Windshield damage can be a dangerous thing. Impaired vision is only part of the danger.
A damaged windshield can affect the strength of the entire windshield/sealant system of your car. This system ensures that your roof doesn’t crush in the event of a front impact or a rollover. A damaged windshield can have a significant effect on the system’s ability to keep you safe in an accident. In addition, having a cracked windshield will also invariably lead to a ticket by local police.
While many drivers may put off getting necessary repairs to their windshield for fear of the costs od repair or replacement, in Florida, some drivers can get this done for free.
How Drivers Are Protected From Windshield Replacement Costs in Florida
There are some new ways that drivers are protected from damage costs under new Florida statutes. A new Florida windshield replacement law, FL Statutes, Sec. 627.7288, allows windshield replacement for properly insured individuals, prohibiting insurance companies from applying a deductible.
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What the Law Says
If you have sustained windshield damage, you may be able to get your windshield repaired or replaced at no cost, depending on the cause of the damage and what kind of insurance coverage you have.
The new windshield replacement law states that a vehicle owner who has comprehensive or combined additional insurance coverage can get their windshield repaired or replaced without imposing deductible costs. This law is meant to motivate car owners to get damaged windshields replaced as quickly as possible.
What Kind of Coverage Do You Have?
In the state of Florida, no-fault insurance rules apply to insurance claims. Under no-fault insurance rules, every registered vehicle owner in the state must have personal injury protection and property damage liability coverage.
Personal injury coverage will cover you for any injuries sustained in an accident. Property damage liability covers another driver’s property damage in the event of an accident. But state law only requires vehicle owners to have $10,000 in property liability coverage. Because of this, many drivers choose to cover their own vehicles with additional coverage.
If you are involved in an accident in Florida, your PIP insurance will pay for your injuries regardless of who is at fault. If your car has sustained damage in the accident, the at-fault party’s liability coverage will cover those repairs. Otherwise, your repairs will be covered by your collision coverage.
So What Happens if an Accident Caused My Windshield Damage?
It’s important to note that the new law only applies to comprehensive or CAC coverage. In the case of an accident, who is responsible for your windshield damage will depend on what caused the accident and who was at fault.
In a collision, if the other driver is at fault for the accident, their insurance will cover your repairs. If you are at fault, you will need to look to your own collision policy. In this case, you may still be subject to a deductible.
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What About Those Who Do The Repairs?
While the new law is good news for car owners, it is not necessarily good for the businesses that do the repairs. Large insurance companies have been able to drive down windshield repair costs to save themselves money as a result. For small independent shops, charging industry-recognized prices for repairs often leave them fighting with insurance companies to get fairly paid for their services.
If you have been involved in a car accident and have had difficulty getting your windshield repaired, or you are a small business owner fighting with the insurance industry, getting the guidance of an experienced windshield attorney is critical.