Should I File a Car Insurance Claim for Auto Body Repair?
Many people involved in a car accident, ask themselves if it is worth filing an insurance claim. Maybe your vehicle has minor to medium damage and you are considering paying out of pocket. Below you will find answers to common car insurance and auto body repair questions that will help you make the right decision for you and your car.
Is it worth filing a claim? The first step is to obtain a few collision repair estimates. This will help you decide if it is worth paying your deductible and risking an increase in auto insurance premium. It is worth noting that different insurance companies have different thresholds and use those limits to decide if there will be a premium increase. For example, some insurance companies might not raise a premium if the amount paid out is less than $1,500. If you have an insurance agent, this would be a good time to get their input. I suggest having this conversation before calling the 800 claims number or asking your agent to file a claim for you. Remember an agent, wants to keep your business and if your premium goes up they risk losing you as a customer.
Should I choose the insurance company’s preferred auto body shop? Once you have filed a claim, the insurance representative will advise you that you can use any of their preferred auto body shops. Remember, you have the choice of any auto body shop you would like to use. Legally, they can only suggest an auto body shop. They may hard steer you, often scaring you by saying they will guarantee your auto body repairs only if you choose one of their shops. Insurance companies do not guarantee repairs, auto body shops do. Most reputable collision repair facilities have a lifetime labor warranty for as long as you own the vehicle. Make sure to do your homework before committing to a collision repair center. Look at reviews and how long they have been in business.
In addition, take a moment to consider why they are hard steering you to one of their “preferred” auto body repair shops. I’m guessing, you probably have a different concern about your vehicle’s repair. If you are making an insurance claim, you’re interested in a quality repair not a cost-effective repair. One of the best things you can do to ensure a proper and safe repair is to check what other consumers are saying on various review platforms. Good reviews found on Facebook are not enough to make an informed decision.
How do I file a claim after a car accident? File a claim by calling the insurance company’s claim phone number or downloading their app. Some people think their agent can file a claim for them, this is not completely true. You can ask your agent to file a claim, but really all they are doing is opening up a claim. The claims adjuster will have to hear directly from you and will need answers and specifics of the car accident.
Will the insurance still pay for my car repair if it’s my fault? The insurance company will pay for your auto body repairs if it’s your fault and you have comprehensive and/or collision coverage. Depending on the details of the accident they will decide if you have coverage and inform you of your deductible.
Can you cash an auto insurance check? You can cash an auto insurance check if it is your name only on the check. However, sometimes the insurance company will send a two-party check with both your name and the auto body shop’s name. In this case, simply sign the check and bring it to the collision repair center to apply to your repair bill. If you cash a check in your name only, be prepared to pay that exact amount to the collision repair shop. Their office will verify what payments were sent to you and expect the exact amount before releasing the vehicle. 99% of the time the cost of repair is more than the original check.
What is a collision deductible? A collision deductible is the amount you pay to the auto body shop. The balance of the repair cost will be paid by the insurance company. For example, if the cost of collision repairs is $2,000 and you have a $500 deductible, the insurance company will only pay $1,500.
It is important when choosing a car insurance policy that you choose a deductible that you can afford. Many times, a customer chooses a $1,000 deductible to have a lower premium and when an at-fault accident occurs they can’t afford the $1,000 deductible. This leads to the customer calling all over town, looking for a body shop that waives deductibles. Waiving deductibles is a whole other subject but I will quickly tell you that collision repair shops in a safe part of town, with good technicians and a track record of quality repairs, do not partake in gimmicks.
Do all insurance companies provide a rental car? A rental car paid by an insurance company depends on a few things. If you are not at-fault the insurance company should provide you with a rental car. If you are at-fault and making a claim on your own insurance policy, it will depend if you elected to purchase that particular coverage.
At this point, it may be too late, but I would recommend always adding rental reimbursement to you car insurance policy. The cost is very affordable and not worth the stress of not having access to a car to get to work or go about your daily business. If you are paying out of pocket for a rental, please understand out of respect for all customers, the auto body shop may not be able to prioritize your vehicle. In addition, repairs take time, sometimes parts are on backorder or the insurance company is slow to approve damage that was not on the original estimate. If you don’t have rental reimbursement, ask the collision repair shop if they have access to any discounts with rental car companies.
Questions about car insurance claims and auto body repairs can be confusing. Choosing the right auto body shop from the start will help make the auto body repair process easier to navigate. Airpark Collision Center works with every insurance company but our priority is customer service and safe, proper repairs. Since opening in 2006, we have a history of happy customers, master technicians, and utilizing the latest equipment to return each vehicle to pre-accident condition. Please stop in or click here for a quick estimate!