Frequently Asked Questions
Find the answers to some frequently asked questions about collision repair and insurance.
What to do if my vehicle is involved in an accident?
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other person involved in the accident if possible. This helps you in being able to start a “paper trail” of necessary documentation while both parties are present. It also allows you to start the insurance claims process with minimal interruption or delay.
- Never leave the scene of an accident that you are involved in. Wait until a police officer arrives and writes a thorough report. If you leave the scene of an accident before a police report is written, your insurance company will have no way of knowing who was at fault for the accident. This could result in you being held responsible for the damages on your vehicle as well as the other person’s vehicle.
- If your vehicle has to be towed, make sure it is towed to the quality shop of your choosing. It’s your vehicle, so consider the factors that are most important to YOU: quality, convenience, reputation and honesty. To have your vehicle towed to Greatwood Collision Center in Richmond, TX, call (281) 258-0527.
What are my rights?
- No law requires you to get more than one estimate.
- You have the right to have your vehicle repaired at the shop of your choice.
- You choose the shop and authorize the repairs.
- You do not have to accept the insurance company’s appraisal of damage.
- Check the appraisal clause in your policy on how to resolve any differences.
How long will it take to get my car repaired?
For minor damage, such as replacing a bumper cover, a minimum of two days is required. This allows for proper curing time for any primers, fillers, and paint. Beyond that, it’s dependent upon the extent of damage, availability of parts, and approval of payment by the responsible party.
Can you match the paint?
Yes, provided that your vehicle is an original factory color that is not faded or discolored. The following is a brief description of how paint matching works:
Your vehicle carries a paint code printed on a label on your vehicle. This code is broken down into a formula given to automotive paint manufacturers. A repair shop uses the formula to mix the color within their chosen brand of paint. This works fine if your vehicle is precisely the color specified by the paint code. However, in actual production there are often slight variations in color.
If your vehicle is not the exact shade specified by the factory, the first step is “tinting” the color. This is done by varying the amount of the toners used to make up the original formula. Sometimes, a perfect match can’t be achieved by tinting alone. In these cases, “blending” may be required. This is a process where portions of the vehicle adjacent to the repaired area are gradually misted with the tinted paint so that any minor color variance is unnoticeable. This can make the difference between a very good color match and an invisible repair.
Do I have the right to select the auto body shop that will repair my car?
Yes. The repair shop choice is always up to you!
What if the insurance company suggests a particular body shop or shops?
The choice is still yours; do some research before accepting their suggestion.
What about the lifetime warranty from the insurance company?
The warranty provided by the insurance company is nothing more than a case of the insurance company holding their network body shops accountable. One of the criteria for an auto body shop to be part of any insurance company network is that the shop provide a lifetime warranty.
Will I have to pay additional out-of-pocket costs if I have my repairs done outside the network?
No. The majority of all body shops will do repairs for prevailing competitive rates.
So why do insurance companies have network auto body shops?
One legitimate reason is that it could speed up the repair process. Certain insurance companies allow their network shops to begin repairs as soon as they receive an assignment. But most require approval from a file reviewer before the shop can begin repairs. In the first example the repair is expedited, in the second it is not. Secondly, most insurance companies have been able to reduce staff and claim handling costs by establishing a direct repair network.
What if the insurance estimate is lower than the shop I would like to use?
It’s no problem. Provide your body shop with a copy of the insurance estimate and they will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Who pays the repair bill?
You must arrange for payment. Ultimately the vehicle owner is responsible for the cost of all repairs they have authorized.
If not from the insurance, then how do I go about selecting a body shop?
Family and friends are the number one source outside the insurance company. Another good choice is to ask your local car dealer or someone who works in the automotive industry such as a parts store or a paint supplier. All of these sources have one thing in common—Quality Repairs.
What if I don’t want aftermarket parts on my car?
You will need to read your insurance policy. Many companies stipulate the use of such parts.
But what if they don’t fit or hold up properly?
This is where your choice of an auto body shop becomes critical. They have the expertise to determine if a part is inferior. A close visual inspection should be done, followed by test fitting the part on your vehicle. If the part or parts don’t fit as well as you original parts then the repair shop will need to contact the insurance company. If requested, they will pay for parts that do fit properly. As far as warranty on aftermarket parts most insurance companies offer a lifetime warranty on these parts.
What about used parts?
The majority of all insurance companies call for the use of used parts. Poor fit is rarely a problem with used parts because they are OEM parts that have been removed from a donor vehicle. The bigger concerns are excessive paint build, rust or previous poor quality repairs that may be hidden under a repaint. Once again, your body shop is the key player. They are the experts who need to make sure that all parts used in your repair are of equal quality to what was taken off of your car.
What if I am not satisfied with my repair job?
You need to return it to your shop right away. Most quality shops want to get the repairs done right. Their reputation is on the line with every repair.
Can you save my deductible?
An honest repair shop will always say no. If a shop conspires with you to “bury the deductible” this constitutes insurance fraud. Insurance companies are very experienced in estimating repair costs, they aren’t easily fooled by an inflated repair estimate. The only alternative left to reduce the cost is to “short-cut” the repair. This could leave you with a poorly repaired vehicle with a potential for diminished value or worse yet, an unsafe vehicle. Remember, a shop that will cheat the insurance company could also be inclined to cheat the consumer.
Am I entitled to a rental car?
If the accident was not your fault and the responsible party has accepted liability then they are required to provide you with reasonable transportation while your car is being repaired. If you are going through your own insurance then you will need to verify if you have rental coverage on your policy in order to be entitled to a rental