After an accident, you may not know what to do to get your car back on the road. There are insurance claims to file, police reports to obtain and you may be dealing with injuries that mean doctors or tests. Throughout all of this, you need to get the damage on your car repaired so you can manage all the other details of the accident. This may be the first time you have dealt with collision repair, so there are some things you need to know to make the process go smoothly.
Use a Skilled Appraiser
The insurance company will probably send their own appraiser to determine how much the damages will cost. A good appraiser should identify all damage done to your vehicle, even damage that may not be visible. If something is found during the repair, you want to be sure the appraiser is willing to convince the insurance company to pay for the additional repairs. Talk to them about their knowledge and experience when they come to appraise the damage. Be sure to ask about hidden damage and what the process is for those repairs.
You Can Choose the Repair Shop
Insurance companies often have relationships with certain collision centers and this is where they typically send one of their policyholders after a collision. You are not required to use a facility that is recommended by the insurance company and have the right to choose where your repairs are done. This is often in your best interest to insure the repairs are high-quality.
You may think the damage to your car is minor but when your car hits something, the impact affects the entire vehicle. Even a minor collision can damage the frame, wheels, interior or drivetrain. Choose a shop that will inspect the entire vehicle and repair damages that may not be visible.
Repairing Body Damage
Commercials for products on television that claim a body panel can be popped back into place using a special tool or household item are not factual. Although there are paintless dent repair techniques, they must be performed by trained technicians who use special tools to gently bend the metal back into shape.
Repairs Without Body Filler
Not so long ago, you could determine if a car had been in an accident by running a magnet over the surface. Sections with body filler meant the car was probably in a collision. That isn’t the case with today’s cars as they sometimes come from the factory with body filler in order to hide any imperfections in the metal. New paintless dent techniques allow body shops to make repairs without the need for body filler or sanding as well.
Sometimes, insurance companies will tell you that if you go to a repair shop that is not recommended by them, the work will not be covered under warranty. However, warranties are provided by the collision center, not the insurance company. Choose a location that offers a written warranty and guarantees that you will be satisfied with the work.
Original Manufacturer vs. Aftermarket Parts
Original manufacturer parts (OEM) are often higher quality than aftermarket parts. They are parts that were originally made for your vehicle and are patented by the manufacturer. Aftermarket parts may be compatible, but they are not the same as OEM parts.
Do Your Research
You want to be sure your repairs are done in a shop with a good reputation. A good shop will put your needs first and use the highest quality materials. They also offer warranties and satisfaction guarantees. Research any shop you are considering by reading online reviews and talking to friends or relatives.
Is the Car Totaled?
A car is “totaled” by the insurance company when the cost of repairing it is more than the value of the car. An older car will meet the threshold for totaling quicker than a newer car. If your car is only a few years old, it will need to be significantly damaged in order for the insurance company to total it.
Repairs Can Make Cars as Good as New
In the past, a car that had been in a collision was never the same after a repair. With today’s new techniques, vehicles can be returned to their original condition after a collision as long as repairs are done correctly. Today’s repairs give your car the same sound structure, functionality and appearance as it had before the collision.
If your vehicle has been in a collision, schedule an appointment with us today by completing the simple online form. We will get your car back to its original condition and offer a satisfaction guarantee on all work we do.