By Madeline Klein
First thing’s first. Take a moment to calm your nerves before you start your claim. It may take a few minutes to recover from the initial shock of getting into an accident, and that’s ok. Next, you will likely need to bring your car to a body shop for repair.
It’s important to know you have the right to choose the repair shop that fixes your vehicle, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
“What repairs will you need to do?”
Sometimes, appearances can be deceiving. You may tell the mechanic you need a replacement bumper, but once they examine the car, they might find other parts internally that need replaced. Or, you may experience a more positive situation, where you assume you know what needs fixing or assume the worst and they surprise you with a less intense plan of repair.
“Will you provide an itemized estimate?”
Receiving an itemized estimate will help answer the question above. What needs fixing? How much is each part? How much labor will be required to install these replacement parts?
Who doesn’t want this to be explained for them? Car expert or not, this can definitely make the repairs more digestible.
“Is there a warranty with your auto repair work?”
One of the biggest reasons to pay the repair shop directly, rather than have your insurance company pay them, is that with the money in hand you have the power to dispute imperfect repairs when you pick up your vehicle. This ties in with the warranty because you will then know how long you have to make sure they make it right! Let’s be honest, we’ve all had warranties on things we’ve completely forgotten about, but consciously remembering the warranty of a car repair work can help if issues arise.
“How long will the repair take?”
Repairs can last from one day to (what feels like) a million days, we know this is the ultimate STRUGGLE with dropping off your vehicle. Usually, the shop is able to give you a time frame that can help you with planning or renting a car.
“What parts will you be using, OEM or after-market?”
OEM, AKA Original Equipment Manufacturer parts, are preferred by some because they are built by the company that initially made your vehicle. These parts can be more expensive, so be sure to confirm with your insurance provider that your policy covers them. The positives for receiving these parts during a repair are that they usually come with a warranty and they have also been tested for success. Not all after-market parts have gone through the same testing!
Ultimately, it’s your decision. We just want to make sure you don’t get bamboozled by a repair shop trying to save a few dollars!
“What coverage does my car have while it’s in your shop?”
From Business Auto Insurance to Garage Keepers Insurance, the shop should handle the coverage for your vehicle while it is in their possession. Be sure to check on this. If nothing else, this gives you the peace of mind that your baby is safe when you leave the shop!
These questions are just a start, but hopefully, they help you understand when the mechanic starts throwing around auto repair jargon like “OEM parts” and “itemized estimate”. Keep your eye on the prize (getting your vehicle back completely fixed) and ask away!
Have more insurance-related questions? Check out our other blogs!
Posted February 27, 2020 in Insurance Know-How.