Does My Car Need To Go to a Specific Shop for Repairs After an Accident in Fort Lauderdale?
Gregg Hollander | October 20, 2022 | Car Accidents
Traffic accidents are common in Fort Lauderdale, especially during peak tourist season and rush hour traffic. Repairing damage to a vehicle can be a hassle. However, insurance may cover the cost of the repairs.
Even if an insurance company pays to repair your vehicle after an accident, you can choose any repair shop to perform the work. There is no law in Florida that requires vehicle owners to use a specific shop for repairs after an accident in Fort Lauderdale when dealing with another person’s insurance company. However, this might not apply if your insurance company pays for the repairs.
If you file a claim with your insurance provider, you are bound by the terms of your insurance policy. If the policy requires you to use an authorized repair shop, you will need to do so for your insurance company to pay for the repairs.
Whose Insurance Is Liable for Damages After a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident?
Florida laws require drivers to have a minimum amount of no-fault insurance coverage. The required coverage includes $10,000 in PDL (property damage liability) insurance. PDL insurance pays for damage you cause to another person’s vehicle.
Therefore, if another driver causes an accident, that driver’s PDL provider pays up to $10,000 for repairs to your vehicle. However, if you cause a traffic accident, your PDL insurance does not pay for the damage to your own vehicle – only to the other driver’s.
If you have collision insurance, your insurance company covers the cost of repairs after an accident that was your fault.
Collision insurance coverage is optional in Florida. Drivers are not required to purchase this insurance coverage. However, many drivers purchase collision coverage because their lender requires it or because they want to protect their investment if they cause a car accident.
Should I Use the Insurance Company’s Preferred Repair Shop After an Accident?
Even though you are not required to use a preferred repair shop after an accident (unless your insurance policy requires you to do so), there are some advantages to choosing a preferred repair shop. Some benefits of using an insurance company’s preferred repair shop include:
- The insurance company works directly with the repair shop, which reduces the paperwork you need to deal with after an accident
- You do not need to search for repair shops to provide estimates for the insurance company to review and approve
- It saves you time so that you can get back to work and other responsibilities
- You might be able to get your car fixed quickly with a preferred repair shop
- Many preferred repair shops offer longer guarantees based on their agreement with the insurance company
However, there are several potential downsides to choosing an insurance company’s preferred repair shop to work on your vehicle.
A problem with preferred repair shops is that they usually negotiate special rates with insurance providers to encourage them to send people to their shops. Therefore, the shop might cut corners on repairs to save money. For example, the shop might use aftermarket or used parts to make repairs or make incomplete repairs to save money.
Additionally, the repair shop is more interested in pleasing the insurance company than customer satisfaction. Therefore, the repair shop might be more inclined to do whatever the insurance company wants instead of what is best for your vehicle.
Tips for Finding the Best Repair Shop After a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident
Before you decide which repair shop to choose for your vehicle repairs, you need to do some research. First, check to make sure that the repair shop has a good reputation. You can search online for reviews and check with the Better Business Bureau.
Also, check to ensure that the mechanics are certified through one or more organizations. Ask the repair shop about their warranties for car repairs.
You should always have a written estimate for repairs that include a detailed description of the damage, estimated time for repairs, cost of labor, and the cost of parts. Make sure that the repair shop uses new parts for repairs.
Before you sign a release or any other documents settling a property damage claim, ensure that the repairs are to your satisfaction. Also, read the entire document to ensure you are not releasing your right to file a personal injury claim.
Property damage claims are typically settled soon after the car accident. However, a personal injury claim might take months to resolve. Therefore, it is crucial that you read all documents you sign to ensure that the insurance company does not include language about personal injury damages or a personal injury settlement.
If you have questions or are unsure about signing a document, talk with a personal injury lawyer.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in South Florida
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers in Florida at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
We proudly serve Palm Beach County, Broward County, and its surrounding areas:
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Boca Raton Law Office
7000 W Palmetto Park Rd #500
Boca Raton, FL 33433
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Fort Lauderdale Law Office
200 S.E. 6th Street #203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – West Palm Beach Law Office
319 Clematis St #203
West Palm Beach, FL 33401