That minor fender bender can cause you major grief and anxiety. Worse, it can tax your wallet and leave you wondering — were those repairs really worth it? Any type of auto body work will cost you. Keep these points in mind when you seek your repairs.
1. Contact your insurance agent. You may have already called the police to document the accident or you may have exchanged information with the other driver if one was involved. Your next call will be to your insurance agent and this is where you must steel yourself. Know that your insurance plan has a deductible and that means you will eat the first $500 or more of your repair costs. Then and only then will the insurer step in and cover the remaining costs. If the accident was the other person’s fault, then their insurer may cover your deductible and other costs.
2. Repair shops for your consideration. Your insurer may provide a list of repair shops for you to use or you can go to a shop of your own. The insurer’s repair shops typically offer the insurance company the best rates, but avoid any shop that simply will not provide the service that you need.
3. Obtain price estimates first. Before choosing a repair shop, ask at least three shops to provide you with pricing to get the work done. Although your insurer may pick up the majority of the bill, they may instead off you a check and put it on you to find the best deal. Anything above that amount would be additional monies you would have to pay, so it pays to compare.
4. Ask for OEM parts. The parts for your car should be original equipment manufacturer or OEM parts. Settle for something else and the quality of those parts may suffer. For some parts, such as a door or a bumper, a salvaged part from a junk yard might do. Just be certain that the parts you want are the parts that are delivered to you.
5. Investigate the shop. Not all repair shops are alike. Indeed, some have better reputations than others. Typically, you will not find this information out unless a customer you know offers that information. Therefore, it is important to read online reviews, such as Yelp, to make that determination advises Caliber Collision.
6. Are the replacement parts warrantied? Whatever work is done on your car, you want a warranty to protect that expense. Repair shops typically back that work for a certain number of months or miles driven. A warranty is critically important as it protects you if a part breaks, paint peels or some other unfortunate event takes place related to that repair.
7. Who pays for rental car insurance? Chances are that you will lose use of your car for at least a day, perhaps much longer. Likewise, you will need to rent a car for the duration of that time. When your car is out of service who pays for the rental? Your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer may have you covered. If not, you could be left with a sizable rental car bill.
8. Only authorize the repairs you request. When collision work is done, the expected repairs should be enumerated. This may be a bit more difficult to do if the damage was extensive. Nevertheless, require the repair shop to contact you if additional repairs are undertaken. You may need to return to your insurance agent for a reevaluation of your repair costs before that work can be done.
Repairing a vehicle following collision can be unnerving. You want those repairs to be comprehensive and your damaged vehicle restored whole. Even with repairs successfully accomplished you may find that your vehicle no longer satisfies you. In that case replacing it with another one may be in order.