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Claims Series: Do's and Don’ts of Auto Claim Estimates

2017 11 02 Say Blogphoto Claimsseries Dosanddontsofestimates

By Ryan Dedrick on November 2, 2017 in Claims

So you got into an accident and are making your way through the claims process. If you're about to start the "get an estimate" phase, we've got some tips of what to and what not to do. Let's dive in!

  • DO choose a body shop you feel comfortable with. Insurance companies are used to working with multiple shops. Sure, they may have preferred ones, but it's ultimately up to you to decide who you trust enough with your vehicle.
  • DO take pictures of your vehicle prior to any repairs. Having that extra documentation can come in handy when discussing repair options with your adjuster and can act as proof if there are any disputes about the damage later on.
  • DO try to get every estimate in writing with detailed explanations of what exactly will be repaired, which parts will be used and how long it will take. Not only does it make it easier to compare different estimates, the written estimate can also act as a contract to hold the body shop accountable.
  • DO know the difference between aftermarket parts and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Insurance companies and body shops may choose to use aftermarket parts (parts not made by your car's manufacturer) for their price quote in order to reduce costs. For the actual repairs, you can choose to use OEM parts, however, you may be responsible for the difference in cost. Be sure to discuss your options with your adjuster.
  • DO review your insurance policy and understand what each coverage entails. You don't want to bring your vehicle in for a hail damage repair and realize you don't have Comprehensive coverage, or forget that Comprehensive coverage means you have to pay a deductible.
  • DON'T let the body shop start repairs until your adjuster signs off on them. If for some reason the insurance company didn't agree with the estimate, you may be stuck paying a lot more than anticipated.
  • DON'T be surprised or disheartened if extra damage is found during the repair process. Sometimes those things just happen. Your adjuster should be able to work with the body shop to figure out any additional payments.

Need to file a claim with Say? Call 1-800-225-5729 or log into your My Say account and click "claims" in the top navigation.

Next in our Claims Series: Total Loss vs. Repairable Claim

Missed the first post in our series? Check out our answers to should I file an auto insurance claim.

Ryan Dedrick is a Manager in Home Office Claims. He is responsible for our PIP and Medical Payments Claims Department and also our Subrogation and Arbitration Department. Ryan has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Columbia College. He has spent the majority of his career working in Claims and enjoys it most because he has the opportunity to help people get back to normal during their time of need.