While it might seem odd that a business would lament its busiest season, we truly do hope that no one suffers a car accident in winter. Even if they don’t involve personal injury, winter can make it more difficult to work through the consequences of even fender benders.
Not only do many winter conditions make roads more slippery and reduces visibility, but dealing with the aftermath of a collision in those conditions is also far more of a burden than when the weather is nicer.
But, even if you’re fortunate enough to escape unhurt from a car accident in winter, the trials and tribulations that result from that accident may only just be starting for you. In addition to the usual exchanges of insurance with other drivers, and the filing of police reports, you’re going to need to get your car fixed. And that’s when your problems can really begin.
Primarily, there a number of myths surrounding getting your car repaired after a collision. And the prevalence of those myths can mean that your car never gets fixed properly and you end up spending more money – much more money – than you have to.
The Biggest Myths of Collision Repair
These myths are deep seated and you’ll have a friend or family member who swears they are true. The myths become accepted because, luckily, most of don’t experience many car accidents and we are not familiar with the process, our insurance coverage and our rights. Without further ado, here are the most common myths about getting your car repaired following a car accident.
1. You Must Use the Body Repair Shop Your Insurance Company Tells You to Use
This is perhaps the biggest and, for car owners, the most costly myth there is surrounding accident repairs. Straight up: no, you are not obligated under any circumstances to use the collision repair centre that your insurance company tells you to use.
In fact, if your insurance company does tell you to use a particular shop, do everything you can to avoid taking your car there. And the more they encourage you to go to their shop, like calling it a ‘preferred’ shop or by telling you that your shop is too busy, the more you should resist.
Here’s why: insurance companies sign contracts with certain auto body repair shops under a “Direct Repair Program’ or DRP. Under a DRP, the insurance company promises to promote the repair shop to its customers in exchange for lower repair bills. Even if your insurance agent seems to have your best interests at heart, the company he represents is in business to make money, and paying the least amount possible for your repairs is part of that.
Needless to say, a DRP repair shop must cut costs somewhere to make up for the revenue lost by doing insurance repair work, and that usually means taking short cuts on the body work and repairs they perform.
Regardless of what your insurance company tells you, you have the right to get your car repaired at the shop of your choice – and, no, your warranties are not voided if you do so.
2. The Original Dealer Knows How to Repair Your Car the Best
While not as common, this one can be just as wrong, and just as costly. Yes, you will get OEM replacement parts from a dealer, but they are not the only place you can get them. And dealers are not usually body repair specialists.
3. All Damage to Your Car is Covered by Your Insurance Policy
Different policies cover different aspects of damage to different cars. You need to find out what is included in your insurance coverage and what isn’t.
Again, we hope you don’t suffer an accident ever and, if you do, we hope you and everyone else involved are uninjured. After that, the best thing you can do to make your life easier is to find a reputable repair shop that you are comfortable with, and get your car repaired as best as it can be. That way, you’ll avoid unpleasant surprises down the road due to shoddy materials and/or workmanship.