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Know Your Rights

How Do I Choose A Collision Repair Facility?
As the owner of a motor vehicle involved in an accident or submitting an insurance claim, you have the right to choose the shop where you wish to have your vehicle repaired. No law requires you to get more than one estimate, nor are you obligated to have your vehicle repaired at the “cheapest” shop or one “preferred” by the insurance company. You should select a repair facility based on their skill, service, knowledge, reputation and guarantee of their workmanship.

Remember, the body shop is fixing YOUR vehicle for YOU. If you’re making an insurance claim, the insurer pays the bill, but most states prohibit the insurer from requiring you to use a particular shop — that means, ultimately, no matter what you hear, THE BODY SHOP IS YOUR CHOICE.

What Is A DRP Body Shop?
Direct Repair Program (DRP) is another name for an insurance company’s listing of shops, such as: State Farm’s “Service First”, Allstate’s “PRO”, Progressive’s “Total Pro or Concierge”, etc. DRP repair facilities have been solicited by the insurance company which sends customers their way in exchange for discounted repairs, such as lower labor rates or parts discounts. The consumer is not required or obligated to use a DRP repair facility.

Automotive Specialties made a decision many years ago to decline any DRP contracts which allows us to work WITH all insurance companies but work FOR our customer.

Must I Notify My Insurance Company Before Repairs?
Yes, insurance policies require that you notify the company and tell them where the damaged vehicle may be inspected. The insurance company may wish to send an adjustor of their choice to inspect the vehicle or review the shop’s estimate prior to repair.

Who Pays The Repair Bill?
You must arrange for payment. Your insurance policy states the insurance company will pay for repairs less any deductibles or depreciation.

What If Repair Costs Exceed The Original Estimate?
Often times in the collision repair process additional damages are found resulting in more labor and parts needed to restore the vehicle to pre-accident condition. Parts sometimes come in at higher prices than quoted. These additional charges are called a supplement and will be covered by the insurance company with supporting paperwork from the repair facility.

If There Is A Problem With The Repair Job, Who Should You Contact?
First, contact the manager of the repair shop. If your problem is not resolved, contact your insurance company claims manager.


What To Do If Your Vehicle Is "Totaled"

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Whether damages are due to a major accident or an act of nature, a total loss means one of two things:
a.) the vehicle cannot be safely repaired or b.) repairs would cost more than the vehicle is worth. 

Should damages result from an accident caused by another motorist or yourself, obtain a police report and contact your insurance agent immediately to file a claim.  Have your agent explain the exact type of coverage your policy offers.  Do you have gap insurance, collision and comprehensive insurance, new car replacement insurance, rental, towing?   Your agent will also help you with a comprehensive claim for damages resulting from a natural disaster or damages unrelated to a crash. 

Get your vehicle to a trusted repair shop.  We suggest using a shop close to home for easy access to your vehicle and any follow up needs.  Automotive Specialties can assist with the process and answer questions you may have.

If deemed a total the insurance company will determine the cash value of your vehicle which is basically the price your car might have gotten on the open market prior to this damage.  Doing your own homework prior to negotiating with the insurance company is every beneficial.  The following factors help determine values:

  • Vehicle make & model
  • Age of the vehicle
  • Condition
  • Mileage
  • Selling price of similar vehicle – check Kelly Blue Book
  • Modifications, upgrades, recent repairs – perhaps tires, stereo system

If you had a loan on the vehicle the bank requires you to have collision and comprehensive insurance coverage.  Get in touch with the lender and continue making payments so as not to damage your credit score.  After an agreement with the insurance company on a settlement amount, the insurance check may be made payable to the lender and yourself.  This means you will have to work with your lender on how that payment will be applied.  Typically the lender is paid first and any remaining amount will go to you.

Many times older vehicles are considered a total more because of their age and resale value vs. the actual condition of the vehicle.  There are times when an owner may want to consider keeping their damaged vehicle and settling for a lower cash payment from the insurance company.  That is another topic for discussion.

Automotive Specialties has been helping neighbors since 1983 to make good decisions and excellent repairs on their damaged vehicles.  If you find yourself in need of collision repairs or advice, give us a call.  We work with all insurance companies, but we work for our customer. Call 630-553-0397.