When most people purchase car insurance, they don’t typically think worst case scenario. Rather, buying insurance is almost like checking a box in the process of purchasing a motor vehicle. It is not until accidents occur that we find out whether we are truly covered should the worst happen in a car accident. Below is a breakdown of different coverage options that will leave you fully protected should an accident occur.
Collision coverage protects you when an accident occurs with another vehicle or object. For example, if you are involved in an accident with another vehicle, this coverage will fully pay or pay a portion of the cost it will take to repair the vehicle. If you are not at fault for the accident, your collision coverage may still be applicable. We have represented several clients who have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver. If the driver’s insurance company is slow to pay for the property damage caused by its insured, your collision coverage can apply to pay for the repairs so you are back to having a vehicle sooner rather than later. In addition, there may be times when the insurance company refuses to accept responsibility for the car accident. When that happens, you are responsible for paying for the repairs of your own vehicle. Having collision coverage is the only way to insure that you do not come out pocket completely for the repairs of your vehicle.
If you purchase a new vehicle, more likely than not, when you drive the vehicle home on the first day, your car will immediately lose value. Fast forward to the unforeseen time when you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and your vehicle is considered a total loss. The insurance companies will determine the amount your car was worth at the time of the accident. This actual cash value may be less than how much you owe on the vehicle; assuming you obtained a loan to purchase the vehicle. The insurance company will only write you a check for the amount that represents the actual cash value of the vehicle. If there is a difference in the actual cash value and the amount you still owe a lender, gap coverage can be applied to ensure you are not out of pocket as a result of this difference. Our firm has represented several clients who do not understand why they would have to pay the lender the entire amount if the vehicle is valued at a lesser amount, especially if the car accident was not their fault. Unfortunately, gap coverage is the only coverage to guarantee you do not come out of pocket should an accident occur and the value of the car is less than the amount owed on the vehicle.
Rental Car Coverage
After a car accident, there may be a period of time that you do not have access to a vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired. If that occurs, you have an option to purchase rental car coverage. This coverage means exactly what you think it means. It covers the cost involved in renting a vehicle while you are without a vehicle after a car accident. While you may be able to seek reimbursement from the driver of the vehicle who caused the accident, rental car coverage is the option available to keep you on the road with a vehicle without being immediately out of pocket for that expense.
Under-insured Motorist Coverage
Under-insured motorist (UM) coverage has been discussed in our previous blogs. However, as indicated previously, UM is the only coverage that guarantees protection for you should you be injured in a car accident and the driver of the vehicle that was at fault for the accident was not adequately insured.
Car accidents occur every day in the State of Florida. Unfortunately, the current laws in Florida are not written to protect you should you be injured or experience a total loss of a vehicle due to someone else’s negligence. Drivers in Florida are not required to have insurance that could potentially cover expenses incurred by the other driver who was not at fault for the accident. The only way to make sure you are covered should an accident occur is to have the appropriate coverage in place for you and your family members.