Collision Repair, Rental Car and Car Insurance after an Accident
If you have recently been in an accident, you will soon realize there are a lot of pieces involved in auto body repair. Who is responsible for what and who is going to pay for the different charges? Read on to learn each company’s role in the collision repair process and find answers to common insured’s or claimant’s questions.
If the person responsible for the accident is not paying out of pocket, reach out to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You will report the accident, answer a variety of questions, and be issued a claim number. This does not mean the insurance company has accepted liability. Once liability has been accepted and you have a claim number the repair process can begin.
Who pays for the car rental while my vehicle is repaired? The insurance company may pay for rental car costs. If it is your insurance company it will depend if you elected to purchase rental reimbursement. (In my opinion, it is always worth the small cost to add this coverage to your policy.) If you do not have rental car reimbursement then you will have to pay out of pocket for a rental car. If you are not at-fault a rental car should be covered by the insurance company. Notify the adjuster that you will need a rental car. Remember if you upgrade at the rental car agency or add on optional coverages you will be responsible for the difference.
What is the role of the insurance adjuster? The insurance company may dispatch an adjuster. The adjuster will approve/deny aspects of the collision repair. Any additional damage found during disassembly will also need to be approved by the adjuster. Keep your adjuster’s name and phone number handy for questions regarding coverages, including vehicle and rental car.
COLLISION REPAIR FACILITY
The auto body shop’s role is to repair the vehicle. A reputable and professional collision repair center will happily answer any questions related to collision damage or the repair. Collision repair facilities will send supplements (damage not listed on the original estimate) and stay in contact with the insurance company and part vendors. Collision repair centers have no control over what the insurance company will approve or the speed of the approvals.
Will all parts or repairs be covered by insurance? Many times what is covered or not covered goes back to wording in the insurance policy and whether or not the part or damage in question is actually related to this specific collision claim. Again, approvals must come from the insurance company unless the customer is willing to pay out of pocket for the denied part or collision repair.
RENTAL CAR COMPANY
The rental car company will be contacted by whoever is setting up the reservation and responsible for the bill. This may include the at-fault driver or the insurance company. Collision repair facilities are rarely involved with rental car charges or any rental issues.
The insurance company approved a rental for only three days, and my car is still in the auto body shop. What do I do? At the beginning of the claim, the insurance company is well-intentioned in hopes of keeping costs down and repairs short. The reality is when exterior panels are removed additional damage may be found, therefore extending the repair. This also happens, when vehicles are diagnostic scanned and may require recalibration or other repairs involving vehicle technology. In this case the auto body shop and insurance company will communicate. Providing repairs are necessary, the insurance company will most likely extend the rental car coverage. Policy limits will also be considered.
I don’t have rental car coverage on my policy and I’m paying out of pocket. Can’t everybody just hurry up? Earlier in this blog, I mentioned I highly recommend adding rental reimbursement coverage to your policy. But, it may be too late now. You can ask the auto body shop if they use a specific rental car company regularly, that rental car agency may give you a discount. The insurance company, part vendors, and technicians need time to do their job properly.
Is rental car reimbursement worth the cost? Yes! When you drop off your vehicle, you need to be prepared for possible delays. Some insurance companies are small or understaffed, approvals are sometimes slow and can take 3-5 business days. Parts are another issue, sometimes they are on backorder or arrive damaged and must be reordered. Please know that the collision center is motivated to return your car to you because they are waiting for payment and want to make room for the next car in need of collision repair. The auto body repair process requires a lot of people working together to return your car to its pre-collision condition.
I had a problem with my rental car! Who can I call? Questions or comments about the condition of rental car, or bill should be directed directly with Hertz, Enterprise, etc.
Airpark Collision Center realizes auto body repair can be a stressful experience. Since 2006, we have made the process as stress free as possible and our reviews are evidence that we continue to meet that goal. With frequent customer and insurance company updates we make every effort to move your vehicle through the auto body repair process resulting in beautiful aesthetics and safe proper repairs. Please stop in for an estimate or click here!