What You Need to Know About Florida's SunPass

Cars drive on a highway surrounded by the ocean in Miami, Florida

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There's nothing worse than having to sit in line at a tollbooth while you watch all the cars to your left speed through the electronic toll collection lane. Traffic is frustrating as it is, so why add stress to your highway ride? Just like the northeast has E-ZPass, Florida has the SunPass, and it's a state favorite. Here is all you need to know about the SunPass.

Where to Use a SunPass

A SunPass is an electronic gizmo (transponder) that attaches to your windshield, allowing you to drive through designated SunPass, E-Pass, and O-Pass lanes. The tolls are automatically deducted from a prepaid account.

You can also pay for parking at Miami International, Orlando International, Palm Beach International, Fort Lauderdale International, and Tampa International Airports, and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami with your SunPass. SunPass also works in Georgia and North Carolina.

How to Set Up a SunPass

There is no need to have exact change or wait for the tollbooth operator to give you change. SunPass allows you to cruise by at speeds of up to 25 m.p.h. while others wait in the cash lanes.

Once attached to your windshield, the transponder transmits a radio signal to sensors mounted on the SunPass toll lanes themselves. Instantly, the transponder relays the proper toll amount and deducts it from your prepaid account.

There are two types of SunPass transponders, the SunPass Portable and the SunPass Mini. The SunPass Portable, is just that, portable. It adheres to your windshield with suction cups and can be easily transferred from one vehicle to the next or taken with you when you travel.

The SunPass Mini is a sticker about the size and width of a credit card that sticks directly to your windshield. It is permanent and cannot be moved from one vehicle to another. Once it is removed from the windshield, it can't be used anymore.

The portable and SunPass Mini will only work when affixed to glass windshields. Only the portable will work on a motorcycle.

How to Buy a SunPass

You can purchase a SunPass Portable for $19.99 (plus tax) online and at any of these locations: CVS Pharmacies, Publix Supermarkets, AAA Auto Club South, Navarro Discount Pharmacy, Sedano's Markets, Walgreen's, Amscot, and Turnpike service plazas. The SunPass Mini is available for $4.99 online or at the same locations.

How to Register a SunPass

You are required to set up a SunPass or SunPass Mini account with a minimum starting balance of $10.00. To register an account:

How to Renew a SunPass

When registering your SunPass transponder you will be prompted to create a low balance threshold and a pre-set renewal amount. This way you don't have to worry about your SunPass balance getting too low because it will automatically renew to the amount you set. Automatic balance renewal also puts you at an advantage because you become a SunPass Plus member. This means you can use your SunPass to pay for parking at the designated areas listed above, and if your SunPass balance is too low for the full parking fee, the rest is deducted from your credit card and the balance on your SunPass is replenished.

If you do not feel comfortable leaving a credit card on file, account holders can also go online to replenish the balance on their SunPass or visit an authorized merchant near you to replenish your account with cash (a $1.50 service fee applies to cash transactions).

What to Do if You Don't Have a SunPass

Most of Florida's highways are collecting tolls by all-electronic technology. If you don't have a SunPass and you drive a stretch of highway that has gone to all-electronic tolls, you will be charged through a TOLL-BY-PLATE bill. A picture of your license plate will be taken, processed and you will receive a bill in the mail (a $2.50 service fee applies).

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