Everyone who ever had to bring their car to an auto body repair shop understands how fast the costs can quickly spiral out of control. You can expect auto body repair to cost anywhere from $75 to $2,500. Luckily, provided you paid for car insurance, the insurance provider will often cover you. You do need to follow the process.
Take Action from the Start
Truthfully, insurance companies won’t always play fair, and you need to take action to make them play fair. Document everything right from the start. Right after the accident happens, assess the damage and snap photos as evidence. Granted, the police will take photos of their own, but you can never supply too much evidence for your case. The documentation will let you fight if you need to.
If you suffered a bad injury, call the ambulance and the police first. While waiting, exchange contact information with the other driver, but don’t worry if they refuse. You can grab this information from the police report. Let’s say that the other driver says that they don’t have car insurance. Tell the appropriate authorities since this isn’t legal in any of the 50 states.
Don’t Put off Medical Examinations
You must receive a medical examination as soon as possible if you think you suffered even a light injury. Don’t put off even a light one because this documentation will help you with insurance claims. If you wait, the other party’s insurance will claim that your injury came from another cause. That will stop you from receiving the most on your claim.
Get the Repair Estimate
At Elmer’s Auto Body, we encounter situations where a customer will send in photos of the damage, or they might request a consultation over the phone. You may want to take this one step further. We encourage our customers to bring their car into the shop. In doing this, we can give them a more accurate and thorough estimate.
When someone sends us a photo, they might miss a key repair that we need to bill them for. For example, we see a common scenario where technicians might look under the vehicle only to discover extensive damage that you didn’t see. That will tack on extra costs to your repair bill. If you already sent the quote to the insurance company, you would need to adjust it.
When we talk about car repairs and auto body work, remember how insurance will calculate with depreciation in mind. In other words, an older car won’t receive the same payment as a newer one. That’s because your insurance company will assume that some parts of the car suffered wear and tear before the accident.
Important to Note: You don’t ever have to accept the quote from an insurance company blindly. In some cases, you would do well to hire a lawyer and fight it. If you think that an insurance company is trying to pay out the least amount possible, explain why you think the costs will be higher. If you can’t settle it that way, hire a lawyer with documentation to fight the case.
The Next Step: Blueprint of the Vehicle
Next, your insurance company will request blueprinting and teardown of the vehicle. During this process, they will tear down the parts to thoroughly examine them and ensure that you don’t require further repairs. The auto body repair shop will create a blueprint to understand the full picture of the car’s condition.
Repair of the Metal and the Frame
After a car accident, auto body technicians first focus on the frame to repair the car back to its condition from the accident. However, it will never return to its original condition and auto body repairs will lower the value. Once they repair the frame, they will work on the metal of the car. They will replace metal panels where needed and use special equipment to bring the car back to its original condition.
How Does the Payment Work?
Most auto body repair shops understand the process well, and they will work directly with your insurance company to repair the vehicle. In some cases, you may need to pay a deductible, but this depends on the terms and conditions of your policy and how much coverage you bought. Most shops will only accept payment after they complete the work. You also want to understand the warranty policy. Solid warranties will cover the workmanship and the refinishing for as long as you own the car.
You Choose the Auto Body Repair Shop
Don’t let an insurance company tell you that you can’t pick your own auto body repair shop. While they may keep a list of preferred repair shops, you can choose whatever auto body repair shop that you prefer. Don’t let them steer you on this because they most likely just want to keep their own expenses as low as possible without regard for your well-being. Choose a quality auto body repair shop.
Google, “Auto body repair shop near me,” to check for businesses that could help you with your auto body work. You could also speak with our experts here at Elmer’s Auto Body. We are a family-owned and operated business that has done business in South Jersey for over 70 years. We seek to make auto body service easy, convenient, and fast. Give us a call now at (856) 218-0202.