What Should I Do Now That I Have Been in an Accident?
Many people are concerned about getting their car up and running again after an accident. Less attention is given to following procedure, knowing one’s rights or what kind of timeline to expect, but this information can be helpful and make the process easier to deal with.
File the Claim Immediately
The accident needs to be reported to the insurance company as soon as possible. The following information is helpful to have when submitting a claim:
Name, phone number and address of all occupants in the vehicles involved, as well as witnesses
The exact location
Photos of the vehicles and scene
Company name, policy number and phone of the other driver’s insurance
Officer name and badge number
Police report, if one is prepared
Once that information is submitted, an adjuster is assigned to the case.
Get Estimates and Choose a Repair Shop
An adjuster will interview the driver about the damage to the car. The adjuster will then recommend where to get an estimate for the car. Insurance companies have Direct Referral Program (DRP) contracts with certain repair shops, enabling the shop to get a lot of business in exchange for providing discounts to the insurance company. These DRP shops aren’t any better or cheaper for the owner; it’s simply a business arrangement.
Remember that everyone is entitled to having their car fixed at the shop of their choosing. While an insurance company may argue their partners are “easier to work with,” any shop will be able to create an estimate and submit a claim to an insurance company. It’s best to pick a shop with a good reputation.
Have the mechanic go over all that needs to be done with the car and get it in writing. Try to avoid an early settlement with the insurance company, since unexpected damage may come up later.
Get a Rental Car
The auto repair shop should help set up the rental car. Most insurance plans offer a rental car option, but if there is no insurance covered, many auto body shops offer discounted car rentals. Assuming insurance is covering it, they should have a standing reservation in the system which will allow the shop to set up the rental at the closest location.
It’s reported the average time for a car to be fixed after an accident is two weeks. Remember that insurance companies may have limits on daily coverage amount and length of coverage, so plan accordingly.
Prepare for Delays
It’s possible for repairs to take longer than estimated. Damage after an accident can be more complicated than the initial evaluation estimated. Once the vehicle is up on the lift and torn down, it’s possible to get a more accurate assessment of the damage. This is why it’s best not to settle an insurance claim early.
One common problem is frame damage. Direct damage causes visible damage due to crumple zones, but indirect damage can cause a ripple effect that’s not obvious. The frame will need to be inspected and repaired, otherwise safety is compromised.
The bumper is another place hidden damage can occur. The cover may appear fine, but removing the cover could reveal damaged cushioning that will not be effective if hit again.
Contact Colorado Auto Body for Collision Repairs
Colorado Auto Body puts customers first. Their highly trained technicians take pride in their reputation for quality work. Because of their reputation and customer service, many people turn to Colorado Auto Body for collision repairs.