Whose Insurance Pays for Repairs After a Car Accident?

Whose Insurance Pays for Repairs After a Car Accident?

One of the biggest headaches associated with being involved in a car accident is getting the damages to your vehicle repaired: the entire process can be difficult.

When you’re involved in an auto accident that is not your fault, you have two options. You can either make a claim for repairs under the collision portion of your own auto policy or run the claim through the property damage coverage of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.  Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, here are some things to consider when making your decision.

Making a Claim on Your Own Policy

In most situations, the driver of the vehicle not at fault in a collision will not want to make a claim to repair property damages through their own policy.  The common reasons being the policyholder does not want to pay their deductible and does not want to face the possibly of a rate hike from making a claim.  These are valid concerns, however, in some situations it may be better to go ahead and make the claim through your own insurance.  For instance, when the at fault driver causes damage to more than just your vehicle in a collision it is usually quicker to go ahead and run the property damage claim through your own policy.  In that type of situation, it will usually take the at fault driver’s insurance company an extended period to determine the extent of all the property damage caused which will often lead to extended delays in getting repairs started on your vehicle.  Insurance companies almost always want to know what the extent of property damage is for all affected parties before approving repairs for any singular party. On the bright side, your own insurance company will then seek the money it pays to fix your vehicle from the insurance company of the at-fault driver, including your deductible.  After recouping your deductible, your insurance company will then reimburse you that money, unfortunately, that process can sometimes take several months to occur.

Making a Claim on the At-Fault Driver’s Policy

If you are involved in an auto wreck caused by someone else and your vehicle is the only one that sustains damage, its usually best to
make the claim for vehicle property damage through the at-fault party’s insurance.  Typically, once the claim gets reported and the insurance company determines the insured to be at fault, an insurance adjuster will call and advise you to take the vehicle to one of their “approved” facilities.  Please keep in mind, you are under no obligation to take your vehicle to the requested facility.  You get to make the decision the about who repairs your vehicle.  Most times this is the preferable method to getting property damage resolved because it avoids paying the deductible and eliminates the possibility of a rate hike.

Also note that for a vehicle to be legally operated on Florida roadways it must carry at least $10,000.00 in property damage coverage.  On the other hand, there is no requirement for vehicles to have collision coverage.  If you are involved in an auto accident that is not your fault and do not have collision coverage on your policy, your only choice is to make the damage claim through the at-fault party’s insurance.

If you have any questions about the handling your property damage claim after a Florida auto accident, call the personal injury attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola today at 850-601-1111 for your free consultation.

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Purchasing auto insurance can be a confusing and expensive experience, which so many insurance companies to chose from and the seemingly endless types of coverage, the whole process can be a bit overwhelming.  One of the questions that often comes up after an auto accident in Florida is what exactly is underinsured/underinsured motorist coverage?  To answer that question, it is important to first understand bodily injury coverage. 

Bodily injury coverage is the insurance coverage that pays for injuries caused by an at-fault driver.  In other words, if you are involved in an auto collision and sustain injuries, when you make a claim against the at-fault driver for those injuries, you will be making a claim against that person’s bodily injury coverage.  However, Florida’s auto insurance system is unique in that it is one of only two states in the country that does not require its drivers to carry bodily injury coverage (Florida drivers are only required to carry no-fault (personal injury protection) coverage and property damage coverage).  What results is a system where drivers without bodily injury coverage cause accidents and leave injured parties little to no recourse in recouping damages for their injuries. 

This is where uninsured motorist coverage comes into play.  Uninsured motorist coverage is insurance coverage on YOUR OWN auto policy that will “step into the shoes” of an at-fault party who doesn’t carry bodily injury coverage and pay for damages on behalf of the at-fault party.  For instance, say you are involved in an auto wreck that is not your fault and break your arm.  Soon after the wreck you find out the at-fault party did not have bodily injury coverage on their policy.  In this situation, you would be entitled to make a claim on your own uninsured motorist coverage for the damages caused by the at-fault party. 

Further, when you purchase uninsured motorist coverage in Florida you also receive underinsured motorist coverage.  This coverage operates in the same way as uninsured motorist coverage but comes into play when the at-fault driver has bodily injury coverage limits that do not cover your damages.  Take the same scenario as above, you are involved in a collision and break your arm, but now, imagine the at-fault driver does have bodily injury coverage with a limit of $10,000.00.  That’s great, but your medical bills are $40,000.00.  In this situation, you can make a claim for the $10,000.00 from the at-fault party and then make a claim for remaining damages on your underinsured motorist coverage.      

This coverage is invaluable, especially in Florida, where thousands of drivers are on the road with inadequate insurance coverages.  However, most consumers purchasing auto insurance either have no idea what is, or they are confused about what it covers.  If you have questions about your insurance coverage, the attorneys at Barrett Nonni & Homola are happy to discuss your options free of charge. Call us today at 850-601-1111.

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