep your invoices. Keep these receipts outside your property, so that they are accessible even if your home is destroyed or inaccessible.
  • What are essential hurricane protections?
    The most common types of hurricane protection, known as "Wind-Damage Mitigation Features", are : Doors and windows specially designed to resist wind pressure and projectiles. Shutters or panels that protect your windows and other openings from wind, rain and projectiles. Roofing materials designed to withstand high winds and be waterproof. Roof-to-wall attachment system designed to prevent the roof from being "blown off" by extreme winds. Roof and building shapes that are more wind-resistant. A certified Wind Mitigation inspector can draw up a report outlining the protection installed at your home. If you live in a condo, the Association must provide you with this document at your request. Certain types of wind protection will entitle you to discounts on your insurance contract.
  • How much home insurance should I buy?
    Don't rely on the market price of your home, the amount of your loan or the amount assessed by your tax appraiser. To be properly insured, your house or condo must be covered for the cost of reconstruction/renovation in the event of destruction, taking into account the cost of materials and labour. You'll also need to factor in the additional cost of complying with the urban planning code when making repairs. Don't forget that some contracts include a penalty if, on the day of the claim, the amount of your coverage was too low. For your personal possessions, make a list of their value to determine the right amount of insurance coverage. Don't forget to tell your broker if you have jewelry, musical instruments, antiques or any other valuables, which will usually require a special endorsement to your policy.
  • What to do in the event of a complaint?
    Call the appropriate authorities: If someone is injured in your home, call 911 immediately. If you notice a break-in or theft, call the police. Then contact your insurer or agent as soon as possible. Once you've contacted your insurer, they'll quickly send you documents to fill out, so don't delay in returning them. If you procrastinate, you risk losing your right to compensation. Take precautions to prevent further damage to your property, and keep receipts for reasonable expenses. Don't incur any expenses or make any repairs over and above these emergency measures until your insurer has agreed to do so, and has the right to inspect your home before you do anything. Avoid throwing away any damaged furniture before the adjuster visits. You can also take a photo or video of the damage. Make a list of damaged goods and collect all your supporting documents, which you should store in a safe place. If your home has suffered serious damage and you can't stay there while repairs are carried out, keep proof of your relocation expenses. Most contracts provide compensation for these expenses. However, some contracts exclude expenses incurred if there is no damage to the dwelling but you have been forced to leave by order of the authorities. Your insurance broker is there to help and advise you!
  • Do I need to insure my motorcycle in Florida and do I have to wear a helmet?
    Motorcycles can be insured under a special contract or can be added to your car insurance contract. Ask your broker which applies to you. Most of the cover available for a motorcycle is the same as for a car, with the notable exception of PIP insurance. Note that your car's PIP coverage does not cover you when you drive your motorcycle. Florida law allows you to ride without a helmet if you are over 21 years of age and if you have health insurance or accident medical expenses coverage of at least $10,000. We urge you to wear a helmet at all times, regardless of your route or weather conditions. Passengers and drivers under 21 must wear a helmet without exception. However, by law, you must wear DMV-approved goggles or glasses when riding a motorcycle. In addition, you must switch on your motorcycle's lights whenever you ride on public roads, day or night. Finally, if you're carrying a passenger, your motorcycle must be fitted with footrests. For more information: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.211.html
  • What to do in the event of an accident?
    Do not leave the scene; call the police (911) immediately, even if the incident seems minor. Note the names and contact details of any witnesses present, as your insurance company may need to contact them. At the scene, don't sign any papers requested by the other driver, and don't offer any money to repair the damage "amicably". Don't admit to any wrongdoing and stay calm. Wait for the police to arrive and make sure the officer gives you a copy of the Exchange of Information Form. As soon as you are in a position to do so, contact your broker or insurance company to report the accident. Don't delay. Finally, don't hesitate to see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if it's just for a routine check-up.
  • Do I need to have a Florida driver's license?
    If you are not a resident of the state of Florida, you must have a valid driver's license issued by your country (state) of residence. An international driver's license is not required to drive in Florida, but may come in handy if your country of residence's license is not written in English. On the other hand, if you become a Florida resident, you'll need a Florida driver's license.
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