What they do not always tell you
Use Any Body Shop
Do I have the right to select the shop that will repair my car?
Yes. In order to expedite your claim, select the repair shop; leave your automobile there; and notify your insurance agent or company. This applies regardless of whether your vehicle is leased, financed or you own it outright.
Do I need to get three estimates?
No. You do not have to obtain more than one estimate. You only need one estimate, from the shop of your choice.
All insurance companies owe to return your damaged vehicle to pre-loss condition as related to appearance, function and value.
You are not required to bring your vehicle to the insurance company. If they intend to see the damage, they must come to you. You may also leave the vehicle at the repair shop. The insurer has 6 business days after you report a loss to them within which to inspect the vehicle, or they forfeit their rights to see the damage.
If you are offered a check, take it! Do not sign any releases; you are not required to sign under any law. If you deposit the check, write upon it, "Open for additional damage, all rights reserved".
You do not have to drive a damaged vehicle if any safety item is affected. You can be ticketed for driving an unsafe vehicle. Towing is an expense covered under all insurance claims. You are entitled to two tows per loss. The first tow is allowed to safely secure the vehicle from further loss; the second tow, to a repair shop of your choice.
You do not have to accept non-original or counterfeit parts to repair your vehicle; remember the buzzwords here: "Pre-loss condition and value".
Remember, a collision shop that's on an "Insurer's program or list" got there because they cut a deal for cheapest parts and obeys insurer cost-cutting directives. These "deals" may not be in your best interests.
Do not get an estimate from a shop you would not let repair your vehicle.
It is your right to consult an attorney at any time throughout a claim. You may have additional rights that he/she may advise you on. You have the right to access all the provisions of your policy that apply to your loss.
Insurance companies cannot force us to use imitation parts.
Make sure only Original Equipment Manufacturers parts are used in the repair of your vehicle. Imitation parts are not always as good as the original, and we believe our customers should be assured of a top quality repair. After all, you pay premiums month after month just to have the assurance that your car will always be protected. Using sub standard parts can put the condition of the car in jeopardy.
What is Diminished Value?
Diminished value is the loss in a vehicle's market value due to accident damage and repair.
Three things affect diminished value:
Inherent diminished value: the automatic loss in vehicle market value from an accident.
Repair-related diminished value: loss in vehicle market value due to substandard-quality repairs.
Insurance-related diminished value: loss in vehicle market value due to insurance claims practices.
Who is Entitled to Diminished Value?
You are--if your vehicle has been in an accident, you have lost money. This loss is owed to you for up to two years after your loss.
Who Pays Diminished Value?
Either your insurance company or the person responsible for the accident and their insurance company. You are owed compensation for diminished value by law even if your vehicle has been repaired correctly.
Common Pitfalls To Watch Out For
Based on our experience, we have identified some common pitfalls many consumers face when having their vehicle repaired. More pitfalls will be added on a regular basis.
Most people have little or no idea what their insurance policy really says. They think they have "full coverage" and "their insurance company will take care of everything". They come to us to have their vehicle repaired and are shocked to find out they don't have rental car coverage. Then, after checking further, they discover the policy gives their insurance company permission to use NON-FACTORY parts. You'll want to avoid this pitfall.
We encourage you to get that policy out and read it until you know what you pay for every time you make your payment. Call your agent and have him or her review it with you. Feel free to contact us with your questions. There's a real good chance we've seen your insurance company in action. There are many solid insurance companies and agents out there with excellent products. Make sure you really have the "full coverage" you think you have.
Most people are not prepared to make decisions they're forced to make when their vehicle is damaged. We have people call us and say: "I just wrecked my car. What do I have to do to get it fixed"? If you have avoided pitfall number one, some of these decisions will be easy to make. Other decisions can be thought through in advance. Sit down with your spouse, a close friend, your agent, etc., and ask: "If I was involved In a collision, what would be some of the decisions I might need to make, and how would I make them?"
Please feel free to contact one of our claims centers or e-mail us with any questions you have so you will be better prepared. We'll be glad to answer them and help you avoid this pitfall.
You have just been involved In an accident. You have avoided pitfalls 1 and 2. The next pitfall to avoid is thinking "since the insurance company is 'paying the bill' they should make the decisions". People forget it's their money the insurance company is using to pay for the repairs. They faithfully make their premium payments counting on the insurance company to be there for them. And then, they want to tell you how you spend it. It's your money, it's your car. You make the decisions.
Again, know what your policy really says. Make sure you haven't signed anything that limits the decisions you need to make in order to protect the investment you've made in your vehicle. Contact us if you would like to know which Insurance companies let you make decisions and which ones think they should decide for you.
6177 State Highway 12 Norwich, NY 13815-2504
Phone: (607) 336-7434
Chenango County's Collision Experts!
Proudly Serving Chenango County and Central, NY for over 25 years!
The right place for; Estimates, Vehicle Repair and Alignment, Body Repair and Auto Painting