Riggins Collision: Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do after an accident?
- Make sure no one is injured.
No vehicle is more important than a person.
- Exchange insurance info.
- Get a police report if possible.
- Damage under $1000 on private property does not usually warrant a police report.
But examine the damage carefully.
If it is more than just one panel or it looks like a major panel may need to be replaced, it's probably over $1000.
It is always good policy to get a police report if possible.
- When in doubt, have the vehicle towed to the shop.
- Most insurance policies provide for towing your vehicle even though you may not have towing coverage on your policy.
It is considered part of the loss if the vehicle is not safely and legally drivable.
- Use common sense at all times.
Insurance does not cover damages caused by neglect, such as overheating and/or loss of oil that results in additional damage.
If your vehicle is leaking fluids, get it towed!
- If suspension or steering damage exists, get it towed.
Worn tires resulting from driving a damaged vehicle are not usually covered.
- Never be afraid of talking with your agent.
- Your agent is always on your side.
Never be afraid to ask them questions about any aspect of your policy or the claims process.
Your agent will not "report" you for having an accident and talking to them about filing a claim.
They are there to help you.
- It may not be in your best interest to file a claim.
Your agent can help you decide.
- Understand your coverage and how deductibles work.
- Occurrences that are beyond your control such as theft, vandalism, wild animal encounters, etc. are considered "no fault" by most insurers and usually do not affect your premiums, and a comprehensive deductible usually applies.
- Collisions that occur while you are driving usually are coded as "at fault" (if no one else is at fault), and a collision deductible applies to your vehicle.
- Coverage for the other party's vehicle in collisions for which you are found to be at fault carries no deductible for the party or you.
In these instances the other party's vehicle will be repaired under your liability insurance in its entirety (within your policy limits).
- Deductibles are almost always paid directly to the shop by you.
They are considered by most insurers to be the first portion of the claim to be paid; however, here at Riggins Collision we usually collect the deductible from our customers at the time the repairs are completed.
The insurance company told me that if I go to one of their direct repair shops I will get a better warranty, faster service and a better repair. Is this true?
- It really all boils down to which shop they are referring you to and why. Every shop is different just as every insurance company is different. DRP stands for Direct Repair Program. Most insurers have some version of a DRP and they all have different names for it. The meat of this issue is why the direct repair relationship exists. Is it set up to benefit their mutual customers, or to provide discounts for the insurer and more business for the shop? In most cases it does both, but as with any other industry, some of these alliances provide more of a benefit to the consumer than the traditional relationship and some can provide less. There are a few ways to tell which way this particular arrangement is swayed.
- Be inquisitive! Ask some pointed questions. I would ask what exactly the criteria are for shops that are DRP for them. All will say that I-CAR training and appropriate welding equipment are required, but probe further. Ask if they have a customer service follow up procedure in place that involves your feedback and possibly an inspection of your vehicle when it is completed. Ask how their warranty compares with warranties provided by shops on their own. Ask them if they evaluate the performance of their shops based on percentages of aftermarket parts usage. The manner in which these kinds of questions are answered will give you some clues as to whether the shops on their list will be catering more to you or to them!
- Use some intuition! If you feel like you're being railroaded to or away from any particular shop by anyone, BEWARE. Ask yourself, "Does this person appear to have ulterior motives?" and if the answer is yes, do not take their advice! On the other hand, if the person is genuine and even seems a bit uninterested in the outcome of your decision, and you feel good about their answers to your questions, it may be the way to go. Ask a friend or a neighbor, and call them back.
- At the end of the day, everyone wants you to come away from this with your car repaired, but some focus more on your satisfaction and the integrity of the repair, while others focus more on the money. If you stay informed, critical, and resolved to get the best possible repair and service, you can't go too far wrong. The best advice will always come from a disinterested third party. It is always best to ask your friends, family and neighbors about any business. It is ok to tell an adjuster you will call them back with a decision after you get some more information.
My car is brand new and I don't want my warranty to be voided by having my car repaired by anyone except the dealer. Shouldn't I just have it fixed at the dealership body shop?
- Wow, have I heard this a lot during my career! And I have worked for a dealership body shop before. The tragedy is how many times people have assumed this and no one got a chance to explain the reality of it to them. No matter how new your vehicle is, any time it is repaired in a body shop, whether it is in a dealership or not, all warranties on the parts, labor, and paint in the damaged area are provided by that body shop from that point on. Period. The factory warranty on the fit and finish of the affected portions of the vehicle will now be void. That is why it is so important to choose a shop that stands behind its repairs. Whatever warranty that shop provides is the only warranty on that portion of your car! So, if you do have your vehicle repaired at your dealer's shop, just remember that the factory warranty on the affected portion of your car is still void, and whatever warranty the dealer's body shop provides is your only warranty, just like if you had it repaired at an independent shop. Interestingly enough many auto dealers don't even have their own body shops! They actually sublet their body repairs to independent shops anyway! The best thing to do is to compare shop warranties. To view ours, simply click on the "Warranty" tab above.
What are aftermarket parts, and are they any good?
- Aftermarket parts are parts that are made by a manufacturer other than the manufacturer of your vehicle. They can be identified on an estimate by one of their many aliases: "A/M", "economy part", "CAPA certified", etc. Anything on an estimate that does not list as "OEM" (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or "new part" could be aftermarket. Aftermarket parts have come a long way over the past few decades, and as a means of keeping OEM parts pricing down they have been invaluable. Their improvement has largely been in response to the demands of repair professionals, insurance personnel, and vehicle owners to provide a product that is as comparable as possible to new factory parts. There are also some associations such as CAPA that certify some aftermarket parts by conducting testing on them. It is still a topic of fierce debate whether or not these parts are actually comparable to OEM parts. The truth of the matter is that some seem to be and some are definitely not. Even CAPA certified parts sometimes do not fit correctly, (though these parts often do as of late). As for the longevity of these parts, it is very difficult to judge. Many factors affect this from the factory coating on the parts, to the thickness and adhesion of the paint and other materials applied at the shop. An important thing to consider when aftermarket parts are being used to repair your vehicle is the warranty. Who will warranty these parts and the labor required to replace them if they do have problems such as premature rusting, thin, easily dented structure, or some other inherent inferiority to their OEM counterparts? It is always good policy to ask. It has been my experience that some insurers and parts suppliers claim to warranty these parts, but it is often easy for them to dismiss an inherent part problem as incorrect installation or faulty application of materials. It leaves an easy out for the insurer and the part manufacturer, and a hard road for you and the shop.
- Aftermarket parts are not all bad. If their use is specified on your vehicle, ask about the warranty on them and how that warranty will be administered. Also make sure that the shop will be diligent in their use. Ask them to test fit the parts and make sure they weigh the same, fit the same, and are made of the same materials before they put them on your car. Also, have the shop try negotiating with their OEM parts dealer to see if they can match the price. We do that a lot here at Riggins, and this makes everyone happy. If you are completely opposed to the use of aftermarket parts, check with your agent. Many insurers offer an OEM parts endorsement (click here to see an example) that can be added to your policy that eliminates aftermarket parts, and some use very few aftermarket parts with no endorsement required. Whatever happens, keep in mind that insurance policies and reputable collision repair shop guidelines specify that your vehicle is to be repaired to "pre-accident condition". If the parts do exactly this, then you have been fairly compensated for your loss. If they do not, then you haven't.
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