In the wake of a serious car accident, getting your vehicle repaired and back on the road will understandably be at the top of your list of things to do. However, before you rush into the repair process, there are a couple of facts that you should know.
Fact #1: You Don’t Have To Agree To Any Repairs
People often assume that the insurance company has the last say when it comes to whether their vehicle is repaired or replaced. If the insurance company declares the vehicle a total loss, then the vehicle is replaced. However, if they assign a specific value to the repairs the vehicle requires, then these repairs must be completed — at least, that is what they want you to think.
The truth is, you are in total control of whether or not your vehicle gets repaired and what repairs it receives. If your vehicle is still able to be driven, you may choose not to complete all repairs at once. You must also choose to make additional repairs, or to simply replace your vehicle rather than repair it.
If you choose to have additional repairs completed or to replace your vehicle despite the insurance company’s recommendations, you will be required to cover any costs that go beyond the repair estimates provided by the insurance company.
Fact #2: You Get To Choose The Collision Shop
Another common misconception is that the insurance company is able to dictate what collision shop you take your vehicle to. While it is true that your insurance company will likely recommend that you visit a shop of their choosing, it is important for you to understand that this really is just a recommendation, even if your claims representative doesn’t make it sound like one.
Insurance companies routinely maintain relationships with a variety of collision shops in order to streamline the processing of accident claims. By choosing collision shops that they trust to perform official estimates for them, insurance companies are able to avoid the need to send out an independent assessor. Therefore, the company has a lot to gain by convincing you to visit the collision shop of their choosing. However, you are under no obligation to comply with this request.
If you choose to visit a collision repair shop other than the one recommended by your insurance company, you should be prepared for an independent assessor to come out to the shop and perform their own estimate of the damage. This can result in minimal delays in the repair process.