Collision FAQ’s

Q: I’ve just been in an accident- what are my rights regarding the insurance company?

A: Regardless of who is at fault in an accident, you have the right to select the shop of your choice to repair your vehicle. By law, the insurance company or the person responsible for payment cannot determine where your vehicle is repaired and they are required to pay the ”prevailing market rates” for repairs to you or the shop of your choosing. Select a reputable shop, ask for references, and make sure they see you as the customer- not the insurance company.

Q: Am I entitled to a rental car from the other insurance company if the accident wasn’t my fault?

A: Yes. However, this situation can become very frustrating because many insurers will not provide a rental if your vehicle is drivable. Have a reputable shop inspect your car immediately so they can determine the safety of the vehicle and arrange for a rental through the insurance company.

Q: The insurance company said that my vehicle is a “total loss”. What do I do now?

A: One of the most difficult situations regarding a collision occurs when your vehicle is deemed a “total loss”. You need someone in your corner to explain the process and help you to receive the maximum settlement for your vehicle. You must research the “market value” of your vehicle and understand what it will truly cost to replace it before you negotiate a settlement. Call us, we can help!

Q: The insurance company said I had to use their “preferred” shop for repairs otherwise I would not have a warranty and may have to pay some of the repair costs. Is that true?

A: Absolutely Not. This is a practice known as “steering”- when the insurance company tries to convince you to use one of their program shops and can often cross a gray area of legality in most states. Most states have legislation outlawing this practice although in many cases the insurance companies ignore it. “Steering” is prevalent because in some cases the insurance companies have negotiated with certain shops for discounts and price guarantees. In this circumstance, an effort to control costs may compromise the safety and quality of your repair! Ultimately, it is your who repairs your vehicle. As for additional costs, the insurance company paying for repairs is required by law to pay the “market rates” based upon your location. As long as the shop follows industry repair guidelines and pricing, the insurance company will pay all costs relating to damages, less your deductible.

Q: Will my vehicle be as safe as it was before?

A: Yes, if repaired correctly. A modern repair facility should have the specialized training and equipment to restore your vehicle’s original safety and appearance. Interview the shop that you are considering. Take a tour of their facility. A qualified representative of their shop should be able to adequately demonstrate their ability to repair your vehicle and be able to show examples of their finished quality.

Q: I was told that my vehicle has frame damage. What does that mean?

A: For many trucks and SUV’s, there is a structural steel frame that the body, engine and suspension is attached to. Damage to the frame can be very minor or serious enough to require replacement. Again, a properly equipped and trained shop can repair these vehicles to their original condition. Be sure that the shop you select has dedicated frame straightening equipment and computer or laser frame measuring capability.

Q: How much will my vehicle decrease in value now that its been in a wreck?

A: It depends. It varies based depending on the extent and type of damage as well as the quality of the repair. In the case of some older vehicles, their value may increase with needed repairs and fresh paint. A quality repair, following manufacturers guidelines, using factory parts, should restore the value and safety of your vehicle.

Q: How long does an estimate take?

A: An estimate written by a qualified estimator should take an average of twenty minutes or less. It is important to make sure that all estimates are itemized and computer-based- a non-itemized, hand-written estimate is not acceptable documentation of necessary repairs. Make sure that the shop uses a computer-based estimating system and provides you with an itemized copy of their estimate.

Q: Am I obligated to get multiple estimates?

A: No! By law, if someone is responsible for paying for damages to your vehicle, they must pay all reasonable costs based upon market pricing in your area. You have the right to select who repairs your vehicle and they must provide a written estimate to the payer. It is the responsibility of the payer of damages, not you, to monitor the costs. If the payer wants to compare pricing for repairs they must do so on their own time and expense to have other shops give additional estimates. Your only responsibility is selecting a quality shop that uses quality parts to fix your vehicle.

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