Dealing with the stress of a collision is hard enough without trying to figure out how your accident insurance works. Here are some answers to frequently-asked questions about insurance policies:
Q: Will the insurance company guarantee your work?
A: We guarantee our own work, but the insurance company does not have the legal right to guarantee a third party’s work.
Q: Who pays for repairs?
A: It depends on the circumstances. If you were at fault, but have comprehensive or collision insurance, the insurance company would pay the costs minus your deductible. If the other party was at fault, their insurance company should pay.
Q: Do I have to accept the insurance company’s appraisal of damage?
A: No. Check the “Appraisal Clause” in your policy if you have differences with their appraisal. It allows you and the insurance company to gather an opinion from an appraiser you both agree upon, or a third-party “Umpire” if you cannot agree.
Q: Do I have the right to a rental car?
A: If you have purchased rental car coverage and were not responsible for the accident, you may seek reimbursement from the insurance company or, if another driver was responsible for the accident, their insurance company.
If you do not have rental car coverage and were responsible for the accident, you have no grounds to ask for reimbursement. If the other driver was liable, you can generally seek reimbursement from their insurance company.
Collision Repair Questions
Q: Can you match the paint?
A: Yes, provided that your vehicle is an original factory color that is not faded or discolored. The following is a brief description of how paint matching works:
Your vehicle carries a paint code printed on a label on your vehicle. This code is broken down into a formula given to automotive paint manufacturers. A repair shop uses the formula to mix the color within their chosen brand of paint. This works fine if your vehicle is precisely the color specified by the paint code. However, in actual production there are often slight variations in color.
If your vehicle is not the exact shade specified by the factory, the first step is “tinting” the color. This is done by varying the amount of the toners used to make up the original formula. Sometimes, a perfect match can’t be achieved by tinting alone. In these cases, “blending” may be required. This is a process where portions of the vehicle adjacent to the repaired area are gradually misted with the tinted paint so that any minor color variance is unnoticeable. This can make the difference between a very good color match and an invisible repair.
Q: Who is the Insured and who is the claimant?
A: If you’re using your insurance company to pay for repairs to your car, then you are the “insured” and the terms of your policy apply. When another person’s insurance is responsible to pay for repairs to your car, then you’re the “claimant.”
Q: What if my frame is bent?
A: Frame damage is a very common occurrence in an accident. The problem isn’t so much the damage but rather the techniques utilized for repair. We use computerized measuring systems that contain a database for all vehicles commonly sold in the USA. This equipment is used in conjunction with “state of the art” pulling and anchoring equipment. The end result is a vehicle returned to factory specs that will track straight and true.
Q: If my vehicle’s frame is damaged, is it a total loss?
A: No. A car is a total loss only when the price of repairs exceeds the insurance company’s determined value of your vehicle. Most cars these days are built using uni-body (frame and body as one) construction. Our highly skilled technicians with the aid of our state-of-the-art measuring system can return your vehicle to its original factory specifications. If it is determined that the frame section is bent beyond repair, that section can simply be replaced.
Q: Who determines if my car is a total loss?
A: Typically, if the cost to repair your car exceeds 75% of its market value before it was damaged, then it’s considered a total loss by most insurance companies. Insurance policies contain clauses that limit them from paying more than your car is worth. The insurance company makes the determination if your car is a total loss based on repair costs, salvage value and pre-loss market value.
Q: Can I keep my car and have it repaired even if my insurance company has deemed it a total loss?
A: Yes, in some cases, this may make sense and serve your needs. Our service representatives will give you the necessary information to see if this is a viable option.
Q: What if I get my car back and something isn’t fixed correctly?
A: Contact your auto body repair shop immediately! We also know that latent undetected problems can develop after the repair work is done. Either way, we want to get it fixed as soon as possible!