Tire Insurance: Myths and Facts About Road Hazard Policies

Insurance–it’s everywhere. One can insure just about anything. Are tires an investment one needs to insure? Tire insurance, also called a road hazard policy, road hazard warranty, or tire reimbursement plan, is a rapidly growing industry in the automotive world.

Tire warranty plans pay in full or in part for the replacement or repair of damaged tires and/or rims from “road hazards.” Road hazards are defined as pot holes, debris, nails, wood, and other hazards found in the road. Curbs, sidewalks, and stone walls are not road hazards. This is an important distinction to consider when deciding if tire insurance is right for you (discussed further ahead).

Tire plans last for a specific period of time and tire wear tread-depth. Some plans last 2-3 years. Others can last 5 years or 60,000 miles. Several plans come with fixed amounts of coverage: $500 per year up to 4 years. Many contracts require three years of law school to comprehend. In terms of tread depth, a tire is usually considered worn out (and thus the plan null and void) at 2/32 to 3/32 of an inch.

Another important distinction is in the type of plan.

Tire reimbursement plans are just what they say. You, the plan holder, will be reimbursed after the claims process is finalized–usually 2-8 weeks. There is an out-of-pocket expense. These plans are often sold by new car dealerships. The prices can range from $300 to $600 dollars.

Road hazard policies operate similarly to reimbursement plans. However, some tire insurance providers, in partnership with the repair facility, may have a direct-pay relationship. Thus, there would be no out-of-pocket expense, except for applicable deductibles, and items not covered in part or in full. These plans are primarily sold by tire dealers and repair shops. The prices range from $10 to $30 per tire. They also can be based on a percentage of the cost of the tire: usually 12% to 15%.

Both types of plans have a number of variables, requiring a magnifying glass to read the fine print. Also, many are pro-rated warranties, covering only a percentage of the cost of the tire based on its wear.

Claims and Coverage

Depending on the plan, claims are initiated by the repair shop. The process is fairly smooth, although there can be a significant delay from the provider for authorization. This delay may be an hour or an entire weekend. This means that you’ll have to “ok” the tire replacement, and then hope it’s authorized for the full amount, or drive on your spare.

Some plans offer national coverage either among their service facilities or from other repair centers. Claims procedures will vary. Others only provide local coverage, or coverage at the selling facility.

Limitations

Tire insurance does not mean that everything is covered. Pro-rated warranties are based on the wear and tear of the tire. You may get 75%, 50%, or only 10% coverage depending on the tread-depth. You’ll pay the remainder. While there are plans that offer full coverage, even these have limitations, or they may conflict with a repair shop’s policies.

For example, many plans allow for a maximum of $30 to mount and balance one tire, and a maximum of $15 to repair a tire. However, sport tires often have significantly higher mounting and balancing fees–upwards of $50 per tire–and tire repair prices can exceed $90. There are also discrepancies on the tire and rim prices themselves, which in the end, may have to be supplemented by the service customer.

Although there usually is not an issue with the latter given the competitive market, the service center’s price mark up may be unacceptable to the plan provider. In this case, the service center needs to lower the price or you, the service customer, need to pay the difference–or go somewhere else. This does happen!

Rim Replacement and Repair

Rim replacement is becoming less frequent. With the high cost of aluminum wheels and sport wheel packages, tire insurers have opted to have them repaired. Repair will only be done if the rim does not hold air. What this means is that even if the rim is warped–enough to cause a vibration and even premature tire wear–they won’t replace it. Rather, they will send it out to be straightened and repaired.

Rims are replaced only if the damage is so extensive that the new tire, when mounted on the rim, won’t hold air. However, even in this case, especially if it’s an expensive sport wheel, they may still attempt to repair it.

Repairing rims is a bad option. While some rim repair is acceptable, badly warped or damaged rims will in no way ever be the same.

Alignments

If a car hits a road hazard hard enough, such as a pot hole, it’s wise to have the alignment checked. Road hazard policies and tire reimbursement plans do not cover alignments. The service customer will have to pay for this procedure.

Road Hazard Protection Positives

Some plans include tire rotations, wheel balancing, and nationwide coverage.

Myths

Can I pop all 4 tires and get a new set of tires?

You can try. But this type of claim will trigger a number of red flags with the insurer. The policy holder will likely send out adjusters and/or require photographs. You will also have a difficult time explaining how a “road hazard” caused all 4 tire pop.

New tires come with a warranty.

New tires do come with a warranty by the tire manufacturer (Michelin, Yokohama, Goodyear…etc), but not a road hazard warranty. The warranty by the tire manufacturer only covers defects in workmanship. New tire warranties do not cover punctures or damages from external sources. This is why “road hazard” protection is being pushed.

New tires are rarely defective. If there is a problem, it’s usually noticed when balancing the tire. Or, there is a drivability concern such as vibration or noise. If there’s a defect it’s generally caught right away, and the tire swapped out.

It’s so cheap; it’s a no-brainer, right?

Actually, the experts don’t agree with this statement.

The Economics of Tire Warranties

An article from the Washington Post by Terence O’Hara explains the economics of extended warranties and purchase protection plans in general. It is quite fitting for road hazard warranties. He writes:

The decision to buy an extended warranty…defies the recommendations of economists, consumer advocates and product quality experts, who all warn that the plans rarely benefit consumers and are nearly always a waste of money.

‘[Extended warranties or purchase protection plans] make no rational sense,’ Harvard economist David Cutler said. ‘The implied probability [of having an issue with the product] has to be substantially greater than the risk that you can’t afford to fix it or replace it. If you’re buying a $400 item, for the overwhelming number of consumers that level of spending is not a risk you need to insure under any circumstances.’

In short, road hazard warranties are a waste of money. Don’t insure that which you can afford to replace.

Numbers Game and Slim Chances

Like all insurance, tire insurance plans are a numbers game. However, this is a game you have a 98% chance of losing. Insider statistics show that the percentage of claims paid out by providers is as low a 2%.

Curbs

Another interesting note is that a lot of tire damage is caused by curbs. Curb damage is not covered under most road hazard policies. High granite curbs with sharp edges slice through tens of thousands of tires per year.

You Won’t Notice

Many people don’t even notice tire damage. Other than to see if the tires are holding air, who “really” looks at tires? Tires are subject to a whole host of external influences which cause bubbles, slices and gouges. Despite the potential dangers of damaged tires, the damage very often does not translate into any noticeable drivability issue. The point is that if you don’t notice any tire damage you can’t benefit from the coverage.

Research Shows

Those raving about the benefits of a road hazard policy are the actual folks in the industry who stand to benefit from the sale. They’ll argue that it’s so cheap–only $10 to $20 per tire. Even so, for four tires, that’s $80 based on the “possibility,” the “chance,” of damaging a tire that meets the repair/replacement requirement protocols.

Auto Insurance

If a rim and tire has incurred significant damage, it’s quite likely that other problems have resulted as well. The first is that the vehicle may have been jarred out of alignment. Secondly, hub bearings, front end components: tie rods, spindles, ball joints, and a variety of other components may have sustained damage. In this case, auto insurance, which you are already paying for, will pay for everything–brand new.

Free Road Hazard Warranties

Many tires come with road hazard warranties FREE. In other words, in an effort to secure retailers, many tire distributors provide service centers FREE road hazard insurance. Some shops pass this on to their tire customers, others sell them. Ask if the tire “comes” with a road hazard protection policy. If not, request that one be provided at no additional charge. It’s worth a shot.

Also, some car manufacturers provide road hazard warranties FREE of charge for 12 months or 12,000 miles. If you’re buying a new car or even used, ask that the dealer provide a complimentary road hazard policy (after all the wheeling and dealing is done, of course), and just before you commit.

What’s the best road hazard policy?

Money in your bank account.

It’s Spring, There Is a Hail Storm – Hail Damage Repair Information

Luckily for car owners without garages, most hail storms do not cause body damage to cars until the hail is larger than ½ inch in diameter. Even then, it takes bigger hail than that to cause significant damage. The first thing that happens after a hail storm is car dealers offer Hail Sales and hail repair outfits pop up like mushrooms after a rain.

  1. Hail Sales offer damaged cars at prices well below book value. However, the real result is that car dealers simply make bigger commissions and sell more cars. Any car sold with unrepaired damage means that the damage was either too severe or too expensive to be worth fixing. Every car that a dealer can fix before sale with Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) will have been fixed already.
  2. Repainting a car after PDR or other hail damage removal adds extra costs. PDR works well for small dents where the dent has no cracked paint within the dent.
  3. Dents to large for PDR to repair must be handled at a conventional auto shop and the repairs will need to be painted and finished.
  4. Large or deep dents or those where the metal is very stretched or even cracked require a body shop repair job. Deep dents that break the paint will result in rust to the metal body of the car if left unrepaired.
  5. Some insurance companies pay car owners the amount on its estimate, regardless of whether the owner gets the repairs done or not. Keeping the insurance money without fixing it is legal but choosing to leave damage unrepaired can impact your ability to get full-coverage insurance on the car. It can also affect the amount you get for future repairs or similar damage since future occurrences will be excluded from the coverage.
  6. Having a car’s hail damage repaired using insurance money does result in the repair being listed on the CarFax vehicle report from that point onward. This helps insurance companies avoid bogus damage claims and also is used by car buyers to know the damage and repair history of their potential vehicle.
  7. Owners who choose to leave it unrepaired may find the cost of the hail damage deducted from damage claims later in the life of the car. Document any repairs to hail damage to ensure future claims are paid in full.
  8. If you own your car outright, you need to decide how long you plan to own the car and how important the repair is to you. If you have a car that has little value and plan to drive it until it dies, there is not much point in repairing hail damage.
  9. If you have an active loan on your car, your lien holder will probably require verification that the damage was fixed. In some cases, they might allow you to apply the hail damage repair check to the balance of your car loan.
  10. Get damage estimates and compare that with the claim payout offer minus your deductible before making a decision about filing an insurance claim.
  11. The insurance company may “total out” an older car with only relatively minor hail damage simply because the vehicle has less useful life remaining. Motorcycles can handle very little hail damage before insurance companies consider them a total loss.

When checking for hail damage or getting an insurance estimate, make sure to check windshields for cracks and chips. If glass is involved, get that repaired and make sure the permanent seals along windshield and rear window edges are properly repaired and set, too.

Insurance Totaled My Car – What This Means

“Your vehicle is a Total Loss.” These words, more often than not, spark immediate controversy between an insured and their insurance company. The main cause of controversy between an insurance company and an insured as it relates to total loss is that most people feel their vehicle is worth more than it really is.

A vehicle, though historically not a good investment, is very personal to us. Many of us spend a great deal of time in our vehicles each day and grow attached to our car. Many others ”trick out” their cars and inherently feel that their modifications enhance the value of the car.

I thought it might help some folks if they heard exactly how an insurance company views this and how they go about compensating you for your car should it be determined to be a totaled. There are typically two main things involved in understanding this process: What exactly is a Total Loss and how is the value of a car determined. In this article I am going to discuss and define a Total Loss from an insurance companies perspective.

So, what exactly does it mean when your insurance company deems your vehicle a total loss? In general, there are two types or measurements if you will when it comes to making this determination: Financial or Economic Total Loss and an Obvious Total Loss.

Financial or Economic Total Loss

A vehicle is often declared an Economic Total Loss when the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the vehicle, plus sales tax, less your deductible. I am sure you have heard that there is a percentage used to determine if a car is an Economic Total Loss. You have probably heard numbers from 50% to 70%, or more. This is true, however, it is important to know that not all states set an actual percentage and that for the states that do not set percentages, it is up to the insurance company to determine what that will be.

Although all insurance companies that are free to set this number themselves are all different, a common number you will hear is 70%. What exactly does that mean? I thought a quick illustration might help:

Market Value $15,000

Plus tax $ 1,050 (7% used as example)

Sub-total $16,050

Less Deductible $ 500

Total Loss Value $15,550

Cost of Repairs $11,662

Repairs are 75% of the value

In the example above, your insurance company would likely determine your vehicle to be an Economic Total Loss. One thing to remember is that if you are paid the value of your vehicle, the insurance company will retain the salvage or damaged vehicle and then sell it to a vendor. Most insurance companies have negotiated contracts with salvage buyers and will use that avenue to recoup some of the money paid out for the total loss. In the example above, your insurance provider would know that your car had a salvage value of $3,000 (example). So, when making their total loss decision, they would factor in this amount and subtract it from the total amount paid of $15,550, bringing their net cost to $12,550.

One other brief point to make that is worth noting is that your insurance carrier will also factor in estimated supplemental damages were your car to be repaired. From my experience as an adjuster and claims manager, there are often supplemental or additional damages/repairs identified once a car begins the repair process. These damages are often discovered on “tear down” or after parts of the vehicle are removed and additional damages are more visible. In many cases it is almost certain that there will be additional damages based on the visible damages, however, an adjuster will only write for what they can see and note that additional damages are likely.

Obvious Total Loss

An Obvious Total Loss or OTL is in which the damages to a vehicle are so extensive in terms of repair and/or putting the structural integrity of the vehicle at risk with a repair, that the car is determined to be an OTL. Some examples of an OTL are:

  • Fire Damage
  • Rollover
  • A theft
  • Extensive Water Damage
  • High impact front-end collision
  • T-Bone or hard hit to the side of a vehicle at the center-point

In most cases, a claims adjuster will not have the direct authority to determine a vehicle to be an OTL. The two insurance companies I worked for required a manager approval to make this call. With today’s technology, that can be done easily in the field by simply sending some detailed photos to a Claims Manager or Property Damage Manager. In this case, there isn’t a cost of repairs necessarily but the valuation process is the same.

Hopefully this helps you understand what is meant when you are told that your car is a total loss. Your insurance claims adjuster should explain all of this to you, however, having a basis understanding will certainly help should you find yourself in this situation.

6 Types Of Auto Insurance Coverage That First-Time Car Owners Need To Know

But, it still doesn’t take away the importance of covering your car with a good auto insurance plan, since you don’t know what will happen to your car later.

For instance, in the time of a big accident, you need to pay all of the fixing up costs by yourself if you don’t cover your car with a good car insurance plan. Thus, you don’t need to pay a dime just to get your car fixed when accidents happen. It is also the same with other unexpected things, such as theft, disaster, and faulty vehicle.

Here are 6 types of auto insurance coverage that first-time car owners need to know:

1. Accidents. Accidents happen at unexpected times. It can be caused by your own recklessness, or it can be caused by the recklessness of other drivers. Also, accidents can happen because of disasters, such as floods or fire. The point is that if your car is damaged because of any accidents, the auto insurance company will cover the cost of repair for your car.

2. Faulty car. Maybe, you are driving for a few miles down the road, and then in the middle of your travel, your car is faulty. The engine is in trouble and the car cannot move, or your tire is flat. This can become quite a problem for you. But fortunately, the insurance company will cover the cost of repairing your car in this emergency situation. Some companies might also offer roadside assistance for their clients.

3. Car make and model. The make and model of your car will also affect the type of car insurance that you get. If you have a brand new car, or if you purchase a luxury car, you will have a better coverage for damage. But, you need to pay more for the premium, since it might cost more money to repair the damage of your car. This is different if you buy a second-hand car with long mileage.

4. Personal fault. Sometimes, you might be driving your car, and because of your carelessness, you might cause an accident with other cars. Other cars may sustain some damages because of the accident, and other drivers may also need to be sent to the hospital. The car insurance plan usually provides the coverage cost for the car damage or medical problems caused by your personal fault.

5. Non-insured driver. The auto insurance company also offers the coverage for non-insured driver at the time when the driver causes an accident that creates damages for other cars. In this way, you don’t need to pay all the financial burdens by yourself, since the car insurance company will cover the cost for you.

6. Driver’s experience. If you are not too experienced with cars, then you might fall into the high-risk category for the car insurance company, since you will most likely to have accidents on the road. Thus, you usually need to pay more premium costs, but in exchange for that, you get better coverage for any damage. If you are already an experienced driver, you will fall into the low-risk category, and you will pay lower insurance costs since you may not file insurance claims often.

How to Select an Auto Repair Shop

Selecting an auto body repair shop can be a bewildering and confusing experience. There are hundreds of shops to choose from in any city and they all claim to offer the best prices, the fastest service, and the highest quality. Can they all be trusted? Or should you be on the lookout for scam artists and individuals trying to take advantage of unsuspecting customers?

Choose Value for Auto Body Repair

Low prices are an attractive promotion, but it is not always best to just go with the body shop that is offering the lowest priced repair. Though most body shops do honest work, there are some that cut corners or install used parts with informing customers just so they can lure people in with rock-bottom pricing. Getting value for car repairs is paramount – value is the combination of reasonable pricing and high quality work completed in a fair amount of time.

Protecting Yourself and Getting the Most out of an Auto Repair Shop

Before deciding on the low bid, or any price quote, find out more about the body shop. Do some research on the Internet and ask around for any reviews and testimonials. There are great online review sites on which people give unsolicited opinions about their experiences with local businesses. Any auto body shop you are considering should have mostly positive reviews – don’t let a few negative ones scare you away as almost all businesses will have a few dissatisfied customers from time to time.

A recent trend in the industry are the use of auto accident consultants. These individuals or companies have established relationships with a network of auto repair specialists and can offer understanding and insight into the workings of the industry. Car crash consultants are often able to offer connections to legitimate repair specialists and may even be able to save you money on a car repair.

The other way to protect yourself is to ask your insurance agent or carrier. Though you are not required to use a body shop they recommend, they do work with a variety of different legitimate repair shops. Using a recommendation from your insurance company may not mean you will get the lowest price, but it will ensure that your insurance company will not balk at paying the balance due.

Finding the right auto body shop can be frustrating, but the frustration level can be reduced with a little research and effort. Spend some time on the Internet, and talk to family, friends, neighbors, and peers. One last piece of advice – get at least three quotes before you select a shop. Shopping around may take a little extra time, but it is often worth the effort.

Tips, Tricks, And Advice On Auto Insurance

Don’t put yourself at risk of the financial burden by not having auto insurance for yourself or your teen drivers! Having auto insurance protects you and helps offset costs, should you be in a car accident. Use the following tips to pick the right auto insurance company to fit you or your teen driver’s needs.

As you choose car insurance, be sure to properly protect yourself when it comes to liability for property damage and bodily injury. The right amount of coverage in this area can make a big difference in the event of an accident. Not having enough coverage can leave you with a lawsuit that can be hard to recover from.

When insuring a teenage driver, lower your car insurance costs by asking about all the eligible discounts. Insurance companies generally have a discount for good students, teenage drivers with good driving records, and teenage drivers who have taken a defensive driving course. Discounts are also available if your teenager is only an occasional driver.

When considering insurance for a young driver, it is wise to not purchase an expensive car. Rates are high enough for teenagers, they will skyrocket depending on the type and worth of a car. In this situation, safety is one of the highest factors affecting insurance costs.

One of the best ways to drop your auto insurance rates is to show the insurance company that you are a safe, reliable driver. To do this, you should think about attending a safe-driving course. These courses are affordable, quick, and you could end up saving thousands of dollars over the life of your insurance policy.

When shopping for an auto insurance policy, most companies are going to offer extras like towing, road-side assistance, GPS services, and other add-ons. These may come in handy if you’re ever in a pinch, but they can be really expensive. Say no to these extras in order to save money on your insurance.

There are a lot of factors that determine the cost of your automobile insurance. Your age, sex, marital status and location all play a factor. While you can’t change most of those, and few people would move or get married to save money on car insurance, you can control the type of car you drive, which also plays a role. Choose cars with lots of safety options and anti-theft systems in place.

Check into how much you would save by using the same insurer for both your home and your car. Some companies offer a discount if you have multiple policies with them. The majority of companies today do insure a variety of items, so it is a good idea to look into the possibility.

To make sure you’re getting fair pricing in your premiums, verify that your reported information is accurate in your policy. For example, ensure that the make/model of your vehicle is correct, the number of miles on the vehicle when you took out the policy, etc. Even your reported commuting distance is important as shorter commuting distances can have a positive effect on your premium savings.

You will want to make sure to contact your insurance company if you get a divorce and no longer want your ex to be on your policy. If they get into an accident while they are on your insurance policy, it could cause your rates to go up, and you will have to pay for their mistake for the rest of the time you have a policy with that company.

When you purchase a new car, you should keep your insurance rates in mind and look for the best safety features you can get. Safer cars are cheaper to insure. Because insurance companies are responsible for medical liability, they will charge a lower premium for safe cars that minimize injuries in an accident.

Know the laws in your state concerning auto insurance. In almost every state, car insurance is compulsory. You can face stiff fines and penalties for not carrying adequate car insurance. Some states are even known to jail repeat no-insurance violators. Educating yourself is important so that you can comply with the laws.

When trying to decide on an insurance company for your auto insurance, you should check into the department of insurance from your state. You will find some valuable information there which will include closed insurance cases, important financial data as well as licensing information. This research will help you decide if you feel comfortable trusting this insurance company.

Pay for your auto insurance coverage in one payment up front. When you pay in full you will not be charged interest charges as you would if you were paying monthly. This means some companies also offer you a discount if your coverage is paid for ahead of time. Monthly payments can be convenient, but they may not be as affordable as you would like.

If you live in an urban area or an area where there are many wild animals, you may want to consider animal collision on your insurance. Repairing a car after you have hit an animal, especially a large one, can cost you thousands of dollars. Animal collision covers all of these costs.

A big part of setting the cost for your auto insurance premiums has to do with the type of car that you drive. Remember that when you are in the market for a new car – cars that are more expensive to repair, for example, will often result in higher insurance rates.

Ensure that your car insurance plan pays up front for car rentals. Drivers whose policies do not include rental coverage may wish to secure additional insurance for this purpose. The extra policy can be as much as $20 per day. If your car requires major repairs, you could be paying for quite a while.

Don’t allow your teen or yourself to drive without auto insurance. Car accidents and car repairs can be incredibly expensive. Having auto insurance before something happens is important so you can protect you and your family from a financial struggle! Use the tips above to get auto insurance today!

Selecting an Auto Body Repair Shop

Due to the amount of time we spend on the road the chances of us needed to find a great auto body shop may come up more than once. Most of us get a little flustered at the thought of searching for the right place that can work in your price range. No one ever knows where to start though. Here are a few tips on choosing the perfect auto body shop for you.

The first step is finding an auto body shop that will fix your car to look like the collision never happened. Some good auto body shops will only have the ability to fix your car to a point called pre-loss condition. Pre-loss condition is when the mechanic fixes your cars appearance, body structure, and keeps your cars mechanical reliability.

Next comes customer service, our favorites. Everyone has horror stories about bad customer service in numerous places of business. However, if you are calling an auto body shop that means that lives were once in danger so they should immediately ask if anyone was injured. Their chance at making money should never overshadow your needs or concerns. Many body shops are only in the business because they know that everyone will need to have their car repaired at some point. Most of those businesses do not have a skilled and knowledgeable staff. That is why it is so vital to find the right body shop so you and your insurance company are getting what you have paid for.

When dealing with your insurance company, make sure that you fight for the right to pick your own repair shop. Most insurance companies and repair shops have a deal worked out to lower the shops cost in exchange for giving them business. The shop then cuts corners and leave out steps to keep the cost down. This in turn means you are paying the insurance company the inflated premiums and your deductible but are only receiving second rate repair. The insurance company may respond saying that they can not guarantee the work of other shops but in reality all good shops guarantee their work for as long as you own that car. If a shop says that they do not have that standard, it is a sign to keep looking.

Always ask the person who is estimating your damage questions. If you are working with a smaller shop the person you are speaking with will probably be the one working directly on your car. In larger chain shops they have sales people who do the estimates and have no direct connection or knowledge about your car. The techs working on your car may not want to rewrite you an estimate to make it the correct amount. Never be afraid to ask questions if you are confused. Larger shops may have fancy equipment and tools to make people believe that they are much more advanced then other shops but in reality, those fancy tools are rarely even used in fixing your car.

Always ask the body shop about their insurance programs or DRP (direct repair programs) because this may mean they can not create their own business and need the help of a deal. Not all shops that have these programs are bad shops but it can defiantly be a red flag.

The very best way to find a good body shop is by word of mouth, so ask around. Most people would never send you to a place where they were not satisfied with the work they were given.

Now when you are stuck in a bind after a collision you will have the right information and questions to ask before selection the body shop for you. The last and the most important thing to remember is, if you ever feel uncomfortable or pressured by a body shop, move on because they may be desperate for business because they are not known for their good service.

5 Key Steps To A Successful Autobody Repair

Autobody repair can really be a daunting task and surely requires a great deal of effort to successfully accomplish. This is particularly true if you are not fully aware of the basic information on getting a vehicle repaired. Here is an overview of the basic steps which may make the process easier:

1. Get an Estimate

In order to provide the most precise estimate possible, the collision estimator in most larger autobody shops will enter all the details regarding your repairs into a programmed estimating system. A report will then be generated outlining the amount of repair that your car needs along with the costs involved.

2. Get an Insurance Approval

Once you get a repair estimate from a reputable collision repair shop, an agent from your car insurance company may require to inspect the vehicle and project their own estimate for comparison. In most cases, your local body shop work with the insurance company to ensure the figures on the car repair estimate is in line with the amount from the insurance company as well as the repair procedures to fix the damages.

3. Ordering Parts

Before any car repair work begins and in most cases, before you are asked to bring your damaged car into the autobody shop, all parts are to be ordered to ensure they are available when the actual work begins. This is to guarantee that the repairs are done as quickly and efficiently as possible, having the least amount of inconvenience to you as their customer. Occasionally, there may be the need to place a special order for parts which can then add time to the repair process.

4. Body Repair and Finishing

Depending on the severity and nature of the damage to your car, there may be a need to perform major body repairs. This repair process involves replacing damaged exterior parts and performing any necessary metal painting and finishing.

5. Inspection

When everything in your car has been put back together, a test-drive of your car is necessary in order to perform a quality control system check. This must be done to ensure that everything functions correctly after the repair. Only when you and the technician are both satisfied that the car repair process is successfully completed.

Understanding the Auto Insurance Claims Process

If you own a car, truck, motorcycle or any other vehicle, you know you need related insurance. All is good as long as you pay your monthly premium and do not make a claim.

Then you are involved in an accident. What then?

For many auto insurance policyholders, the auto insurance claim process is very, very complicated. Here, we bring you the basics of understanding with the following oft-repeated questions.

How long does it generally take to process an auto insurance claim?

A: If the insurance company has all the facts, a settlement should be achieved fairly quickly. By providing much of the details involved in the collision, the policyholder him or herself will help get the process off the ground. Any insurance company worth its reputation will do its utmost to process the claim as efficiently as possible.

Why is the estimated cost of repairs less than the actual payment check?

A: This is because the auto policyholder must first pay out-of-pocket for the deductible. Only after this, is the remaining balance given through a check.

What is the reason for the auto lien holder to be placed on the insurance payment check?

A: Many states make this a requirement for the simple reason that the lien holder has an insurable interest in the repair work done on the vehicle. In order for the policyholder to get the funding for the repair, he or she must be in touch with the lien holder.

What is the meaning of Direction of Payment?

A: Most auto repair shops require you to sign a Direction of Payment form so that they have documented evidence that the insurance company has permission to pay them for the repair work they complete.

What is common practice of insurance companies in regard to rental cars during the time the insured car is in the shop for repairs?

A: Most times, an insurance company will supply a rental car if the insured car is inoperable and in for repairs.

What about towing costs?

A: Generally speaking, towing is a covered service provided by the auto insurance company following an accident.

What is the procedure if the insured incurs injury during an auto accident?

A: The policyholder should be in touch with the insurance company if he or she is injured. The claims person will inform the policyholder about the related medical care and treatments that are covered under the policy.