Even when an insurance company is willing to pay fair market value on a wrecked or damaged vehicle, it sometimes makes more sense to repair rather than have it declared a total loss. This can be the case when it is not practical to purchase another vehicle with the amount of money payable under the total loss calculation.
Florida motor vehicle insurance policies cover for vehicle loss and repair through Property Damage Liability and Collision provisions. PD Liability, which is third party coverage because it insures for loss suffered by persons other than the insured, is mandatory in Florida. Collision, which is first party coverage because it covers the insured, is not.
Section 319.30, Florida Statutes (2016) allows registered owners of wrecked or damaged vehicles covered under 1st or 3rd party coverage to insist on repair over fair market replacement value. Subsection (3)(a)2. provides as follows:
A motor vehicle or mobile home shall not be considered a “total loss” if the insurance company and owner of a motor vehicle or mobile home agree to repair, rather than to replace, the motor vehicle or mobile home.
However, the insurance company is not required to pay more than 100% of the cost to replace the wrecked or damaged vehicle with one of like kind and quality. Moreover, if the repair cost exceeds this 100%, the vehicle certificate of title will be branded with the words “Total Loss Vehicle,” and such brand shall become a part of the vehicle’s title history.
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