What are the Florida law requirements for car damage insurance?
Florida requires all owners of motor vehicles to have a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability insurance.
Who will pay for my car damage?
If the other party is at fault and the at-fault party has property damage insurance. The at-fault insurance company will pay up to the $10,000 minimum. If the coverage is more than $10,000 then the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay damages up to the limits on the policy. There is no deductible here.
If the other party is at fault and the party doesn’t have property damage liability insurance. In this scenario you will ask your own insurance company to pay for the damages – provided you purchased your own collision insurance. Your insurance company will pay the damages minus any deductible.
If the other party is at fault and neither they nor you have insurance. You can seek to have the at-fault party pay. Chances are if they don’t have insurance they don’t have money to pay for the repairs. Consult with a Florida car accident attorney to investigate whether a claim, in this scenario, is practical.
If you are at fault and you have collision insurance. In this case you can only collect from your own insurance company. Again, you will be responsible for the deductible.
If the other party is at fault and the other party and you both have car damage. Here you have a choice. You can collect from the at-fault party or your own carrier.
Reasons to get from the other party’s insurance:
- You won’t have to pay a deductible
- The other party should have rental insurance (as part of their overall package)
- The other party should have personal property damage insurance and towing insurance (as part of the their overall package)
Reasons to get from your own insurance:
- It may be faster.
- The at-fault party’s insurance is not enough to pay for all the damages and your own policy has enough coverage to pay for all the damages.
- It may be easier to rent the car you want provided you have repair insurance.
How are insurance disputes handled?
The carrier you work with will influence how your vehicle accident dispute is handled.
Disputes with your own insurance carrier – it depends on your insurance contract. Usually, they’re handled through an arbitration procedure.
Disputes with the other party’s insurance carrier – if you or your lawyer can’t settle the case, then you or your attorney have to sue the other side in court.
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What damages should I ask for?
- Minimum Damage. Small scrapes and dents. You’re still entitled to get the cost to repair the car so the scrapes and dents aren’t there.
- Costs to repair. These are the costs to make your car look and operate the way it did before the accident
- Your car is a total loss. A total loss means that the cost to repair the vehicle is more than the value of the car. Cars with high costs of repair run the risks that the repairs won’t last and also that the integrity of the car may be at risk. For this reason, if the repairs are around 80% of the car’s value, the car will be considered a total loss. If a car is totaled, you will get the value of the car as of the date of the accident.
- Diminished Value because of repairs. Here, your car may be worth less (even after full repairs) when you sell or trade the car for a new one. Buyers don’t like to buy used cars that have been in an accident. This claim is usually for newer cars that have more than minimum damage.
- Rental costs. You may be entitled to the cost to rent a vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired.
- Personal damage. Damage costs for any personal property in the car or on your person. Ex. eyeglasses or a laptop computer.
- Towing and storage costs.
- Personal injury. If you were injured in the accident you should consult with one of our car accident lawyers.
Who should repair my car?
You have options on car repairs. The dealership where you purchased your vehicle will either repair your car or recommend a car repair company may be a good choice. Or, you could use a professional auto body shop near you with experience in repairing your type of car.
How are my car loans handled?
Standard car insurance (yours or that of the at-fault party) doesn’t consider the amount you owe (the loan) on the car. You can purchase GAP insurance to cover this difference.
If there is a lien on your car, the holder of the lien will also have to sign any checks.
Can I get my deductible back?
If you’re at fault. No. If the other party is at fault. You can get a judgment in the amount of the deductible. Collecting the judgment may be difficult because the other side may not have any assets.