Vision Collision respects and values the role Auto Insurance Companies play in helping mitigate damage following a car accident. The process of filing a claim can be nuanced and difficult. Below are some important principles you need to know about the insurance process.
Always choose a reputable Auto Insurance Company. The old adage holds true: if it sounds (or costs) too good to be true, it probably is. “Bargain Basement” insurance companies (usually the ones with low-budget cartoon commercials) often attempt to cut corners with your repair, write low estimates, try to avoid paying for legitimate procedures, are slow to pay the providers, and will generally make your life difficult when trying to get your vehicle repaired, all for the sake of their bottom line and preserving the ability to offer you that bargain premium.
Know your coverage. Know if you are covered for bodily harm, uninsured motorists, underinsured motorists, new vehicle replacement, or other specific coverage that you may wish to have.
If you have an Insurance Agent, contact him or her before calling the general 800 number for your carrier.
If you are not sure if you are going to file a claim with your insurance company, consult a third party, such an independent repair facility, before contacting the 800 number for your insurance company. Once you contact the insurance company, a claim is opened and the activity is counted against you, regardless of if you ever do file a claim or attempt to collect. Vision Collision is happy to consult with you if you are unsure if an insurance claim is warranted.
An insurance company will attempt to persuade you to use their “Preferred Provider” or “Authorized Repair Facility.” They may tell you that to use their choice of facility will be faster, easier, and/or better for you. They may tell you that if you do not use one of their choice facilities, your repair will not be covered by a warranty. None of this is inherently true. Every business has a vested interest in satisfying their customer. When you use an insurance company’s provider, the insurance company is the customer. When you use an Independent Repair Facility, YOU are the customer. A repair provider with integrity will warranty their work because it is the right thing to do, not because an insurance company told them to. Vision Collision provides a free Lifetime Written Warranty on all paint and body repairs.
Working with an Independent Repair Facility only takes longer or is more difficult if the insurance company intentionally makes it so in order to try to persuade you to work with their choice of providers. It is in their best interest for you to use one of their providers because these providers have agreed to charge them less for the repairs. Decisions about your vehicle need to be made based on what is best for YOU. It is against the law for an insurance company to attempt to steer you to their choice of providers. For more information on your rights as a consumer, click here.
You are not required to run all over town obtaining multiple estimates. If you are satisfied with your first estimate and first repair provider, you do not need to keep going to other shops. Your insurance adjuster will also need to inspect your car, but you should not need to continue to take it to other shops.
The shop you choose will work directly with your insurance company to build an estimate that is fair for both parties, factoring in market rates for labor and materials, parts, and other criteria. Do know that the same work will estimate for different amounts in different geographical regions, based on standard labor rates. For example, labor rates here in the Phoenix Valley are different for those in Flagstaff and Tucson. If work begins and more damage is later discovered, an additional estimate, called a Supplement, is submitted to your insurance company, requesting payment for the newly discovered damage.
You will be required to pay your deductible directly to the repair provider upon completion of your vehicle. The insurance company will pay the remaining amount.