Q: What if my insurance company's estimate is lower than my shop's estimate?
A: Keep in mind that your vehicle is damaged and it is impossible to write a complete, accurate estimate prior to disassembly. Insurance companies and repair shops alike always write estimates based on visible damages only, so more often than not, the price will be adjusted for a thorough inspection, so don't be alarmed by a low estimate by the collision shop or insurance company. Remember that the insurance company is simply preparing a reserve of loss and is not preparing an estimate to repair the vehicle. Appraisers are hired and paid by the insurance company to prepare estimates according to the insurance company guidelines. They do not work for you so they do not have your best interest in mind. In addition, third party appraisers or audit companies are used as a scapegoat as to the reason the insurance company may deny payment.
Q: Whose responsibility is it to pay for the damages to my vehicle?
A: It is your vehicle, it is your choice and it is also your responsibility to pay for the damages. If you are insured, it is the responsibility of your insurance company to reimburse you for those damages as agreed upon in your contract with them. If you are a claimant (third-party), then you do not have a contract with the at-fault driver's insurance company. The at-fault driver is ultimately financially responsible; however, it is still your responsibility to obtain payment for the damage to your vehicle from either the at-fault party or their insurance company. You may also be entitled to diminished value.
Q: My insurance company said I might have to pay out of pocket if I select the shop of my choice! Is that true?
A: Consult with your chosen repair shop! Many shops offer repair options or can assist you with remedies. Don't let the insurance company scare you into getting a poor unsafe repair!
Q: Do I have to use aftermarket, reconditioned or used parts?
A: Absolutely not! However, you may have agreed to this in your contract with your insurance company, and you may be responsible for the additional cost if you are not willing to accept those parts, or if your repair shop will not use them. If you are third party, then you do not have such a contract, and it is up to you to negotiate this with as-fault party or their insurance company. Keep in mind that aftermarket or reconditioned parts may void your manufactures warranty, compromise your safety, and further diminish the value of your vehicle.
in Birmingham, AL
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