Whether your bumper was dented by a hit and run driver, or you were in a head-on collision with another car, once the dust has cleared and any injuries are on the mend, what you need most is some sound advice on your vehicle repair rights.
Your Right to the Best Body Shop
First off, you need to know that while the insurance adjuster handling your claim is there to help, they may not tell you everything up front. Ultimately, their job is to get your car fixed in whatever way will save the insurance company the most money. Often, they will urge you to have your car fixed at a “pre-approved” body shop on their “preferred list.” And of course, this sounds good—especially when your insurance adjuster tells you the repairs will be guaranteed.
What they don’t tell you is that the relationship between the body shop and the insurance company is a money-saving agreement that frequently leads to low quality repairs that don’t look as good as they should (best case scenario) and/or are not as structurally sound as they should be for your comfort, control, and safety (worst case scenario).
The good news is that it’s illegal for an insurance company to require or pressure you into using one of their pre-approved or preferred auto shops. You have the right to choose the shop that feels right to you—a shop with the right kind of facility and equipment, and technicians with the right kind of training to get the job done to your satisfaction. You can go with the insurance company’s pick, but first visit in person and talk to the manager. Ask questions and find out if you can be confident that the shop will be looking after your needs, and not the insurance company’s bottom line. And wherever you go, make sure the shop will back up their work with a quality guarantee or warranty.
Your First Party Vehicle Claims Rights
If the collision was your fault, most insurance policies will cover all the repairs (minus your deductible) needed to return your vehicle to the same level of safety, function, and appearance that it had before the accident. Georgia residents will also receive a diminished value payment to cover the change in your vehicle’s value due to the change in accident history and previous damage.
Your Third Party Vehicle Claims Rights
If you were not at fault in the accident, you are entitled to everything listed above, plus a rental car to use while the repairs are being done (sometimes you can get this even if the accident was your fault, but you need to have opted for rental coverage in your policy). You are also entitled to repayment of any additional expenses such as the mileage and time you spend getting repair estimates and dealing with the insurance company. You should also get reimbursed for the value of any damaged property that was in the car at the time of the collision, such as car seats, sunglasses, I-phones, and so on.
Classic Collision Center is here to help you through this process. Come for a free, no-commitment estimate and make up your own mind about the best place to have your vehicle returned to its pre-accident condition.
If you choose us, we will make sure you know what’s happening every step of the way, and we will always consult you before moving forward on any repairs. We will also give you a lifetime guarantee on our work. We can do this because we know we are the best, and we want to inspire lifetime loyalty in our customers.
Jon & Leigh Owen