Auto Insurance

Post-Accident Repairs: What You Need To Know


Following a car accident, you’ll probably be going through a range of different emotions. You might have a hard time getting over the sheer shock and trauma of the experience. There’ll probably be a degree of anger and frustration at the people who were at fault. However, for us auto nuts, one of the hardest things is seeing our cars take a lot of unsightly and expensive damage. Seen as you’re reading this, I’m sure you don’t like being kept off the road. If your car’s been damaged in an accident, then here’s some information to help with getting it repaired.

Information You Should Gather Right

Money-wise, there’s certain information you should gather right at the scene of the accident. One big thing to remember is not to admit the accident was your fault. This sounds trivial, I know. However, if there’s a dispute in your insurance claim. It could have a much bigger impact than you might think. At the scene, you should try to exchange names and contact information with other drivers and witnesses involved. If anyone refuses to give their details, then take down their registration number. Insurance companies can use this to track the driver down.

Whether you want to make a claim or not, you should tell your insurer about the accident as soon as possible. If there were any injuries in the accident, make sure you take your cover note or insurance certificate to the police in due time. If possible, take a few photographs of the scene or damage. If you’re not at fault, all of these measures will really improve your chances of coming out on top.

Usually, when the situation is straightforward, you’ll have all the compensation you’re due on the way. However, in some situations, you might need to go out of your way to claim against another driver. If you’re going to go ahead with this, then make sure you find a lawyer with experience in car accidents.

Damage Estimate

You’ll need to have a damage estimate done on the car. In most cases, you won’t have to go out of your way to get this done. The insurance company that’s paying for repairs will take care of it. This is done by an on-the-road estimator, who goes out to your car, and estimates the cost to repair it.

However, if your car can be driven legally, some insurers will ask you to drive it to an estimating facility. Whichever method they use, you’ll get a fairly accurate figure for the cost of repairing your car.


Image: Flickr

The Repair Shop

Next up is the repair shop. In most cases, you’ll be able to choose where you want to have any repairs done. Don’t take this as a given though! A lot of insurance companies have policies that give them the right to select their policyholders’ repair shops after an accident. If you don’t like the sound of this, then bear it in mind for the future. The next time you’re renewing or changing your policy, look for options that will give you a little more freedom.

Insurance Companies

As you can imagine, when insurance companies have the right, your insurer will choose a repair facility that gives them good rates. Everyone’s looking to save themselves money; insurance companies aren’t any different! Agreements between an insurance company and a repair shop are often called DRPs (Direct Referral Programs.) In these arrangements, the insurer will refer a lot of business to the repair shop. In return, the repair facility will give the insurance firm pretty significant price breaks.

Has some more handy information. When setting up these deals, insurance companies will inspect the repair shop for the quality of service. However, the insurance company often gets the last say in how the vehicle will be repaired. Do you want a stuffy insurance type using a calculator to decide the condition of your car? I didn’t think so!

If you’ve already had the accident, then obviously it could be too late. However, in the future, you can ensure yourself more control by buying policies that allow you to choose the repair shop. This way, you’ll be able to look into your options yourself and choose a shop that’s right for you.

Take Your Car In For Repairs

When you do take your car in for repairs, keep an eye out for used parts. It may surprise you to hear this, but many repair shops will use pre-used parts on your car when you bring it in. Even if they appear to be new, they might not be made by the vehicle’s original manufacturer.

For the best possible results, you should look for a repair shop that uses OEM, or Original Equipment Manufacturer parts. Repairs from these shops may be a little pricier than you’d expect. However, the quality of the parts you’ll get will be far superior to what you’d receive otherwise. Remember that you won’t always be entitled to these though. If you’re dealing with another driver’s company, it’ll be under their damage liability insurance.

Your Car To The Exact Condition

This means they’re obliged to restore your car to the exact condition it was in before the accident. If your car had used parts beforehand, then it’s completely acceptable for used parts to be used in the repairs. The mechanic working on your car may well discover further damage while working on your car. Usually, the repair shop will contact your insurance company, and let them know about the additional damage. An appraiser will then come down to assess the damage. If the mechanic doesn’t do this when they discover further damage, then you have my permission to kick up a fuss!

I hope that this information helps you through getting your car repaired. Seeing your car take serious damage is an extremely frustrating thing to go through. After the fact, there may be all kinds of hiccups and setbacks. However, go into the aftermath making sure you understand the situation thoroughly. You’ll get your car back, and it shouldn’t cause too big of a dent in your bank account.

Feature Image