24 Nov Florida Car Accident Property Damage Insurance Q&A
Is property damage insurance required in Florida?
As of 2019, Florida law requires all car owners to carry $10,000 in property damage insurance coverage on their vehicles. This means that if someone that hits you is considered to be the at-fault party, their insurance will pay up to at least the state minimum of $10,000.
What happens if the cost to fix my car is over $10,000 and the at-fault party only has the state minimum?
Either you will have to use your collision coverage, which is you are not required to carry in accordance to Florida law, or you have to pay for the repair expenses out of your pocket.
How to they determine if my car is totaled after an accident?
Typically, if the repair cost is more than 75% of the value of the vehicle, they will deem it a total loss. Other factors come into play as well such as if there is frame damage or if the car is permanently disabled.
Is rental car coverage required?
There is no requirement in Florida to carry rental car insurance. Therefore, it is in your best interest to carry rental car insurance coverage on your own policy so if an accident happens, you are not without a vehicle.
Am I always going to get a rental car?
Possibly, as I mentioned above, rental car coverage is not required. Therefore, the at-fault party must have it on their insurance, or you must have it on yours. If nether parties has it, then you have to pay for a rental car out of your own pocket.
If my car is considered a total loss, how is it valued?
The insurance company will provide you with a full analysis typically based around blue book value of what comparable cars are listed for and what recent comparable vehicles like yours have sold for.
Will I get my deductible back?
Often times, yes you will get your deductible back if there are available monies to reimburse you from the other party’s insurance. If there are not enough monies available then you will not get your deductible reimbursed.
Should I use the app or should I have a property damage adjuster and/or body shop view my car and create an estimate?
I would always suggest having an actual person view your vehicle such as a property damage adjuster or body shop do the estimate because if there is damage that cannot be seen from the outside by photograph (such as frame damage), you will not be compensated for it.
Is my attorney required to help with my property damage?
It depends on what agreement you make with your attorney. Some do and some do not. I always help my clients with their property damage as a courtesy and do not charge them a separate attorney’s fee for my help.
How long does it take for the insurance company to come look at my vehicle?
It typically takes a few days for an adjuster to come out and view your vehicle. If the insurance company is being difficult, it is best to contact an attorney to help move along the process.
Do I have to take my vehicle to get repaired where the insurance company tells me?
You can take your vehicle to get repaired wherever you would like as long as it is a licensed repair shop.
If I find something wrong with my car after it is fixed, can I take it back to the repair shop?
Often times, yes you can. They will fill out what is called a supplement and will get the insurance company to pay for the additional repair if there is monies available. However, I would suggest taking it back immediately as soon as you discover this issue because if you wait weeks or even months to take the care back, the insurance company may not relate the damage to the accident and you will have to pay for the damage yourself.
What if the total loss estimate does not list all the upgrades or recent repairs to my vehicle?
Sometimes you may have additional upgrades such as a “sports package” or recent repairs to your vehicle such as brand-new tires that may have not been included in the estimate. You can submit that information or those receipts to the insurance company to get additional monies.
What happens if your car is totaled and you have a loan on the vehicle?
If you owe more on the car than you get as compensation for it being a total loss, you can either use your gap insurance if you have it, or you will be personally responsible for the difference. If you plan to buy a vehicle and put little down, it is best to get gap insurance.
When do I have to return the rental car?
The insurance company will give you a time period in which you can use the rental car. Typically, if your car is getting repaired, it is as long as it takes to fix the car. If the car takes longer than estimated, then they will most likely extend the rental. If the car is considered a total loss, it will typically be due a few days after they deem it a total loss, NOT after you get the total loss check. Therefore, if you think your car is going to be a total loss, you need to start looking for a new vehicle as soon as possible.
Can I keep my car even if it is considered a total loss?
Sometimes you can keep your car, but you are likely to have to register it under a salvage title. This could affect resale and/or trade-in value.
Will property damage insurance cover items and property other than my vehicle?
Yes, property damage can cover other things such as a cellphone, glasses, car seats and property like fences and medians.
Can I sue someone personally for additional compensation relating to my property damage?
That is an option that should be carefully considered. You do have a right to sue someone for their negligence but, if they do not have the requisite assets, you may be wasting your time and resources going after someone who does not have the means to compensate you. It is best to contact an attorney and weigh out your options.
When should I contact an attorney for property damage help?
The sooner the better. A personal injury attorney, like myself, can see if there is rental car coverage, see how much property damage coverage there is, and help get an adjuster out to view your car faster.
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