Auto Body Repair: 3 Things You Should Know About Collision Repairs

Getting the damage to your vehicle repaired will likely be one of your top priorities after being involved in a serious collision. However, before you drop your vehicle off at a local auto body shop, there are a few facts that you should know.

Your Insurance Company Cannot Require You To Use A Specific Auto Body Shop

Insurance companies routinely maintain working relationships with a few auto body shops in the community. By taking your vehicle to one of these shops, you can often make the claims process just a bit faster. The insurance company will often accept the shop's repair estimate rather than requiring that the damage be inspected by a claims adjuster. However, while there may be benefits that come along with going to the shop your insurance carrier recommends, you should know that you are under no obligation to do so.

If you choose to take your vehicle to a shop other than one that is recommended by the insurance company, you will not need to worry about losing your coverage as a result.

Declaring Your Vehicle A Total Loss Does Not Mean You Can't Repair It

If repairing the damage to your vehicle will cost more than your vehicle is worth, the insurance company will likely declare the vehicle a total loss and decline to repair the vehicle. Instead, they will simply issue you a check for the fair market value of your vehicle prior to the accident.

If you wish to repair your vehicle despite it being declared a total loss, you can do so. However, you will be responsible for any repair costs that exceed the value of your vehicle. You may also be required to pay a salvage fee in order to buy the vehicle back from the insurance company since they have already paid you the full value of the vehicle. Finally, you should know that you may be prohibited from collecting future payments if the vehicle is damaged in another accident.

Emergency Repairs Can Be Completed Right Away

There is a process that typically must be followed in order to have repairs paid for by your auto insurance company. Traditionally, you file a claim with the insurance carrier, allow them to inspect the damage, and finally have the repairs completed only once the insurance company has signed off on them. When dealing with most types of collision damage, you will be risking your insurance coverage if you fail to follow this procedure. However, there is one notable exception to this rule.

If the damage to your vehicle could result in additional damage if it is not repaired immediately, you are not required to wait for prior approval before performing the repairs. For instance, if your windshield was shattered in an accident, you can have this glass repaired right away without sacrificing your insurance coverage because it qualifies as an emergency repair. In fact, if you fail to address this emergency need, any additional damage that does result may not be covered by your insurance company due to your failure to act. 

For more information about auto body repair, contact a professional like those at Collisions Plus Performance.