What You Need to Know to Repair Auto Accident Damage
A car accident can be scary and stressful. Even when you and everyone in your car are ok, there is often still damage to the car. It may be confusing to know which steps you should take to protect yourself and ensure that your vehicle is fixed properly. Your insurance company may not always give you complete information. You should understand your rights and all the steps you should take when you need to repair auto accident damage.
Seek Medical Attention
It is common that you may be shaken or in a daze after auto accidents. They can be traumatic, even when no one is injured. Therefore, it is important that the first step you take is to get yourself out of harm’s way. If you are able, move out of traffic and get safely to the side of the road or an embankment. You should also be aware if you will need car removal or if you can move your car yourself. Once you have gotten yourself to safety, you should contact the police. In many states, regardless of the severity of the accident, you must contact the police.
When they arrive on the scene, they will talk to you, the other people involved in the accident, and any witnesses to understand what occurred. They use this information to create a police report. This information is shared with your insurance company. If the police are not able to get to the accident scene, you can file a police report at your local police station. After all of this, you can begin to think about how to repair auto accident damage that has occurred to your vehicle.
Keep Clear Documentation
Before you begin to think about auto repair, you want to ensure you have all the facts of the accident documented. It is easy for memories to get fuzzy. Not only your memory but the memory of others at the scene. For this reason, pictures are completely important. You want to take as many pictures of the scene of the accident as possible. You want to get every angle and include every vehicle. This can help paint a picture of what occurred. You want to document all of the vehicles that were in the accident. You should write down as much information about them as possible, including the color of the cars, the model, the make, and any distinguishing characteristics of the vehicle.
It would be best if you were sure to document the weather and road conditions at the time of the accident. You may want to document the weather from earlier in the day because that could matter. For example, if it was raining heavily an hour before the accident, but the shine was shining when the collision occurred, this is important information. Likewise, it would be best if you documented the road conditions, including the lighting in the area. If there are items that may have been a factor in causing the accident, you should document them. All of these items are helpful when considering how to repair auto accident damage.
Contact Your Insurance Company
When you have been in a car accident and want to focus on how to repair auto accident damage, you must consider contacting your insurance company. Some people chose to contact their auto insurance company while standing at the scene of the accident. If you want to start a claim with your insurance company, you should contact them as soon as possible. They can guide you on the next steps you should take. Your insurance company can also give you an idea of what you can expect.
When you file an insurance claim, you are asking for compensation for the damages sustained during the accident. Your insurance company is going to need some basic information from you. If you have more than one vehicle insured with them, they will need to know which vehicle was in the accident and who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. It would be best if you were prepared to tell them the location and rough estimate of the time of the accident, along with some basic details of what happened. They will also want to know the name and insurance companies of the other drivers that were involved in the accident. If you have witnesses, you should provide their names and contact information. You will get a claim number. You want to write down the name and contact information of the person with whom you spoke. If they do not tell you the next step, be sure to ask.
You may not think it is that important to understand what insurance coverage you have. That may be true until you are in an accident and want to repair auto accident damage. Then, it becomes critical to understand your coverage and how the process works. One of the first things you should understand is if you live in a no-fault state. In no-fault states, you can only receive compensation to repair auto accident damage from your own insurance company, even when the accident was not your fault. When you live in a fault state, you can seek compensation for auto body repair from anyone that was at fault.
There are two types of coverage you may have under your car insurance. They are collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage pays for repairs to your vehicle when damaged in a collision. It could be with another vehicle or an object, like a building. It may also compensate for damage caused by potholes, single-car rollover, and accidents with objects on the road. Comprehensive coverage extends beyond the damage caused due to an accident or collision. This includes theft, falling objects, and natural disasters. When you have a loan on your vehicle, or it is a lease, you are required to have both types of insurance coverage. These types of coverage do not include damage to someone else’s vehicle or any medical bills, even if they are yours. You can get liability coverage which can help to pay for damage to property or medical injuries when you are at fault.
When you want to repair auto accident damage, you should get estimates. This process is going to take a little bit of time and possibly require a good amount of patience on your part. Most likely, the repairs and auto parts you need will be expensive, and you want to get the best price you can. While that is understandable, you want to avoid being lured in with the lowest price. You also want high-quality repair work, and you have to balance the cost with the quality. You also need to know if your vehicle can be repaired or if it is time to look at auto salvaging. It may be helpful to ask people you trust where they have taken their car for repairs. Hearing about someone else’s experience may help you find a reputable repair shop.
When your insurance company determines how much money they are willing to compensate for your car repairs, they also indicate the parts that can be used. They will state if aftermarket or original parts can be used. If possible, you always want original parts. Aftermarket parts are typically made by a different manufacturer and are intended to fit several different cars and not just your specific one.
Select an Accident Repair Shop
Most likely, when you want to repair auto accident damage, your insurance company will give you a list of preferred auto body collision repair business locations. There could be many reasons why they prefer these businesses. They could be easy to work with or could provide quality work. These businesses may also provide work for the lowest price. Even though they provide you with a list, you do not have to use any of the repair shops they give you. You are able to pick any shop you like. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that your insurance company is going to provide you with a certain amount of money for the repairs. If you select a shop that charges you more, most likely, you pay for that out of your own pocket.
When you make the selection for the repair shop to fix your car, there are some considerations you should make. First, you want to choose a place that provides free estimates quickly. You want to ensure their technicians are certified and that they offer some warranty on their repair work. Finally, you want to know that they have a solid control process in place. Once you select your repair shop and you have started the claims process, you do not need to do anything else. You do not have to be in the middle between your insurance company and the repair shop. Your insurance company has people that can handle the entire process from estimate to payment. They are much better equipped to navigate that process, and you should let them.
The Repair Process
When it comes to needing to repair auto accident damage, the repair process is most likely the most stressful part. You are without your car, and you have to trust that the repair shop is doing what it said it would. While every shop is different, you can expect a similar process no matter where you go. By the time you have gotten here, you should already have estimates, but it is important to know that it is just an initial estimate. It is always possible that the repair shop will find additional damage once they begin making repairs. The initial estimate gives you an idea of how much the repairs will cost. Next, the estimate must be approved by your insurance company. This could take some time as there may be some negotiation happening.
Once you take your car in for repairs, the shop will take it apart. From here, they will create a list of all the repairs that need to occur. Some additional repairs could be needed, which are often found during this step. Depending on the size of the shop, they may have all the parts they need to do the work. In many cases, they will have to order the part. The insurance company may play a role in this step as they want to find the best parts for the best price. The shop will handle all of the mechanical and structural repairs. Then your vehicle must be painted and reassembled. Your car is often cleaned and vacuumed before it is returned to you.
Checking for Additional Damage
As mentioned, when having repair auto accident damage occurs, it is possible that additional damage might be found. The auto repair company is obligated to contact your insurance company to let them know about the additional needed repairs. The insurance company must approve them. They do not have to notify you when they find additional damage. It is, however, nice to know. You can request that the auto body shop contact you to inform you of additional damage. This saves you from being surprised when you pick up your car. The extra work may cause the repair process to take longer. The additional damage could be anything from a new car muffler to having to contact local car electronics for work on your stereo system.
While a car accident can create a stressful situation, understanding that process can be easier. If you are aware of what you can expect next, it eliminates the surprises that can cause additional worry. You want to contact your insurance company early and stay in touch with them for updates. Most of all, you want your car fixed quickly and with the highest quality parts. Keep these steps in mind to make the process a little easier.