After a vehicle collision, there’s a lot happening. You need to deal with any medical issues that arise, you need to figure out whether or not your car can be driven, and you need to decide on the logistics of possibly not having your car while it is repaired. Dealing with auto insurance can be frustrating with so much else to sort out. Working with a high-quality partner like Purnell Body Shop can make every part of the insurance, estimate, and repair process simpler.
Many people think contacting the insurance company is a huge inconvenience. While the insurance process can definitely be time consuming, it doesn’t have to be a headache. There are a few simple steps, and we can help with them.
First, file a claim
If you are using your insurance company to pay for repairs, you’ll need to let your insurance company know that there has been an accident and that you need to file a claim. The claim basically tells the insurance company that you’re asking them to help pay for damages.
If you already know which shop you want to fix your car, this is the time to notify your insurance company’s claims department of your choice! It is the responsibility of the claims department to collect the Facts of Loss. During this process, the claims department will be asking your questions regarding how the damage occurred.
Collecting the Facts of Loss
- Time of Day
- Direction of Travel
- Names of Occupants in the Vehicle
- Was Anyone Injured?
- Year, Make & Model of Vehicle
- Was Anyone Ticketed by The Police?
- Is there a Police Report?
Understandably, answering a bunch of questions can be tough if you’re already feeling rattled from the accident. But, don’t be afraid to ask questions too. Your insurance company’s claims department understands that, while they deal with the ins and outs of claims all day long, you don’t. They should be willing to help you find the information they need.
Getting an Estimate
Over the last couple years, so much has changed in our industry, specifically as it relates to an insurance company generating an estimate for a collision repair job. When determining how to best manage a claim, the goal of an insurance company is to establish a robust file of data on the accident and resulting damage. It used to be common place for a representative of the insurance company to review your vehicle’s damage in person at a repair shop or at your home for the purpose of gathering more data than that which was collected as a result of the initial claim, and ultimately generating an estimate.
Estimates via Photo Apps
This option is becoming commonplace these days, and if you have not participated in a claim in several years, you should make yourself aware of how this process is being executed. The first method is via a smartphone app. A driver will be instructed by his or her claims department to download a smartphone app. The app will walk the user through how to best catalog the details and take photos so that representatives of the insurance company may later review details offsite. Your insurance company will then email you the estimate. You are now ready to choose your repair shop and have your vehicle fixed.
Estimates via Body Shops
Another common method that insurance companies are employing is to rely on collision shops like ours or third-party appraisal services for the creation of an estimate. When an insurance company asks our shop to complete an appraisal, we look at the damage that we can see without disassembling the vehicle. We are asked to complete a comprehensive file on the vehicle which includes images as well as an accounting of pricing for parts and labor required to complete the job. We then submit this file, complete with estimate to the insurance company who will then submit it back to the customer. The customer can then choose from the following:
- Have the vehicle repaired at our shop
- Have the vehicle repaired at another shop who would be subject to repairing the vehicle based on the existing estimate
- Take a cash payout from the insurance company and choose to have the vehicle repaired directly through other methods or not repaired at all
Insurance companies have to deal with a great deal of data in order to stay in business. One data point they monitor is the number of active policies they have in a given area. With that information, they decide how appraisals will be completed in that marketplace. Should they use staff appraiser or independent appraiser? If they have a large book of business in a market, most choose to use a Direct Repair Program. Our shop has a Direct Repair relationship with several major insurance carriers. This means that insurance companies have opted to rely on Purnell Body Shop to write estimates, take all the required photos and electronically upload them to a specialized program for review, prior to any repairs being completed to the vehicle. This process is the most cost effective for them and proves to be the fastest for the customer, time and again.
Because of our solid working relationship with insurance companies, we make the estimate process simpler. Since we can often get your estimate completed more quickly, we can start work sooner. This speeds the entire repair process along.