Having car insurance is the law no matter where you live. Unfortunately, most drivers who have never been in an accident don’t understand that they have options when it comes to having their car repaired after a collision. If you have recently been in a collision, at fault or not-at-fault, you do have the right to have your car repaired where you want, although most insurance companies don’t want you to know this! Here is some of what you need to know if your car needs to be repaired.
The Appraisal Process
Whether it is your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, they will send out one of their appraisers. What you should know is that you do not need to settle for what they tell you the damage is worth. Get other appraisals at auto body repair shops of your choice and compare all the quotes. If you feel you are being lowballed, it is your right to representation by an attorney who will help you get the fair compensation you deserve. Usually, two other appraisals will give you a good idea of the ultimate cost of necessary repairs resulting from the collision.
Choosing the Auto Body Repair Shop of Your Choice
Some insurance companies, like Geico for example, have auto repair shops they’ve contracted with. These are given a good deal of business from that insurance company so they will not have your best interests at heart! Remember, they are being sent business by the insurance company so they will keep costs as low as possible to maintain that working relationship with the insurer. You do not need to use their contracted shops – you have the right to take your vehicle wherever you want! Choose the collision repair shop of your choice, one you are most comfortable with.
Good Advice After Any Automobile Accident
No matter what kind of collision or accident you are in, there are some general rules of thumb to be aware of. First of all, after the initial report is made and you’ve contacted your insurer, never talk to anyone at the other, at-fault driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies have a way of getting you to say what they want so that they are not held responsible to pay for damage if there is any doubt it is the result of that accident. Many people contract the services of an attorney for just this reason. They will handle all communications for you and really, it is in their best interest to get you the highest settlement possible. They do, after all, work on a contingency so that they get paid if you do!
The bottom line is that it is your right to choose the repair shop you want to fix your vehicle and it is your right to dispute compensation if you feel it is unfair or inadequate. Most drivers who have never been in a collision don’t understand that there are alternatives and they do have rights. It is your car, so take it to the shop of your choice and make absolutely sure it is repaired to pre-collision condition. Anything less is unacceptable!