Were you recently involved in an auto accident that resulted in serious damage to your vehicle? If so, there are a few facts that you should know before taking your vehicle into a local collision repair shop to be fixed. Taking the time to review these facts outlined below can help you to avoid unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses and ensure that you are happy with your repair experience.
Fact #1: There Is No Need To Submit More Than One Estimate
People often believe that they must obtain multiple estimates before their insurance company will agree to pay for the necessary repairs to their vehicle. This process can be quite time consuming and costly, especially if your vehicle must be towed from one shop to the next. The good news is, there truly is no need to subject yourself to this tedious process.
While it is true that insurance companies used to require multiple estimates before paying a claim, insurance reform laws did away with this practice many years ago. Nowadays, one estimate is all you need to get the process of repairing your vehicle underway.
Fact #2: Your Insurance Company Can Only Recommend A Collision Shop
When you contact your insurance company to file a claim for the damages done to your vehicle, they will likely refer you to a collision shop in your area where you can take your vehicle to be repaired. If you are like many people, you may take this referral to mean that you must take your vehicle to the indicated repair shop in order to use your insurance coverage. However, this is not the case.
Insurance companies routinely recommend specific body shops because of the preexisting relationship that the company has with the shop. This relationship allows them to process insurance claims without the need to send out an independent claims adjuster to assess the damage to your vehicle.
While you are certainly free to take the recommendation provided by your insurance company, you should know that you are under no obligation to do so. In the end, the decision regarding where your vehicle is fixed will be yours to make. More importantly, you should know that your insurance company cannot deny your claim simply because you choose a shop other than the one they referred you to.
Fact: Your Insurance Company Does Not Need To Pay To Improve The Condition Of Your Vehicle
After being in an accident, the insurance company will only be responsible for returning your vehicle to the condition it was in prior to your accident. The problem with this is, it is not always possible to restore your vehicle to a working condition without improving its original condition in the process. For instance, if your vehicle's battery was three years old at the time of the accident, replacing this battery will not only correct the damage that was done to it during the accident, but it will also improve the overall condition of your vehicle. This is a process known as betterment.
Your insurance company is not required to pay for the betterment of your vehicle. Therefore, you should expect to be charged a betterment fee for any repairs that are made that go beyond the insurance company's responsibilities. For instance, using the example above, you will have used approximately half the expected life of your car's battery prior to the accident. Therefore, you will be responsible for paying for half the cost of replacing your battery as part of your collision repairs.
If you're looking for a collision repair shop in your area, visit All Out Customs & Collisions.