If you have the misfortune of being involved in an accident, here is some insider information that will help turn a bad situation into a tolerable one.
If you are involved in a traffic collision, try to remain calm, and follow these steps:
1 Determine if Drivable?
Examples of NON DRIVABLE vehicle:
2 Get and estimate.
Get an estimate from the Shop you trust and wish to use for repairs. You are only required to get one estimate (by law). Rather than spending time getting several estimates from shops, get referrals or recommendations for one good shop. Most often the Insurance Company will write their own estimate as a starting point for payment.
Later the shop will negotiate for additional items from the Insurance Company in the form of a supplement. So it is important to find a shop that will do a good repair and charge the Insurance Company for what is done. Sometimes an Insurance Company will pay directly from the amount on the shop’s estimate, but that is only when it is a very low amount and it does not make sense for them to send out an appraiser to do their own estimate.
2 Arrange for vehicle tow.
If your vehicle must be towed, make sure you know exactly where it will be going or ask to have it towed directly to the shop of your choice. Sometimes you will have no choice and your vehicle will be quickly moved from the scene and towed to the nearest garage. Do not leave your vehicle sitting anywhere you do not want repairs to be performed.
Your vehicle will incur storage charges for every day it sits at a garage. Always keep the Insurance Company notified as to the location of your vehicle. Call the shop of your choice and have the vehicle moved there for an estimate and repairs. The Insurance Company will want to discuss the repairs with the shop and once they know where the vehicle has been moved for repairs, an insurance appraiser will be sent out to look at the damages. Most collision policies will cover reasonable towing charges.
3 The Insurance Company
Contact the Insurance Company with the results of your estimate. Remember most Insurance Companies will not pay for repairs until they have actually seen the damaged vehicle. We are happy to have the insurance appraiser look at and go over the vehicle repairs at our shop.
Always give the appraiser a copy of the estimate from the shop, this should help make sure nothing is missed, since both the shop and appraisers are licensed professionals, you will have the benefit of two experienced estimate writers. Once the estimate is submitted to the Insurance Company it is up to them to decide coverage and liability (who is to pay for damages) if that is a question.
Also they should make plans for payment to the vehicle owner. Unless the vehicle owner requests payment to be made directly to the repair shop.
4 Schedule vehicle for repairs.
Call to schedule repairs as soon as possible to allow time for the repair shop to order the parts necessary before the vehicle comes in for the repair. Also set up rental car reservations as soon as you know when the vehicle will be repaired.
And be sure to let the Insurance Company know when the vehicle is going to be repaired. This will help to ensure a timely delivery of your finished vehicle.