One of the most difficult conversations I often have with my clients is about the compensation they will receive for the damages to their car after a car accident has occurred. Rarely is a client able to receive what they feel is fair compensation for the damages to their vehicle when the vehicle is deemed a total loss.
A vehicle is deemed a total loss in Florida when the cost to repair it exceeds 80% of the fair market value of the vehicle. Unfortunately, people don’t think about the ‘fair market value’ of their vehicle. They keep it clean and in good running condition and are often shocked (and saddened) when that vehicle is totaled out from a crash and they are given a check for an amount that they cannot imagine buying a similar vehicle for.
While Attorney Chelsie M. Lamie fights to get her clients the best Property Damage settlement possible, being prepared for a crash before it happens is the key to getting through the often disappointing property damage claims process as painlessly as possible. Here are a few simple steps to help you prepare for a future total loss property damage claim.
First, review your insurance policy and be sure you have Collision coverage. This is the coverage that will pay you for the damages (or replacement) of your vehicle should you be hit by someone without any property damage coverage.
Check to see what your deductible is and be sure that it’s one you could afford to pay should you unexpectedly lose your vehicle in a crash. Second, check with your bank (or other financial institution) to ensure that you have “gap insurance” on the vehicle. If you are still making payments on your car gap insurance covers the difference between the settlement you receive and the amount you owe your financial institution on the loan.
Lastly, consider purchasing your insurance from a non-captive (or independent) auto insurance agent. A non-captive agent is one who is not exclusively affiliated with any particular insurance carrier. These agents can offer you lots of different options through many carriers. Some carriers have new and interesting programs such as New Car Replacement, Stated Value Coverage and Agreed Value Coverage, just to name a few.
While these additional coverages may cost you a little more money up front, they also offer peace of mind that you will not be left without a vehicle similar to the one you were driving at the time of your crash.
Attorney Chelsie M. Lamie is a personal injury attorney located in Safety Harbor, Florida. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident or slip and fall accident, please call 727-501-3464 for a free consultation. You can also learn more about Attorney Lamie at www.chelsielamie.com.