How do I Pay for Damage to My Vehicle After an Accident?
One of the first things you will likely think about after a Florida car accident is how you will pay for the damage to your vehicle. Our vehicles are our lifelines, so it is vital that we get them repaired as quickly as possible.
We want you to know that the most important thing for you to do following a Florida car accident is to seek medical attention for any injuries you have and contact a Jacksonville car accident attorney. Even if the injuries are minor, your health is the number one priority. When that is all taken care of, then you can focus on how to pay for damage to your vehicle.
Insurance Requirements in Florida
All drivers in this state must have $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL). While all drivers will turn to their own PIP insurance to cover personal injuries, they will not turn to their PDL to fix their vehicles.
If the other driver is at fault and has PDL, the at-fault driver’s insurance company can pay up to the $10,000 minimum in damages. If they have more than the minimum required coverage, their policy will cover damages over $10,000, up to their limits.
If the at-fault driver does not have PDL, you will have to turn to your personal insurance company for property damage coverage. You can also use your own insurance to cover expenses over the at-fault driver’s minimum. Your insurance will cover the expenses up to the minimum, minus your deductible.
If you nor the at-fault driver have insurance, you can file a lawsuit against them to recover property damage compensation. However, if they do not have insurance, it is unlikely they will have the money to cover repairs to your vehicle.
If you are at-fault in the crash, your insurance company is going to be responsible for covering your vehicle repairs. You will be responsible for the deductible in this case.
Differences in Property Damage Coverage
There are several different types of property damage in the state of Florida.
- PDL covers property damage of another vehicle that was caused by the at-fault party.
- Collison covers property damage of the insurance policyholder regardless of fault. This coverage is not standard in Florida and you need to select it. It covers your own vehicle if you are in an accident and the at-fault party does not have PDL.
- Comprehensive also covers the policyholder for reasons other than an accident or crash.
Property damage doesn’t just cover the damage to your vehicle but any personal physical belongings such as your phone or glasses.
Again, it’s best to use the at-fault’s PDL insurance policy because you do not need to come up with a deductible and you may not be able to file a diminished value or loss of use claim. If your damages exceed the limits of the at-fault’s PDL, then you can turn to your collision coverage to cover the remainder of the damages.
Benefits of Collecting From the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
In most cases, you will want to collect property damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance. This will keep you from having to pay the deductible on your own PDL. However, there are some things you can do in the immediate aftermath of a crash to help your case. If the other driver is at-fault, you should:
- Do everything you can do document the scene. Use your smartphone or another camera to take photographs of everything (damage, debris, traffic patterns, causes of the crash, etc.).
- Speak to any eyewitnesses and get their names and phone numbers. This will help with insurance settlements or possible lawsuits involved.
- Make sure the police get to the scene and perform their own investigation. Ask how to get a copy of the official accident report so you can turn this over to your insurance company.
Vehicle Accidents are a Reality
You should always be prepared for a Florida car accident. During the latest reporting year in this state, there were over 400,000 total crashes. Out of those, there were over 254,000 injuries and 3,116 fatalities. A competent Jacksonville or Orlando car accident attorney will be able to assist you throughout this process.