Insurance is your protection in the event of an accident. As stated earlier, your vehicle is probably the second largest investment you have. Preserve it's value - and your safety - by having it repaired professionally. In this "watch a youtube video, do it yourself, and save money" world, some things are better left to those professionally trained and industry certified, such as I-CAR or ASE certified technicians. At Steve's Body & Frame we invest in our technicians to keep them up-to-date on industry changes. Our technicians invest their time to excell at what they do.
Never drive a collision damaged car. Driving a damaged vehicle can endanger your life, that of your passengers, as well as endangering other people and property. It is unsafe and you will be liable for 100% of any damage to your vehicle or any other person or property caused by doing so. Trying to save the cost of having your car towed to a shop can be dangerous! It certainly isn't worth the risk. It is always better to be cautious after being involved in an accident.
An insurance company may ask you to take your vehicle to a particular drive-in claims center to estimate the damages. That's not a problem if your vehicle is safe to drive. If that claims center is also a collision repair shop, you are NOT obligated to leave it there for repairs. The choice of what facility will repair your vehicle is YOURS. It is illegal and unethical for an insurance company, an insurance appraiser, or an insurance agent to coerce you to use any particular repair facility.
If you know which repair facility you plan to use, share that with the insurance company. An insurance representative may make statements about not being able to guarantee the work of a body shop outside their "network" or outside their "preferred shops" list. Steve's Body & Frame stands behind any work we do, and we are so confident in our work that we give you a Lifetime Warranty on all repairs - and we will back it up in writing after the completion of your repairs.
It isn't unusual for there to be big differences in repairs estimates. Sometimes, a lower estimate may not include all necessary work. If you're not sure why the estimates for your repairs are so different, please ask us. We can review the estimates with you and help you to understand what is needed to repair your vehicle properly.
You should always choose a shop that has Unibody repair equipment with certified technicians, such as I-CAR or ASE. Steves Body & Frame has both I-CAR and ASE certified technicians on staff ready to repair your car or truck to pre-accident condition.
It is important to know what your insurance covers. If you are the claimant on a liability claim, the responsible party's insurance company is required to provide you with a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. What if you are the at fault driver? Do you know if you have rental car coverage if you are at fault? If so, how much will the insurance pay toward a rental? How much will you have to pay? Now is the time to ask, not at the moment you need a rental. Avoid the anxiety and ask your insurer now.
Never hesitate when you need to ask questions - whether it's the insurance adjuster, claims representative, repair facility, or even the rental company. Understand the estimates provided, the insurance coverage, the liability obligations, etc. Since we all forget some details, you need to take detailed notes regarding your claim: the claim number, contact names, contact numbers, as well as email addresses of everyone involved. Document a conversation by making notes of everything discussed. You never know when you'll need that information. Write out your list of questions before you make any phone calls so you're sure to ask them when you have the right person on the phone. Need assistance? Call Steve's Body & Frame. We'll do our best to answer all your questions, or offer suggestions on where to get the right answers.
On the other hand, taking the right steps, asking the right questions, and being prepared can help move the process along. Everyone involved is going to work hard to address your needs as a customer, but you'll still need to have patience. Regrettably, you likely aren't the only customer (or claim) they are processing. Everything else in the world has gotten faster over the years, except (1) the government and (2) insurance claims.
The number of insurance companies using mobile apps for owners to open insurance claims and / or submit images of a damaged vehicle is growing. Unfortunately, photo estimates are only as good as the pictures taken of the damage. These images only provide a "first estimate" based on superficially observable damage. Until your car or truck is on the rack, no one can accurately assess how much damage has been done. While a picture may be worth a thousand words, it can't show the damage beneath the surface. Steve's Body & Frame will address any discrepancies with the insurance company.