Collision Repair FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions on Automotive Collision Repair

Automotive body repair can be an intricate and delicate process. Highway Motors craftsmen provide customers with a “like new” result on any repair. We understand that the repair process can be a very stressful and complicated ordeal, and we are here to help take that stress level down a notch.

Here are a few questions with answers we feel will be of assistance to anybody seeking to know more about accident damaged vehicles and their repair.

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Here are some of the most common questions asked in regards to collision repair

Is it hard to match my paint?

Yes, it very well may be, but a high-quality repair facility such as Highway Motors will ensure your satisfaction with the color matching process.

Here is a quick lesson on the paint-matching process:

  • All vehicles have what is called a manufacturer’s “paint code”. These codes are basically labels or plates placed in inconspicuous places such as under the hood, in a door jam, or in the trunk, that specifically identify the color of you car.
  • Paint manufactures use these codes to create paint mixing formulas that are used by the repair shop to mix paint that matches the “paint code”.
  • Highway Motors uses a state of the art computerized color matching system that matches the color of your vehicle.
  • Accurate paint-matching requires a high level of skill and a great deal of persistence. Be sure that you select a repair facility that will take the time produce a quality result.
Your estimate is higher than the one the insurance company wrote. Will I have to pay the difference if I want to bring my car to you for repair?

No, not normally. Insurance companies are obligated to return your vehicle to its pre-accident condition, and are generally willing to pay for a complete and correct repair. You are responsible for your deductible (if you have one) that is payable to the repair shop upon completion of the repair. The insurance company is responsible for repairs that are above and beyond the deductible, so it should not cost you more to choose a high quality repair facility.

Modern day vehicles are constructed in such a way that it is difficult to assess accurately all the damage upon first inspection. This is important to note because insurance adjusters typically include only visible damage in their estimates. When your vehicle is disassembled for repair, further damage is commonly discovered. A quality automotive collision repair facility should point out the additional damage and make arrangements for the insurance company to pay for the additional repairs, this is known as a “supplement”.

Can you save me (some of) my deductible?

An honest shop will always say “no”. Here’s why:

Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance carrier. It basically says that if you have a collision loss, you are responsible for the first portion of repairs (your deductible) and the insurance company will pay all the rest. Even if fewer repairs than agreed with the insurance company are done, you are still responsible for your deductible amount. There are legitimate ways to reduce you deductible cost. Consult your insurance company for further information. Be wary. There may be unsavory reasons why a repair facility may be willing to violate your insurance contract.

If my insurance company tells me to go to a “preferred” collision repair facility but I want to go to Highway Motors, do I have to have my car repaired at the “preferred” shop?

This is a tactic that is sometimes used by insurance companies to pressure or “steer” a customer to certain repair facility. Some insurance companies are involved in “repair networks” or other incentive programs allowing for some kind of benefit for the insurance company if a customer is “steered” to a “preferred” shop. An insurance company can recommend or suggest a collision repair shop or shops, but cannot, under the law force you or steer you to a “preferred” shop. They do have ways to influence your decision.

Here are some frequently used “steering” tactics used by some insurance companies:

  • They say they will save you on your deductible if you go to the “preferred” shop on the list.
  • They say you must first get an estimate from a shop on their “preferred” list.
  • They will only guarantee the repairs done by a shop on that list.
  • If you go to any other shop than where they recommend, you may have to pay the difference of any charges above their estimate.
  • If you use another repair facility they can’t get an adjuster out for several days, and using the “preferred” repair facility will guarantee that the work to starts right away.
  • Claims take longer to settle if a “preferred” shop is not used

All of the above claims completely FALSE! The law protects your freedom of choice and states that your insurer must honor your choice of repair facility without the threat of intimidation to do otherwise. Take the time to read and understand your auto insurance policy.

Collision Repair and Insurance Quick Facts

  • No law requires you to obtain more than one repair estimate
  • You are not obligated to use any specific recommended or “preferred” repair facility. YOU choose the shop, and YOU authorize the repairs.
  • Variation in the cost of estimates is common. A lower price may be given by leaving out or overlooking damage, and may not always be your best choice. Always discuss concerns about pricing with the manager or owner of the repair facility.
  • You do not have to accept the Insurance Company’s appraisal of damage (commonly referred to as an “estimate”). Check the “Appraisal Clause” in your policy on how to resolve differences.
  • Some insurance companies may want you to visit their claims center or inspect your vehicle at your home or place of work before having your car repaired. You can do this, or you may leave your car at your collision repair shop and ask that the insurance company inspect the car there.
  • Let the automotive collision repair shop you choose help you negotiate your claim with the insurance company, this often leads to a more comprehensive appraisal and solid services.

Glossary of Auto Body Repair Terms

  • Aftermarket Parts:

    Imitation sheet metal replacement parts often made overseas, generally in Taiwan.

  • Appreciation:

    A rise in value of property.

  • ASE:

    National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence – an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians.

  • Betterment:

    The additional charge for a repair that improves the vehicle beyond its pre-accident condition. Betterment can be charged as a percentage or a dollar value.

  • CAPA:

    A consumer advocates group, located in Washington D.C., that certifies aftermarket parts (funded by the insurance industry and manufacturers of aftermarket parts).

  • Depreciation:

    A decrease in the value of property through wear, etc.

  • Diminished Value:

    The value established by comparing the pre-accident value of a vehicle, the amount of damage to the vehicle, and the post-repair value of the vehicle.

  • Final Bill:

    Itemized repair invoice detailing what repairs were actually performed (not just an estimate of repairs). Included in the itemized statement will be codes designating the type of parts used.

  • First Party Claimant:

    Vehicle Owner’s insurance company will be paying for the costs of the repairs.

  • Frame:

    The square, rectangular, or tubular steel undercarriage of your vehicle that has the suspension, drive train, engine and body bolted to it.

  • I-CAR (Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair):

    An international, non-profit training organization dedicated to improving the quality, safety and efficiency of auto collision repair for the benefit of the consumer. 800-422-7456 or webmaster@i-car.com

  • Insurance Estimate:

    The preliminary assessment of damages and costs of repairs that will be used as a guideline for making repairs to the vehicle.

  • LKQ:

    Parts of “Like Kind and Quality” (parts other than new manufacturer’s parts).

  • OEM:

    Original Equipment Manufacturer. New factory parts built and supplied by the manufacturer of vehicle.

  • Pre-Loss Condition:

    Overall condition of vehicle immediately preceding collision, vandalism or theft.

  • QRP:

    Quality Replacement Parts (used, aftermarket, or remanufactured parts).

  • R&I:

    Remove and Install. To remove and install existing components.

  • R&R:

    Remove and Replace. To remove old components and replace with different ones.

  • Shop Estimate:

    The preliminary assessment of damages and costs of repairs that will be used as a guideline for making repairs to the vehicle.

  • Steering:

    Illegal practice whereby a representative of the party paying the bill tries to influence a vehicle owner to take their vehicle to a particular person or body shop for repairs.

  • Sublet:

    To contract services to be performed by an outside company, i.e. alignments, glass replacement, theft recovery.

  • Supplement:

    An already calculated estimate to which a change has been made. Supplements occur after a vehicle has been torn down and it is determined that additional repairs and/or procedures will be needed to repair the vehicle to pre-loss condition.

  • Third Party Claimant:

    The other party’s insurance company is responsible for paying for the costs of the repairs.

  • Unibody:

    A type of body construction that doesn’t require a separate frame to provide structural support for the vehicle’s mechanical components. Also called “unitized.”

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