Collision Insurance FAQ’s
By N.C. law you are only required to get one estimate. – You may choose to get more, but are not required to do so.
Insurance companies cannot dictate or mandate that you have your vehicle repaired at any specific repair facility. – Insurance companies can recommend that you use a repair facility that they have contracted with. These contracted repair facilities are often referred to as “direct repair”, “in-network”, “Blue Ribbon”, “good hands network”, “select service” shops.
Vehicle is typically your 2nd biggest investment after your home. – Make sure you choose a reputable facility that will ensure you receive a proper repair that follows OEM guidelines and offers a warranty on repairs.
When filing with your insurance – Your deductible is deducted from the cost of repairs and is due to your repair facility typically at the completion of repairs before your vehicle is delivered. It is easiest to think of your deductible being the equivalent of your health insurance copay.
Strongly consider adding rental coverage to your insurance policy. – The cost of rental coverage is minimal when taking in consideration the daily cost of renting a vehicle out of pocket. (This can run $30-100 per day, depending on the vehicle you choose)
If you are a claimant – You are entitled to a rental vehicle regardless if the at-fault party is paying out of pocket or filing with insurance.
Estimates can vary greatly as there are many factors that can influence/dictate the cost of repairs.
Parts choice – OEM parts are often the most expensive and are original manufacturers’ parts (name brand). (If you have a newer vehicle and/or if quality is important to you, ask to add an OEM Ryder on your insurance policy.)
A/M (Aftermarket) parts – are new, “generic” parts. There are many categories of A/M parts. The highest quality being CAPA certified which must adhere to certain guidelines and pass inspection to ensure they perform to high standards.
LKQ parts – like kind & quality these are used parts. These are typically OEM parts that are salvaged from vehicles that have been damaged in other panels.
Recon/Reman – reconditioned, remanufactured – the parts are OEM parts that have been previously damaged and repaired.
Repair times are judgement times based on the estimators experience to restore any given panel to pre-accident condition. These times can vary greatly and your estimator should be able to provide adequate explanation as to how they arrived at any repair time.
Labor rates, refinish rates – these rates are typically within a few dollars within any given market area.
Hidden damages – often there are damages that are not visible until after tear down (removing a panel). This can add quite a bit to repair costs. Your estimator should be upfront as to if additional damages are likely. With experience, an estimator is typically able to see signs that something is amiss (misalignment of panels, gap tolerances off, buckling of adjacent panels).
Not all estimators will write a complete estimate to restore your vehicle to its pre-accident condition. Ask questions, make sure you are comfortable with the repair plan and if it seems too good to be true, it is. Do not allow someone to get your vehicle in the shop with a low-ball estimate to sky rocket the price once you are seemingly “stuck” there.
When filing repairs with insurance: Each company has their own policies and procedures to follow. The general rule of thumb is that insurance will assign an adjuster to inspect and estimate the repairs to your vehicle.To avoid unnecessary out of pocket expenses you must supply this estimate to your repair facility before repairs begin. The repair facility will use this estimate as a “foundation” and will add to (supplement) any additional repairs necessary to properly restore your vehicle to pre-accident condition.
Supplements typically add 2 to 5 additional days to the repair cycle. (Insurance provided rentals are typically covered and extended during this time as this is a common process during repairs.) 90-95% of insurance estimates will require supplemental processing.