Auto Insurance Collision Repair and You – What You Need to Know

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We have made the process of filing an auto insurance claim or repairing your vehicle simple.

It is not something anyone needs or wants during their day. It can be stressful and intimidating to have to deal with an insurance company’s claim process or a repair facility. Knowing the facts can make it difficult to make the right decision when filing an insurance claim. Although you may believe that your insurance company wants to assist you, the fact is that they don’t want to spend money or time fixing your car.

They have one goal when they are required to process your claim. That is, get it done as cheaply as possible. Their main concern is not your best interest. Insurance companies have two main focuses. One is to take as much money as possible, and the other is to make sure they keep as much as possible. Over 100 years of experience in the insurance industry, they have come up with some clever ways to achieve this.

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I am a licensed collision repair and auto body facility. This is also for education purposes to best serve my customers. I attended school to study insurance, and was licensed as an adjuster/producer. When lightning struck my shop and set it on fire, I decided to pursue this career. My agent was not able to help me and the assigned adjuster could only say “NO”. He denied everything I requested, even though he knew that I was entitled for the reimbursement of my loss. The process of completing the claim took over a year. By the end, all the “no’s”, had turned into “yeses”. This was a further example of how the insurance industry thinks during the course of a claim.

Insurers can save money by using aftermarket parts. If you are in an accident, most insurance companies will use these parts. They don’t need to tell you. In most states, they just need to write the part in the estimate. You as the customer should then locate it in the stack of paper and read it. CAPA.org is an insurance company that certifies Taiwan parts for your vehicle. This article ends with a link to the manufacturers of parts that insurance companies use for your vehicle’s replacement parts. You can view their majority from Taiwan. Some insurers offer a policy option that allows them to use OEM parts. However, they don’t tell anyone about it and then use it to justify using AM parts for the repair. My opinion is that the law should offer the consumer verbally the option to use OEM components at policy inception. The consumer should have the right to decide 100% of the time what goes on the car.

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Here are some things that can happen during a restoration process.

1. If your vehicle is not driveable, have it tow. Your insurance company will pay to tow your car to a storage facility and then to the collision shop. These tows are covered by your insurance. The collision repair shop will pay for the tows once the vehicle arrives at the shop. A small number of insurance companies may require you to pay for tows. They will reimburse you for those costs.

2. You can choose a shop to repair your vehicle. You have the legal right to choose which shop will repair your vehicle. The Insurance company can’t force or pressure you to visit one of their shops for repairs. They save millions of money by clearing claims at these claim clearing houses, so they will do whatever they can to get your permission to take you to one of their repair shops. (See direct repair below).

3. Make a claim to your insurance company. Make sure to have the “At The Accident Scene” information. This information will be required by the claim rep. You may decide not to file a claim if the damage is less than your deductible, or your at-fault accident could cause your rates to rise higher than the cost to repair. You may have to pay higher rates and/or get your policy cancelled at times. If you have broad collision coverage, your deductible will be waived if the fault is less than 50%. All deductibles apply if you have standard collision. The claims rep will want to know where the accident occurred, what time it was and when it was done.

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This is called a “proof or loss statement” and you have 60 days to file one with your insurance company. Otherwise, they may deny your claim. If your car is not already at a repair shop, the claim representative will ask you to choose where to take it. It is your legal right to choose where to take your vehicle. Sometimes, claim reps will try to convince you to visit their DRP shops. They will state that they cannot guarantee the work of any other shop than their DRP shop. This is because there is a law that says that if they send customers to their DRP stores to save money, they must warrant that shop’s work. Insurers attempted to group cars at DRP shops as cheaply as possible in the past, but didn’t want the responsibility for any poor repairs. The government forced them to accept liability. DRP has not changed in its purpose. It’s about making money for an insurer. All shops that have a State license and are covered by liability insurance will be able to provide quality repairs. Insurers may claim that you are responsible for additional costs if your shop is not preferred. This is false. You will only be responsible if they agree to the quote.

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4. Collision Repair Procedure. After you have chosen a shop, you can call them to have your vehicle released and to have it tow to the shop. The shop will add the cost of storage and towing to your claim. If you have the coverage, you will be able to rent your car. If you don’t own another vehicle, renting rental coverage can be a great idea. If you have no coverage on your vehicle, your insurance company will cover it for you. You can borrow a car from your friend if it is in good condition and not damaged. They will also cover any rental cars that you rent during the same period.

A collision shop that is either a direct repair or preferred shop has an agreement with an insurance company. The contract details the labor rates, parts to be used (aftermarket Chinese parts), procedures to be followed and what percentage discount will be given on parts and materials. DRP stands for cut rate claims processing centres. DRP shops typically have two pricing structures. One is for the insurance company, and one is for the general public.

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Selecting a Quality Repair shop: A shop that has been in operation for a long time and is insured with liability insurance, as well as a clean record at the State Bureau of Automotive Regulations, would be a good choice. DRP preferred shops are those that put the insurance company and the customer first. They will continue to work with the insurance company on all other claims even after you have left. Because they will tell you as little as possible about your claim, you will be no wiser after you leave. DRP shops must process twice as many claims for the same profit than non DRP shops. DRP allows the insurance company to control the entire repair process. However, quality repair facilities will bring all parties together with their knowledge, experience, and education.