When you have an accident, it’s important to know how the repair and insurance claim process works. While every insurance company and repair company works a little different, there are some common threads and problems to be on the lookout for.
We always recommend calling your insurance company if your vehicle has been damaged even if it’s just for auto glass repairs. If possible to wait for business hours, it can be very helpful to call your local agent – if you have one. While national companies and call centers can also do a great job, it has been our experience that your local agent is often available for a face-to-face meeting if needed and will walk you through the process a little differently.
Local agents will often direct you to seek a repair facility like Traverse Body and Paint Center. Armed with an estimate, you and whichever insurance company can determine if a claim makes sense. Sometimes, it doesn’t.
If you have basic liability insurance or are uninsured you will not be eligible for a claim. If you have an incident that causes damage to your vehicle covered by your comprehensive insurance or collision insurance, a claim must be filed to get money from your insurance company. It doesn’t always follow that a claim makes sense, however.
If you file an insurance claim, you pay a deductible to utilize the insurance. Even in no-fault insurance states like Michigan, if the other driver was ticketed for causing the accident it’s possible $500 towards your deductible will be covered by a process called mini tort. Increasingly, deductibles are moving towards $1000.
So, what to do when your repairs are less than your deductible? This is the perfect case when filing a claim doesn’t make sense. The only way you’ll know if you’re in this situation is if you’ve reviewed both your policy and received an estimate. We’ve had numerous customers feel the pain of having filed a claim first, just to find out that the repairs were less than their $1000 deductible.
While only your insurance company will know if filing a claim will adversely affect your policy even as an accident victim – generally speaking, more claims make you a higher insurance risk for them and justify raised rates. Sometimes, paying for repairs out of pocket just makes sense mathematically.
You’ve determined that it makes numerical sense to file the claim. You received both your initial estimate and a claim number, but there’s more going on behind the scenes. Damage can hide behind other damages, causing repair shops to routinely file a supplement to the claim with the insurance company. This happens seamlessly without additional involvement or cost on your part.
Supplements can be filed only if the claim is still open. If your insurance company cuts you a check directly in your name, keeping it uncashed could be to your benefit. Often, the act of cashing it will close your claim. If we discover more extensive damage (such as an auto frame repair) than was originally visible, it’s important that we can file a supplement for you.
If you’ve got damage you’d like to get repaired, we’d love for you to choose Traverse Body and Paint Center. We work hard to earn repeat business and happy customers. One of the ways we do this is reducing wait times at every stage of the process.
Start your process by calling your insurance agent (if applicable) and getting an estimate. We’ve streamlined our estimating process to take very little of your time. You can get your vehicle towed in even after hours. You can also bring in the vehicle for a quick inspection and be back on your way during business hours, or submit photos and information using our collision repair estimator.