Being in a wreck is stressful. Among those stresses is having to choose a repair shop. Most insurance companies will recommend repair shops for you to choose from, but you have a choice of where you want your car repaired – recommended or not.
You might see that some shops have certifications. That means their technicians have been trained by the manufacturer to know how to properly repair that specific model of vehicle. If your recommended shop is not certified in your vehicle make, you might want to take a look to see if there are any shops nearby who are.
What a recommendation means
When your insurance recommends an insurance company, that means they have an established relationship with that shop. These relationships help make the repair process easier for the customer and allows insurances to recommend shops they trust.
The recommended shops also typically meet the insurance company’s deadline to repair the car quickly and keep costs low. However, faster is not always better.
A recommendation does not mean this is the only shop your insurance will work with, but it’s important to ask about how
Does ‘recommended’ mean ‘guaranteed’?
In many cases, the insurance company will guarantee the repairs made to your vehicle as long as you own it. Should the repairs not hold up after a certain period, the repairs can be fixed at no additional cost to you.
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By now you probably know how insurance works (hopefully). You pay monthly for a certain amount of coverage, and depending on what you pay, your insurance will cover part, or all, of your accident damage. But if you get in an accident that isn’t your fault, the other driver should have insurance to cover the damage.
Unfortunately, even though car insurance is required in almost all states, many drivers go without. This can result in additional fines or even a suspended license for uninsured drivers.
In some states, uninsured drivers are still required to cover certain costs of your accident. In New Hampshire, for example, insurance is not required, but a financial responsibility law requires individuals to show evidence that they have the resources to cover damages should an accident happen. However, buying the minimum car insurance policy is still easier and more financially responsible.
Some states also have no-fault insurance, which means that instead of determining who was to blame for the accident, each motorist is covered by their own insurance company. Your insurance pays regardless of who was at fault and you won’t have to prove it was the other driver to get covered. Texas is not one of these states, but they include Florida, New York, and Massachusetts among others.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
When you purchase your insurance, you’ll have the option to get uninsured motorist coverage (UIM). This will cover your costs if you get in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance.
UIM is required in some states and required to be offered by insurance companies in some states. It’s basically an extra guarantee that your accident costs will be covered should the worst happen.
If you get in an accident with an uninsured driver, you can also file a lawsuit against them. You have to build a case that shows that the other driver was at fault. This isn’t a guarantee you’ll get your bills paid, however. Many drivers don’t have insurance because they can’t afford it, let alone your medical bills. This route is often for more extreme cases of negligence and serious medical bills.
In Texas, we have a minimum requirement of bodily injury and property damage liability. This will cover up to a certain amount of damages to the other driver’s car damage and medical costs. The Texas minimum coverage is 30/60/25, which means it will cover the other driver up to 30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damages.
It’s important to know what kind of insurance you have and how it will supplement your accident costs.
UIM coverage is not required in Texas, but it is a good idea to have it anyway. Even if the other motorist in an accident does have insurance, but it doesn’t fully cover your costs, UIM can make up the difference.
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In collision repair, old parts that are damaged must be replaced with new ones. Customers generally prefer OEM parts, but don’t always know their options ahead of time.
There are three different kind of parts that can replace the damaged one. Each one being used can really affect the quality of the repair. The three types are: 1. OEM 2. Aftermarket 3. LKQ.
The first kind is Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM parts are created specifically for your vehicle by the original manufacturer of your vehicle. So, if you drive a Ford then the OEM part would come from Ford. Using OEM means that the part should function exactly as the part you are replacing, and provides a quality fit and function.
Aftermarket parts are made by anyone other than the car’s maker. They could be a direct replacement or something to change how the car performs or looks. There are a wide range of manufacturers for these parts, and therefore a wide range of quality. Non-profit organization CAPA (Certified Automotive Parts Association) tests and monitors aftermarket products. Aftermarket parts are the least expensive because they do not have to invest in research and development.
LKQ stands for Like, Kind, and Quality. These are recycled parts, and they vary greatly in quality and price. They are technically OEM, but can provide a lot of challenges due to previous damage or problems with paint matching.
When choosing a part, technicians are concerned with the 3 F’s:
Fit: This concerns with how well the part will latch onto the car. Many parts must either click into place or be screwed in.
Function: The new part must do the same quality of work that the old part had before being damaged. A plus side is a new part can go above the quality of a new part if upgrading. The negative side of choosing a cheaper part might risk the quality of function.
Finish: This is to make sure that the part looks like it is a part of the car and not an added-on part that sticks out that sore thumb.
Most auto body professions prefer to work with OEM parts because they have met Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and, frankly, they fit better. But if price is an issue, your auto body professional will know trusted aftermarket manufacturers to help keep repairs in budget.
Your insurance company, on the other hand, may mandate that they will only pay for a certain kind of part. You may still have the option to pay the difference for OEM parts if they will only pay for aftermarket parts.
As a consumer, always be aware of your options, and ask questions.
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When you are involved in a car wreck, you may not have the time to research where you want your car fixed. Your insurance company may recommend a collision repair center, and it may seem like an easy solution to go with that shop. However, you have the right to choose where you want your vehicle repaired.
Look for a certified collision repair shop, which means technicians at that location have completed training by the manufacturer to repair that vehicle model.
An insurance company may or may not recommend a local body shop offers certified repair.
Using the Insurance Recommendation
The majority of insurance companies have a list of auto body shops with which they have established relationships and that meet their criteria. These shops may include cheaper prices and fast repairs.
If you decide to use the recommended shop, be sure to ask questions. Find out if that collision center uses cheaper parts to offset low insurance payments. Ask around for recommendations about that location, and do a quick search online for reviews.
Perks of a recommended body shop
Using a body shop recommended by your insurance company can have benefits. Ask if your insurance provider will guarantee the repairs for as long as you own it. If the repairs do not hold up while you own the car, your insurance company will take care of further repairs.
AMM Collision works with any insurance company. Because we believe in providing you the highest quality repairs, we always use OEM (or original equipment manufacturer) parts to ensure they fit, will function properly, and that your car maintains its value.
When you need collision repair, get a free estimate for collision repair straight from your smartphone.
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Anytime a car owner has work performed on his or her vehicle, it’s typically expected that the collision repair will last. Obviously, there’s not a 100 percent guarantee of that. This is why it is important to have the auto body repairs made at a local auto body shop that offers a lifetime warranty.
If a body shop offers lifetime warranty, this means the shop guarantees their work will be the best quality, and should anything go wrong with the repairs, the shop backs that promise.
The Benefits of Lifetime Warranty
A warranty is similar to the idea of insurance. It’s there should you need it. Typically, a lifetime warranty is good for as long as you own the vehicle. If a problem occurs with the repairs made months or years after, you can take it back to that body shop and the issue will be fixed with no cost to you.
We Get Better at What We Do
The repair shop will pay out of pocket for warranty repair work. When shops lose money on repairs, they will likely review what went wrong and learn how to correct it so the repairs will last in the future. That means that we not only want to produce our best work on your initial visit, but when a customer returns with insufficient repairs, we learn and adapt, better serving our customers every time.
The best time to inquire about a lifetime warranty is when you get the estimate. Ask if there are different types offered. Some collision repair centers will offer more than one warranty, one for body work and a separate one for paint services.
At AMM Collision, we stand behind the work we do on your car by offering a lifetime guarantee for body and paint work.
Give us a call for a free estimate and our friendly team will answer any questions you may have about the warranties we offer. Our goal is to provide the highest quality repairs that last.
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After an accident, your insurance company may recommend an auto body repair shop for your repairs. Some may feel obligated to use the recommended shop, but the choice is always yours on which collision center you want to use. Here are some pointers on how to decide where you want to go.
As you choose a body shop, remember that you want certified collision repair. This means the technicians at that repair shop have been trained by the manufacturers to make repairs to your specific model of vehicle.
Choosing your insurance’s repair shop recommendation could have benefits. Some insurance companies will guarantee the repairs for as long as you own the vehicle. If there is an issue with the repairs, they will be fixed at no cost to you. This could be beneficial in the long run and shows your insurance company has confidence in their chosen repair shop.
Deciding on the recommendation
Most insurance providers have a list of preferred repair shops. Remember, your agent can’t make you use a shop on their list. You have the right to choose where you want your vehicle repaired.
Preferred repair shops normally meet criteria set up by the insurance provider, such as meeting their quick deadlines for repair and providing the services at a low cost. Efficient repairs should still maintain quality, and faster does not always mean the work is performed correctly.
If you choose to use the insurance recommendation, ask if that shop uses less expensive parts or parts from the manufacturer. Manufacturer parts (or OEM parts) often fit and work better than aftermarket parts, and therefore have a better chance of having your repair last. Some shops may cut costs by using cheaper parts because of low payments from insurance companies.
AMM Collision is a preferred body shop with most insurance companies, but we work with any insurance provider. At all of our auto body repair shops, we use manufacturer recommended parts for the highest quality repairs. Contact our team for a free estimate or download our estimating tool on your smartphone for a quick and easy process that will get you back on the road.
The Texas Hill Country has seen more than its share of “100-year” floods in the past 5 years. Some cars were severely damaged from the flooding. When it comes time to replace their vehicles, car owners need to do their homework. You want to be sure the car wasn’t damaged by a flood, then repaired just enough to pass inspection so it could be sold.
If this happens to a vehicle, there is no guarantee the quick repairs were made correctly by a certified auto technician who is highly trained by auto makers to repair that specific model of vehicle. Most newer vehicles are entirely computerized in function and if a car was immersed in water for a period of time, it can do far more extensive damage than what is immediately noticeable.
Know the history of the vehicle
The car’s history may possibly tell you if the car was flooded. Vehicles that are totaled after a flood are issued flood or salvage titles. If the car was repaired to pass inspection and sell, it may have a rebuilt title. But the title may not give you the complete details you need to be confident of a used car purchase.
It is a good idea to have a used car inspected by a certified auto technician to determine the complete extent of vehicle damage.
Get a pre-owned car inspected
Unlike most collision damage, flood damage is not always visible. Mechanical components and the electrical system should be looked at by a highly skilled technician. Just because parts turn on or appear to operate, they may actually have damage. The undercarriage and engine need to be inspected as well to guarantee that it is properly working.
A road trip is intended to be fun. No one plans on getting in an accident, and few people think ahead to what they might do if they get into one several hours down the road.
The first thing you should do is check with your insurance agent. If you need a tow, you’ll want to tow it to a nearby shop. If the vehicle is driveable, you can choose to get your car repaired where you are or back home.
Insurance coverage on a road trip depends on where your trip takes you. Before you leave on your trip, check your insurance policy to see where you are covered and review the details of your coverage plan.
If you travel anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, you are likely covered. If your trip is to Mexico, Central America, South America, or any other location, contact your insurance agent regarding coverage.
As you travel, remember that laws are different from state to state and different in other countries. Check the driving laws for the location you are going and all points in between, plus the insurance laws for those areas. The minimum requirements for coverage vary in different areas.
No matter where you are located, reporting the accident to your insurance company is the same.
Schedule a repair
If you need a tow, most insurance policies will cover the cost within a certain radius from the accident. The insurance company can also schedule the tow no matter where you are located and can reserve a rental car for you, if needed. If you choose to have your vehicle towed back home and you are far away, discuss the coverage with your insurance agent. It’s likely you will have to cover the cost for a long-distance tow.
AMM Collision is an Austin and Central Texas auto body repair shop. We will arrange a tow and rental car for you if you choose us for repair.
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As a driver in the busy Central Texas area, it can be overwhelming to find a quality collision repair shop that you can trust. Getting the best value for what you pay is also important since collision repair shops charge different prices.
It takes some research and plenty of questions to narrow down the right body shop that will meet your needs. As you search, keep a few steps in mind that will help you determine which is a quality auto body shop.
Everyone wants to find a repair shop that is convenient to them: one of the biggest factors here is the location. It may be more convenient to go to the closest repair shop, but prices in that area may also affect the price of your repair. If it is in an area where property is more expensive, they may charge more per hour for labor to cover the overhead costs.
2. Ask about certifications
When inquiring about auto body shops, find out if the shop is certified by the maker of your car. The certification verifies that the shop has the equipment needed to repair your vehicle and the technicians are trained properly. Manufacturers will train techs themselves to make sure their repairs meet manufacturer standards.
3. Get recommendations
Talk to people you know to find out where they take their cars for auto body repair. One of the best ways to find a good shop is to go where someone you trust has also had a great experience.
There are also plenty of reviews online via Google and Yelp, and possibly the auto body shop’s site. Also, the Better Business Bureau can let you know if a body shop has multiple complaints. If there are several good recommendations for the same shop from sources you trust, it’s likely that shop performs quality work.
A reliable collision shop stands behind the work it does to a vehicle. Inquire about the warranty to body repairs and to paint on your car. Find out specifically how long the warranty lasts and what it covers.
5. Ask about estimates
When inquiring about estimates, find out if the repair shop offers free estimates, and ask if they use the insurance company’s estimate or their own.
You’ll want a repair shop that provides their own estimate based on the technician’s interpretation of repairs, rather than the insurance company’s estimate of what work needs to be done. The insurance company has an interest in keeping their cost as low as possible, sometimes causing them to skimp on what is needed.
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