From the moment you are involved in an accident, there begins a long and detailed process to get your vehicle repaired and you back on the road. Any missteps can prolong this process and add to your headache. However, by understanding exactly how it all unfolds and what to expect at each step along the way, you can help minimize frustration and delays.
Step 1: Car Accident
It all obviously begins at the moment of collision. From the second your car is struck, there are some important steps you should immediately take that will help protect you and move things along in the coming days. As soon as you can do so safely, it is important to complete each of the following
- Check on passengers and other drivers to ensure their safety
- Exchange insurance and contact information with all parties involved
- Call police to the scene for a written report
- Take photos all vehicles and the damage sustained
Step 2: Having Your Car Towed
Depending on the severity of the accident and the extend of damage, you may not be able to drive your vehicle away from the scene. In this case, you’ll need to have your car towed to an auto body shop of your choosing. Remember that company that tows your car, as well as where they tow it to, is completely up to you.
Step 3: Getting Collision Repair Estimates
Once at the body shop, the repair process will begin with an estimate of cost based on the work and parts needed. This will involve both your chosen repair shop and your insurance company’s adjuster. Based on the final numbers, your insurance provider will determine whether or not the level of damage exceeds the value of your car (this is different than how much you owe). If it does, the vehicle will be declared a total loss, and you will be issued a check for the vehicle’s estimated value (this amount is negotiable, so don’t settle right away). If damages are less than the value of the car, repairs can be approved and work can begin.
Step 4: Repairing Your Vehicle
Once you authorize the estimated repairs, work on your vehicle can begin. Your collision center should remain in contact with you throughout this process, giving you updates on the status of the work and filling you in on any changes or new problems that may arise. It isn’t uncommon for underlying damage to be found over the course of repair and amendments made to the original quote. If you were at-fault for the accident, you will also be in contact with your insurance company during this time to determine what you owe based on your coverage. Often, this amount is simply your deductible. If another party was at-fault, their insurance provider will cover the cost of repairs.
Step 5: Finalizing Your Vehicle’s Repairs
Once the work on your car is complete, you will be able to pick up your vehicle from the auto body shop. Before driving away, give your car a quick inspection to make sure everything has been completed to your satisfaction. Look for things such as mismatched paint or parts that don’t seem to fit quite right, and bring any issues to the shop’s attention before you leave.
While the auto body repair process may seem confusing, it is actually a fairly straightforward process, particularly when you have the right team in your corner. In the Baton Rouge area, Medines Collision Center has been advising drivers and providing quality repairs for decades. To find out how we can help you, contact our shop and request a free estimate.