Lets go over some things that should be covered “by you” before you get into an accident and may have to file a claim with your insurance company.

Many of the subjects in this post are on topics most people don’t think about until its
crunch time..”no pun intended”

Inspect your vehicle at regular intervals.I know this may seem like a no-brainer but in the past 30 plus years it’s surprising how many people I have heard say things like ” I don’t remember if that was like that ” or
” I don’t remember it being that way before the accident ”

* Keep a note pad in your vehicle and every day or at least once a week take a quick walk around, if you see a new scratch or door ding write it down and date it.

* Another way is with the use of a digital camera, Once a week or every month take a few photos of your vehicle and save them on your computer, this would be proof positive in the event of an accident that any questionable damage was or was not there prior to the accident.
Click here to see a diagram of how to take proper photos for insurance purposes.

But my car is new or I am the only owner, everything should be perfect.
Even if you are the original owner, or your vehicle is new don’t assume it’s perfect in every way.
It is common for people to believe a new vehicle has no flaws.
Look at the images below, this vehicle was purchased Brand new and in fact the owner has not even made the first payment at the time of this post but this vehicle has a couple issues that to a customer picking up their vehicle after collision repairs would find unacceptable and would assume are related to the loss when in fact it was like this all along.





As you can see from the photos above this vehicle has fit and finish issues from the get go, but since the vehicle is new most buyers would not even look for this sort of thing but it is very common in the industry.

If this vehicle ever ends up needing collision repairs chances are very good the customer will see these flaws at that time they are picking up the car from the shop.

The following image is of a vehicle that was purchased new and while it was in the shop for unrelated damage the vehicle owner asked us to repair a spot on the left quarter panel that had begun to rust, I suspected prior repairs but the vehicle owner assured me the car had NOT been in a collision or had any body work done prior to this time but the photos tell a different story as the entire lower edge of the quarter panel has body filler on it from prior body repairs.

Keep detailed records of maintenance or repairs.
If you happen to be involved in an accident that totals your vehicle it’s important to have receipts for any recent repairs as this can effect the ACV  “actual cash value” of your vehicle and may potentially increase the amount offered to you by the insurance company as a total loss payout.

Parts, Rentals, Deductibles and Betterment’s.
One of the most important factors in the repair process hinges on you doing your homework, many people acquire insurance just to have an insurance card to show in case they are ever required to produce this document for what ever reason but do not think or care about the coverage they actually have until it’s to late.

Understand your coverage; I know that some policies are confusing and hard to understand with all the legal mumbo jumbo and terminology.
Call your Ins. Rep. and have them explain anything you do not understand.
Make sure you have rental coverage, (It’s cheap)
Oh so many times I have had customers that assumed or thought they had rental coverage only to find out they don’t, “CONFIRM IT”

Assuming you have rental coverage, Ins. companies will usually have a per day max and or total dollar amount limit, do not rent beyond your means on the assumption your vehicle repairs will be completed by a certain date, I know you always wanted to drive the big luxury car or the Gas sucking SUV but be prepared and rent the cheapest model you feel comfortable in because what you have at this point is an “estimate” for repair cost and the time it will take to perform those repairs, not an exactimate, There are so many variables involved in the repair process that I will dedicate a post focusing on whats involved in the repair process later.

*TIP* If the time to repair your car are expected to be anywhere near your rental cap time it would be to wise return your rental over the weekends if possible.
A couple days could be the difference between you possibly having to pay out of pocket for any rental time that extends beyond your rental cap.

This should be covered in your policy; if not contact your Ins. Rep. for an explanation of the types of parts that will be utilized to repair your vehicle.
Do not complain about aftermarket or used parts being utilized to repair your vehicle unless you did your homework and chose a policy from a company that offers original parts replacement, again…do your homework.
Some of the alternate parts utilized will be the same across the board regardless of Ins. carrier; these items may include but not be limited to Radiators, AC condensers, Coolant etc.
If you have a newer vehicle that is still under warranty contact your dealer to insure these components will not affect the factory warranty.
If you find they will affect the factory warranty, call the shop to stop repairs at this point until you can speak with your Ins. claim Rep.

If you have had a recent policy change or renewal confirm with your agent your deductible is correct.
Often an agent will quote a cheaper rate without explaining the savings are due to a higher deductible or the lack of rental coverage.

Liability will cover the damage your vehicle causes to someone Else’s property.
Full coverage policy’s typically cover damage to the other persons property and yours.
Do not assume rental coverage or coverage for aftermarket parts you have installed are covered just because you have a full coverage policy.

Simply put diminished value is the value your vehicle looses due to damage being done to the vehicle and since it is no longer a vehicle that has not had any damage this affects the resale value and you are entitled to be compensated for this loss of value and not just the cost to repair your vehicle.

If your vehicle was involved in a collision prior to this one you may still be able to get diminished value but the amount may be adjusted to compensate for the prior loss.

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