UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Getting repairs done to your vehicle in the wake of an accident can be complicated and confusing, depending on your insurance provider. To minimize the headache involved with getting these repairs done, read below is find out what you should do following the event of an accident.
How to Go Through Your Insurance Company to Get Repairs Done to Your Car
- File an accident report with the police. Many times insurance companies won’t accept claims for extensive repairs unless police reports are filed.
- Exchange as much information with the other party in the accident as possible. This includes insurance information, contact information, and vehicle information.
- Write down and report on details of the accidents. Also, take pictures of the accident if possible, these will be vital in determining the extent of the repairs needed.
- Keep a written account of any conversations with the other party of the accident, police officers, and witnesses.
- Contact your insurance company immediately after dealing with everything needed at the scene of the accident.
Dealing with the Insurance Company and the Repair Shop
What generally needs to happen is that you need first to pay your insurance deductible and then the car insurance company will pay for the remaining cost of the repairs. For example, if the repair costs tally up to $1250 and your deductible is $500, you will pay $500 for these repairs and your insurance company will pay $750. This is why it is crucial to find a policy with low deductibles. Be careful, though; low deductible insurance policies often carry a higher premium (which is why it is important to shop around for insurance quotes and to choose a plan that is affordable to you).
If your insurance deductible is quite high, you might consider footing the bill yourself. There are many reasons for this:
- If your insurance deductible is less than the cost of repairs, it makes no sense to go through your insurance company. For example, if your deductible is $400 and you only have a slight dent on your bumper that will cost $350 to repair, you obviously should just pay the bill yourself. It would be more expensive and more of a headache to go through your insurance provider.
- Even if your deductible is less than the cost of repairs, you still might want to bite the bullet and pay for it yourself. The reason for this is that every insurance claim can cause your insurance premium to rise. Think of paying for repairs yourself as an investment. The value of doing so extends over time. As a policyholder, you are really under no obligation to use your insurance company to pay for the cost of repair. Always consider the long-term savings involved by paying for the bill yourself.
(Click here to read more about whether or not you should get your insurance company involved in an accident)
Often, your insurance company has a preferred repair shop or contractor that they will recommend you use for repairs. You are not obligated, however, to use this specific repair shop. You can shop around for repair quotes from other places. It is essential to look at other workshops not only because of price differences but also due to quality differences.
Repair Shop Horror Story
Consider the story of James Revzin, one of our long-time visitors here at 4autoinsurancequote.com. After his BMW M5 was severely damaged in an auto accident, he took his vehicle to one of his insurance provider’s recommended workshops for the repairs. His insurance company guaranteed quality service from this provider, so he naturally felt like he was in safe hands.
After the repair, he stood in front of his luxury vehicle in shock. “It looked like a completely different car,” he said “it no longer looked like my expensive sports car. The paint from the hood was chipped beyond repair, and for some reason, the vehicle had started to rust. They definitely didn’t take good care of it while it was in the repair shop.”
James’ insurance company apologized and allowed him to get complimentary repairs from a different auto body shop. Eventually, James got his vehicle back in like-new condition, but this was only after four months without his prized-possession and countless headaches.
After realizing something was wrong following the results of his first attempt at repairing his vehicle, James read reviews of the said repair shop on online-review sites and realized he should have done his research. “It’s almost as if the insurance company blindly recommended this repair shop to me,” he said, “tons of other people also had problems with this provider. It taught me the tough lesson that I should have done my research beforehand.”
Picking the Right Repair Shop
There are advantages to using your insurance company’s preferred provider, however. One big reason for doing so is that the repairs will most likely get done very quickly. Repair shops always love working with insurance companies because the money is pretty much guaranteed. Their checks never bounce, and they always pay on time. You also don’t need to negotiate price details because your insurance company will always foot the bill.
Remember, it is always beneficial to gather as much information as possible and to do your research. Although insurance companies and repair shops are usually not out there to give you trouble and make things difficult for you, there are some steps you can take to make sure your experience in getting repairs done is a stress-free one. Good luck!