What are some important factors to take into consideration when choosing a repair facility?
Parts: OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. When choosing a shop, it is important to ask what kind of parts will be used to repair your vehicle. OEM parts are brand new and certified by the manufacturer. In some cases, you may see the use of an aftermarket part which is not made by the original manufacturer of your vehicle. At Autoworks, we believe in using OEM parts exclusively.
Paint: The type of paint used is equally as important as the kind of parts a repair shop purchases. As one can imagine, there are many different types of paints used in the auto body industry varying in both price and quality. At Autoworks, we don't compromise quality for price. We are one of the oldest standing Sikkens customers in Connecticut. Sikkens' parent company is Akzo Nobel, which is the largest coatings company in the world and considered to be one of the finest paints.
When choosing a repair facility, we recommend that you ask the repair shop what type of paint they use and research it just a bit. You may find that the paint they use is substandard which could lead to chipping and fading not too soon after your cars is returned to you.
Do I need to go where the insurance company recommends?
NO! As the vehicle owner, it is not only your right to choose the repair shop of your choice but also to have your vehicle inspected wherever you feel most comfortable. Although your insurance company may provide you with one of their preferred collision repair shops or a drive in claims center, we always recommend that you avoid having your vehicle inspected anywhere other than the body shop that will be completing the repairs to your vehicle.
Doing so allows a representative from the body shop to advocate for you and ensure that the insurer covers all of the damage to your vehicle. You can (and should) insist that an appraiser representing the insurance company inspects your vehicle at the shop of your choice.
How do I know if my insurance coverage is sufficient?
Rental Coverage: Most insurers offer a daily dollar amount authorized for a rental vehicle up to 30 days. Most policies offer between $25 and $50 per day. The exception to this rule is StateFarm as they typically offer the option to purchase rental coverage of 80/20%. This means they pay for 80% of the rental and you are responsible for the remaining 20%. With the increased cost in renting a vehicle, we recommend that your policy indemnifies you for no less than $30.00 per day. If you own an SUV or Van and would need something comparable while your car is being repaired, make sure you select a higher rental allowance as larger vehicles cost more to rent.
Deductible: The higher the deductible, the lower your monthly insurance payment. Deductibles can vary. However, accidents usually happen at the most inconvenient times. In the unfortunate circumstance that you are involved in an accident, you'll thank yourself for selecting a deductible that is affordable to you.
OEM Parts Endorsement: Some insurers offer the option to indemnify you for OEM parts exclusively. If doing so is within your budget, we highly recommend selecting this option.
Did you know? Connecticut law requires you to only get one (1) estimate or appraisal.
You may already be familiar with insurers providing you with the opportunity to send them pictures of the damage to your vehicle so they can write a “photo estimate” and settle the claim faster. Initially the service seems very convenient and efficient. However, after careful consideration, its critical flaws become increasingly apparent. We wholeheartedly object to this practice and NEVER recommend doing so. Instead, we highly recommend that you insist that the insurer arrange for an appraiser to physically inspect your vehicle at the shop of your choice. Here’s why:
1. Many times the person reviewing the photos of the damage is not actually a licensed appraiser. Although they may be “trained” to do so, they may not be licensed and therefore have not completed the proper testing and certifications that the Department of Insurance requires to be considered qualified.
2. Pictures don’t do it justice! What may appear to be minor damage in a photo is often much more extensive when inspected in person. When writing estimates from photos, damage is often overlooked and critical safety components are left unchecked. Today’s vehicles are much too complex and technologically advanced to write an estimate from photos.
It is your legal right as the vehicle owner to not only choose the shop of your choice for repairs but also to have the inspection completed by the insurance company wherever you feel comfortable. Don’t let a pushy insurer take away your rights and prevent you from protecting what is in your best interests.
CT General Statutes 38a-354 - Automobile appraisers and insurers prohibited from requiring where repairs should be made or making certain statements. Notice required on appraisals or estimates
(a) No automobile physical damage appraiser shall require that appraisals or repairs should or should not be made in a specified facility or repair shop.
(b) No insurance company doing business in this state, or agent or adjuster for such company shall (1) require any insured to use a specific person for the provision of automobile physical damage repairs, automobile glass replacement, glass repair service or glass products, or (2) state that choosing a facility other than a motor vehicle repair shop participating in a motor vehicle repair program established by such a company will result in delays in repairing the motor vehicle or a lack of guarantee for repair work.
(c) Any appraisal or estimate for a motor vehicle physical damage claim written on behalf of an insurer shall include the following notice, printed in not less than ten-point boldface type:
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE THE LICENSED REPAIR SHOP WHERE THE DAMAGE TO YOUR MOTOR VEHICLE WILL BE REPAIRED.
We are a member shop of the Auto Body Association of Connecticut, an organization that continuously advocates for the motoring public. For more information, visit abaconn.org