Auto Accident Property Damage Claims in Florida
Has your vehicle or personal property been damaged as a result of a auto accident in Florida? You have the right to have your property repaired or paid for by the at fault driver’s insurance carrier. If there is a dispute as to who caused the accident, then sometimes, it is faster and easier to have your own automobile insurance company handle the property damage claim immediately. (If you carry comprehensive or collision coverage). The at fault driver’s insurance carrier can reimburse your property damage deductible if you have one.
You may select the body shop to estimate and fix your vehicle. The repairs are required to be made with "like" kind and condition parts.
Sometimes other personal property (such as children’s car seats, eyeglasses, clothing and contents of your vehicle) are damaged in an auto accident; you also have the right to have these items be repaired or replaced.
In these times of high gas prices, if you vehicle is a total loss, we also recommend making a claim for the amount of gas in your tank.
You are also entitled to have the at fault driver’s insurance company authorize or reimburse you for the cost of a rental vehicle during the time you lose the use of the vehicle as a result of the accident. In the event you do not need a rental vehicle, you are still entitled to be paid for the time that you were without a vehicle due to the accident.
If the cost of fixing your vehicle is more than 80% of the fair market value of your vehicle, the insurance carrier will probably declare your vehicle a "total" loss. In this case, you can either sell the vehicle to the insurance company for its salvage or parts value or keep the vehicle. In either case, the insurance carrier is responsible for paying you for at least 80% of the fair market value of the vehicle. Fair market value is not the amount you paid for the vehicle, rather, it is the amount for which you might reasonably expect to sell the vehicle to someone in the area where you live, given the age, condition and mileage of the vehicle.
If the vehicle is declared a "total" loss, then the insurance carrier is also responsible for paying you 7% sales tax on the sale of the vehicle (in Pinellas County), together with the cost of transferring the tag to another vehicle.