This page is an informative page offering facts on the auto body trade as well as insurance.
Calm down. It’s very difficult not to get worked up, especially after someone hits you. By not panicking, you won’t forget to do the obvious things…Check all passengers, make sure no one is injured. Call 911 immediately to report the incident. Get the other person(s) insurance and contact information. Record the license plate number and a description of all vehicles involved. If there are any witnesses, get their contact information as well. Try to get any witnesses to stay at least until the local law enforcement officer arrives on scene. Remember not to admit fault to ANYONE until after you have talked with your insurance company and they have advised you on your next step. If you are involved in a hit and run, try and get the vehicle description and license plate number, so that you can give it to your local law enforcement officer.
If you are at fault. Your insurance company will pay for the damages of the other vehicle(s) involved in the accident, up to your policy limits. If you have collision coverage on your policy, you can file a claim for the damages to your vehicle, but you will be responsible for the deductible or co-pay that is on your policy. If you have rental coverage on your policy, your insurance company will provide you a vehicle through Enterprise, Avis, Hertz, or any other reputable rental vehicle company. If you do not have rental coverage, our facility has a limited supply of rental vehicles that are available at a low cost.
If you are NOT at fault. In most cases, and depending upon the other person’s insurance company, you will wish to file a claim through their policy. This means that their insurance company will pay for any damages on your vehicle related to the accident, and MUST provide you with a rental vehicle for the entire time that your vehicle is being repaired.
Now, you have to choose where you will have your vehicle repaired. If you are visiting this website, we hope the answer is quite obvious. The insurance company will usually recommend repair facilities that are "Direct Repair Facilities" for them, but they CANNOT, under any circumstance, require you to go to a specific facility to have repairs made.
If you choose a repair facility, the insurance company has to decide if they will accept the estimate from the repair facility you have chosen, or if they will send out an adjuster to look at your vehicle for them. If the insurance company writes the estimate, get a copy of that estimate, and take it to your repair facility. The insurance company will usually write a lower estimate than that of a repair facility. This is a common occurrence, but not one you should be concerned about. Our facility will match the original insurance estimate, and then contact them if there are any additional items that need to be repaired. That’s all there is to it! Now, after you have schedule the repairs for your vehicle, you’ve gone through the hardest part of the process!
Unfortunately, collision repair is not an exact science. Repair times will vary from vehicle to vehicle, and to make it harder, there are several things that can delay repairs: Parts delays, insurance company reinspections, authorization delays, etc. If you vehicle is required to have frame repairs made, there may be a delay getting one vehicle in front of your vehicle off a frame system. We ask our customers to keep in mind that we have over twenty vehicles in our facility at any given time being repaired. Any delay for one vehicle can unfortunately affect another. While we do everything we can to prevent delays in the repairs, there will always be exceptions to the rule. The general rule of thumb for determining the AVERAGE repair time is to take the total labor hours (body, refinish, frame, mechanical, etc.) and divide that by 4. That is usually a good indicator as to how many days it will take to repair the vehicle.
This is a very hot topic of debate right now. The basic idea of diminished value, as defined by the consumer, is that a car’s value inherently diminishes after it’s been in an accident, regardless of the quality of the repair. However, insurance companies contend that if a vehicle is repaired properly, then it has been restored to "pre-loss condition" and does not have a diminution in value. Currently, there are no known government regulations regarding this topic, and as such, it is ultimately left to the insurance company to decide on whether they will provide a monetary compensation for the supposed loss of value.
Please understand that this topic only applies to a third-party or "claimant" on an insurance claim. In other words, if you were involved in an accident, AND the other person was at fault, AND you have filed a claim through their insurance policy, then diminished value is something you can discuss with an insurance company. As with all conversations you have with an insurance company and/or their representative, we recommend talking with them instead of talking at them.
At our repair facility, we strive to repair your vehicle to that "pre-loss" condition. Our goal is to repair the vehicle so that you cannot tell it has been in an accident. However, as a professional repair facility, we cannot endorse or discourage the idea of diminished value. This is an issue that you must discuss with the insurance company involved.
Betterment is simply defined as a repair part that is being replaced on your vehicle, which will actually be better than the part currently on your vehicle. This usually applies to items such as tires, suspension parts, Aftermarket Parts especially etc. Insurance companies may charge a percentage of the cost of the part to you stating that it will go above returning your vehicle to the way it was before the accident. If you are the "insured" or filing a claim through your insurance company, this is will be above and beyond the deductible you would pay to a repair facility.
Automobile insurance works very much like your health insurance coverage would. You pay a premium to your insurance company for coverage, and if you have to file a claim with your insurance, you must pay a co-pay, or in the automotive industry, they are called deductibles. Simply explained, deductibles are the first portion of the repair costs. Your insurance company then pays the remaining balance. For example, let’s say you have a $100.00 deductible, and the total cost of the repairs comes to $4,000.00. That means, you are responsible for the first $100.00, but your insurance company pays the remaining $3,900.00. It’s that simple!
At one point in time, the questionable practice of "saving deductibles" was a veritable nightmare. For example, some repair facilities would tell an insurance company during the course of the repairs that they would have to replace a quarter panel; when actually (and many times without customer knowledge or consent), they would repair the quarter panel, which would result in a dramatically lower cost in the repairs. This actually constitutes insurance fraud and is federally punishable with time spent in prison and heavy fines. We assure you, our customer, that we do not "save deductibles," and that we will repair your vehicle the way you desire, within the limitations provided by the law.
This is a term used in the collision repair industry that is an acronym for Like Kind & Quality. Basically, this is a used part. It has been purchased from a salvage yard and is in good, acceptable condition for the purpose of being used on another vehicle. This is usually a less expensive alternative in having a vehicle repaired; especially if your vehicle is an older vehicle. Insurance companies will typically use LKQ parts on a vehicle over one model year old, or with more than 12,000 miles on the vehicle being repaired. This is not always a disadvantage, because here at Deluxe Auto Body, if we do order an LKQ part, will we inspect the part for damage to determine if it is good and acceptable to be used on a vehicle. Insurance companies usually will not have a problem using brand new OEM/factory parts if an LKQ part is determined to be unacceptable for use in the repairs.
If you are paying for the repairs on your own and without an insurance company, LKQ parts may be a good cost-effective alternative for your repair situation. In addition to being a collision repair center, we also have access to European Import Auto Parts, a salvage yard located on Chula Vista and Otay Mesa City line. Not only do we specialize in having Volvo, Volkswagen, BMW, and other European parts, but we also have a limited selection of vehicles from other model lines as well. .
This type of part is one that is made by a manufacturer other than the one that makes your vehicle. For example, if you have a Toyota Rav4, and you get a air conditioning compressor from a reputable aftermarket vendor like Advanced Auto Parts, that part is not made by Toyota, and is actually made by someone else. This is usually an inexpensive alternative for someone who needs to cut the cost of their repairs by using aftermarket parts, instead of brand new OEM/factory parts. Some insurance companies will attempt to use these parts as a cost-effective alternative for themselves.
In some cases, aftermarket parts may not be the best choice for you. These parts generally fit a vehicle nine out of ten times, and occasionally, there are quality issues with these parts. However, there are instances with brand new OEM/factory parts, where they are plagued with the same problems. You, as the vehicle owner, are the one who has to decide if you want to use aftermarket parts on your vehicle.
A remanufactured part is simply an OEM/factory part taken off another vehicle, repaired or rebuilt, and then placed on a vehicle needing repairs. This is basically a LKQ/used part, but in many cases, is in a much better condition than those types of parts. Typically, remanufactured parts are bumper covers, headlamps, and alloy wheels. These parts are a cost-effective way of repairing your vehicle, without having to use brand new OEM/factory parts, especially if you are on a budget. Always have your repair facility inspect these parts and ensure they are in good, acceptable condition.
Insurance companies and collision centers coined this term as a general reference to being an "insurance company preferred shop." Basically, this is a shop that an insurance company has entered into an agreement with, for the purposes of cost-effectively repairing vehicles, while removing the headache of having to spend 2 to 3 days waiting on a supplemental re-inspection, ordering and waiting on any additional parts. You may be familiar with the names that many insurance companies give their programs: Nationwide’s "Blue Ribbon Network", State Farm’s "Select Service" network, etc.
Even though an insurance company may recommend you go to one of their "Direct Repair Facilities," they cannot REQUIRE you to have your vehicle repaired there. Choose your repair facility based on the trust you have established, and check with your local dealer to see who they recommend. As always, we hope if you are visiting our website, the answer is obvious…choose us!
This is where there is additional damage to a vehicle that is above and beyond what was written on your original estimate. This is a very common occurrence in collision repair, and many times, insurance companies will write estimates based only on what they can see. Once the vehicle is in a collision center for repairs, and is disassembled, your repair facility will contact the insurance company involved and have them come out and re-inspect the vehicle for additional repairs. In some cases, repairs may require multiple supplement requests in order for a vehicle to be repaired correctly. Here at Deluxe Auto Body, we attempt to limit the amount of supplement requests by having the vehicle as completely disassembled as the repair will allow, so that we can accurately record all damages.
If you are using the insurance company of the person at fault in the accident, a rental vehicle must be provided at no cost to you. However, if you are using your insurance company for the repairs (you must rental coverage on your policy), then you would be able to get a loaner vehicle based on what your insurance company pays for. This is probably the most inexpensive, yet most important portion of your automobile insurance. What the average consumer may not realize is that a rental coverage added on to your policy is roughly $30.00 per year on a vehicle. The average cost of a rental vehicle is $35.00 per day. The savings alone is astronomical, and the benefit is definitely worth putting money into. Our collision repair facility does have a limited fleet of vehicles that can be rented out for a very cost-effective price. Please speak with one of our collision estimators for pricing and availability.
In addition to our small fleet of vehicles available for rent, we work closely with Enterprise. Like us, they believe in making the repair process as convenient as possible for the customer. They will meet you at our facility, and handle all paperwork and contracts here. What this means for you is that you can leave directly from our facility and go about your business. Enterprise may require you to provide a credit card as a form of security deposit on the vehicle while you drive it. They will not charge anything to your credit card without your permission, but this request for a credit card is to provide them and you with the knowledge that you are ultimately responsible for the vehicle while you drive it. When the repairs are finished, they have such a strong relationship with us, that you can leave their vehicle here at our facility, and they will pick it up themselves after you have left with your vehicle. Please call our facility if you would like to setup a rental reservation with Enterprise, as we will be happy to set that up for you.
At Deluxe Autobody, we strive to make convenience a top priority. If your vehicle has been damaged to the point that you deem it unsafe to drive, we can arrange to have your vehicle towed by one of a few reputable towing companies we recommend. Just give us a call, and we’ll ask you for some basic information to give to the towing service. They will call you shortly thereafter to setup an appropriate pick-up time for your vehicle. If you have an insurance company paying for the repairs, the towing service will provide us with the invoice of the towing charge, which we will then give to your insurance company for re-payment back to our shop. If you are paying for the repairs yourself, and not going through an insurance company, we will include the cost of the towing service into your repair invoice.