Frequent Asked Questions for Auto Insurance Claims & Auto Body Repair
Don’t be ashamed to be unsure about some part of your claim. There is a great variety of details and ambiguous information out there and very, very few objective answer sources. Below are a handful of common Insurance and Auto Body FAQ’s.
Do I need a police report? To whom do I send it ?
Do I pay my deductible to the insurance co. ?
I need a rental car, what do I do to get one ?
My finance co wants me to have “full coverage” insurance, what is that ?
Do I have to get repair estimates ?
Can I choose any body shop I want ?
Do I have to pay for insurance from the rental car co. ?
Someone else hit my car, do I call my insurance co. or theirs ?
Someone hit my car and drove off, will my insurance pay for my damage ?
I have to pay betterment, what is that ?
The insurance co won’t return my calls, what can I do to speed this up ?
The person that hit my car does not have insurance, what do I do ?
How long should my auto body repair take ?
Q: Do I need a police report? To whom do I send it ?
A: Yes, at the scene of the accident always call the police for an accident report. If filing a claim to pay for the damages then the insurance co will request a copy.
Q: Do I pay my deductible to the insurance co. ?
A: No, pay your deductible to the service provider (usually a body shop) when you are satisfied with the repair.
Q: I need a rental car, what do I do to get one ?
A: Make sure to request a rental car when reporting the claim to the insurance co. In most cases they will make the reservation and pay the rental provider directly.
Q: My finance co wants me to have “full coverage” insurance, what is that ?
A: Full coverage is a term that usually means your policy has the 4 main types of coverage; collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist and liability. This combination is generally required if your car is financed.
Q: Do I have to get repair estimates ?
A: Hmmm, yes and no. If your insurance co is writing their own then, no. If insurance is paying from a body shop estimate then, yes, but you only have to get one.
Q: Can I choose any body shop I want ?
A: An emphatic YES. By all means get your car repaired wherever you’re comfortable.
Q: Do I have to pay for insurance from the rental car co. ?
A: Yes and No. Your insurance stays with you to cover your rental car. If you don’t have enough coverage to meet the requirement of the rental provider then you do have to buy their temporary policy (damage waiver).
Q: Someone else hit my car, do I call my insurance co. or theirs ?
A: Theirs. Assuming its their fault their insurance co will handle the claim. Exception: the damage happens in a “no fault” state where, regardless of fault, drivers always report damage to their own insurance co.
Q: Someone hit my car and drove off, will my insurance pay for my damage ?
A: Yes, if you have the correct coverage. Hit-and-run damage falls under uninsured motorist (UM) or collision coverage, preferably UM.
Q: I have to pay betterment, what is that ?
A: Betterment is a dollar amount paid by you (vehicle owner) for a replacement part that can be considered a “wear item”. The cost for some replacement parts are shared by insurance and vehicle owner based on the parts remaining useful life. Tires are the most common parts where the vehicle owner pays betterment.
Q: The insurance co won’t return my calls, what can I do to speed this up ?
A: This is pretty rare, most insurance co’s are very prompt in their communication. If, after 6 or 7 days, insurance co is ignoring you then report this to your insurance commissioner. Be sure to leave another message with the insurance co letting them know what you’ve done.
Q: The person that hit my car does not have insurance, what do I do ?
A: File a claim with your own insurance co, be sure to file under your uninsured motorist coverage.
Q: I hit another persons car, do I pay a deductible for their repair ?
A: No, that person will file a claim with your insurance co under your liability coverage. Insurance pays liability claims in full, no one pays a deductible.
Q: What is a “No Fault” state ?
A: A state where the insurance laws are such that drivers file auto claims only with their own insurance company, regardless of fault. **this is a VERY simplistic answer, please consult your state insurance commissioner for more detail
Q: When is a vehicle considered “drivable” or “non-drivable” ?
A: If your car will start up and safely go then its drivable. A car is non-drivable if a headlamp or tail lamp is broken, its leaking fluids, airbags are deployed, hood won’t shut, flat tire, broken glass, door won’t open or close, etc. If, for any reason, you don’t feel safe driving the vehicle it is non-drivable.
Q: How long should my auto body repair take ?
A: The majority of repairs take 3-5 days, but look at the estimate and calculate the total labor hours (body, paint, frame, mechanical). Divide that number by 4 and that is roughly how many days an auto body repair will take assuming the body shop has parts on-hand. This is called “cycle time”.
Your question not listed here ? Feel free to email me. greg @ everysolution.net
I do have a day job but promise to opine asap.
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