Many of our Florida car accident clients ask this question when they first come to see us. They are justifiably very concerned about how their vehicle repairs are going to handled after a Florida car accident, or who is going to pay if their vehicle is considered a total loss.
The answers to these questions or concerns depend upon what kind of insurance coverage there is, and the facts and circumstances of the car crash, itself.
As long as the other driver (or really, his or her insurance company) accepts fault or responsibility for causing the crash, the other driver’s Property Damage coverage should pay for all repairs or the total loss of the victim’s vehicle. In addition, the at-fault insurance company — again under the Property Damage coverage of the negligent driver—will also pay for a rental vehicle while the damaged vehicle is being repaired, or until a replacement vehicle can be found (as long as this length of time is reasonable.) In Florida, every vehicle owner is required by law to carry Property Damage coverage (although the amount of coverage required by law is low, and often not enough to repair or replace a luxury vehicle or nice sports car.)
However, there may be times when it is impractical to work with the other driver’s insurance company. For example, the company may deny that its insured caused the crash, or may drag its feet in having an adjuster or appraiser look at the vehicle.
This Is Where Collision Coverage—Which is an Optional Coverage in Florida—Can Become Very Handy
Collision coverage pays for damage to your own vehicle whether caused by another vehicle, or you. However, dealing with your own company under the Collision provision of your car insurance policy is not without its drawbacks. First, every Collision provision that we have seen features a deductible. You will have to pay this deductible in order to get your vehicle fixed or totaled. Secondly, Collision coverage does not come with a rental car feature (although many people by the optional Rental Reimbursement coverage, too), so you may have to pay for your own rental car while your car is being repaired or while you wait for a check for you.
With as many car crashes as there are in Florida, there are surprisingly few disputes when it comes to handling vehicle repairs, or total losses, for that matter. However, when property damage issues do come up, it can be extremely inconvenient. Although our practice deals primarily with serious personal injuries, we also can help solve property damage, vehicle repairs, and total loss issues if they arise.
If you have any questions about any aspect of a Florida car crash or insurance dispute, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-644-4444, or download their free Florida car accident book, Asleep at the Wheel: 13 Mistakes the Insurance Company Desperately Hopes You'll Make After Your Florida Car Accident.