After an Accident
Being involved in an accident is a terrible experience. That’s where we come in. We want to turn this terrible beginning into a pleasant ending. You get the information needed & we will take care of you & your vehicle.
You need to get all of the information that you can. If the police are at the scene, you need to make sure you get the police report; this can be very important information down the road. If the police are not at the scene, you need to get the information from the other party involved. Name, address, phone number, license plate number& most importantly, the name of the Insurance Company listed on their registration. Be sure to get this information even if the police are at the scene.
Now that you have taken the first step, the next step is to call your Insurance Company to report the claim. They will tell you that either a staff Appraiser will come out to write an estimate or they will send you to a drive in at an independent Appraisal service. Either way, the Insurance Company will have to write the estimate. Your agent will sometimes tell you that you need to get 3 to 4 estimates from body shops. This is not true. The Insurance Company has to write their own estimate. The only time a body shop estimate is used for an Insurance claim is when a self insured company is at fault in the accident & request’s an estimate from multiple body shops.
When your vehicle is not drivable after an accident and needs to be towed, remember, you have the right to have it towed to the registered shop of your choice. Insurance Companies cannot refuse to fix your car if it is at a registered shop.
Once your vehicle is here, we will need the registered owner of the vehicle to come in and sign some paperwork. The first sets of forms are the “direction to pay” or DTP forms. This will allow the Insurance Company to pay our shop directly and you will avoid having to send your check out to the bank for them to endorse it, which can sometimes delay you in getting your vehicle back. (If you have a loan on your vehicle, the bank will make the check out to you and them). The bank is also known as the “lien holder”.
The next form is the “authorization to repair” form. This form gives us the authorization to repair your vehicle as well as negotiate with the Insurance Company to do whatever repairs are necessary to get you vehicle back to pre accident condition.
The last form explains deductibles and betterments.
• Deductibles are taken by the Insurance Companies when either you are at fault for the accident or when the they have no one to go after for the deductible like in the case of a hit and run or vandalism. The Appraiser writes the estimate and then subtracts the deductible from the total amount. When you pick up your vehicle when it is done, you will owe the deductible to us.
• Betterments are something most people don’t know about because it is not written in your policy or any other literature you receive from your Insurance Company. A betterment is like pro rating a battery. The Insurance Company says they are putting on a part that is newer than what was on the vehicle before the accident therefore they are making you pay a portion of that part. Betterments are taken on what the insurance calls wearable parts such as exhaust, some parts of suspension, tires, batteries, etc. Beware, they can also take a betterment on a sheet metal part if there was damage to that part prior to the accident or even take a betterment on the refinish (paint) time for the same reason. We have no control of these situations but we make sure to make you aware as soon as we find out.
We will keep you informed as to how your vehicle is doing throughout the process. Depending upon the amount of damage to your vehicle, the length of time it is here will vary. We try to keep in contact with you, the customer every 3 to 4 days. On the day your vehicle is to be completed, you will get a phone call mid to late morning. This phone call will be to inform you that your vehicle will be done at a certain time that day, as well as to give you the total amount due when you pick up, if any. When you arrive to pick up your vehicle, you should see it gleaming out in front of the building.
Thank you for choosing Rick’s Auto Body