Your Rights

It’s important for you to understand your rights as a consumer, before, during and after an diminished valueaccident.  In some cases, you have the option to have the other person’s insurance company pay for the repairs to your vehicle.  The first few hours (and days for that matter) following an accident are filled with confusion and stress, to the point you just want someone else to handle the entire mess.

We suggest you HIRE your own Auto Collision Repair expert for the repair negotiations and to guide you through the repair process.  We will go to bat for YOU to ensure quality repairs and prompt payment.

Reason 1 – Why You Should Hire An Expert

Don’t take offense, but, You may not understand the estimate, even when it is explained to you.

Not too many of us can go over an estimate and understand what it REALLY is saying.  Can you tell the difference between the estimate from an insurance company vs the estimate from the collision shop?

To make matters worse, if you get one estimate from the insurance company and one estimate from the collision shop – there is a good chance they won’t even match.  How can you negotiate or argue the points if you don’t understand the estimate.

Reason 2 – Why You Should Hire an Expert

This is an add on to number 1!

Would you be able to tell if something is missing on the estimate?  Can you tell if something is missing or overlooked?

Insurance adjusters look at several vehicles a day and are pressured to keep costs down, while the collision shop will usually try to include all the damage in the beginning.  You don’t want to be bound by the insurer’s estimate rules of “Visible Damage” because the estimate by the collision center is usually more accurate and thorough.

Most of us INCORRECTLY ASSUME our motor vehicle will be restored to pre-loss condition. That clearly is ALMOST NEVER going to happen if you leave it to the insurance adjuster to “take care” of you.

Reason 3 – Why You Should Hire an Expert

There has been sufficient notice in the media to alert most consumers that there is a HUGE IMPACT of differences in various repair parts. The insurance adjuster will usually try to write for “Like Kind and Quality” (LKQ) parts, Recycled parts, or “Aftermarket” (A/M) parts. “A/M” or “Aftermarket” parts are parts that are made by companies other than the original manufacturer of the automobile (Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan etc.). These NON-OEM parts (also sometimes referred to as “Quality Replacement Parts” or “QRP”) are generally inferior to the OEM parts. Independent research by unbiased parties has shown, in nearly every case, that “Imitation Replacement Parts” are inferior.

Besides, for those vehicles under warranty, there is likely an adverse impact on the warranty by using NON-OEM parts. The use of used salvage and/or imitation/counterfeit parts is not covered by the GM factory transferable limited warranty on that part and all adjoining parts and systems that are caused to fail by these parts. Many independent and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) studies have documented the lesser quality of imitation repair parts. Use of imitation parts may diminish the value of the vehicle at resale.

Reason 4 – Why You Should Hire an Expert

Obvious serious structural, mechanical, or electronic damage to your vehicle. Unless your vehicle is valued at less than $5,000, or the repairs are less than $5,000 damage to these areas may merit your paying an expert.

The most difficult for consumers to evaluate are the repairs to STRUCTURAL areas of the vehicle. Usually these areas are not readily visible, and—UNLESS YOU USE AN EXPERT—chances are that actual after-repair testing has not been performed. And, of course, if defects in repair are detected upon resale, the value will drop considerably. Many times a frame or structurally damaged vehicle can not be sold as a “certified used vehicle.” This will impact the vehicle’s value by as much as 40%!

What if you do not hire an expert, but upon resale, an inspection reveals that there is visible evidence that the vehicle’s frame and/or uni-body structure have not been restored to factory tolerances and to factory strength and rigidity so as to ensure deployment of all and any SRS (Supplemental Restraint Systems) at the intended level of impact?

Reason 5 – Why You Should Hire an Expert

What is so special about hoods, doors and bumpers that some money cannot be saved by using imitation parts? These are areas of the vehicle thought to be just “common”, so if ever we could agree to the use of NON-OEM parts, why not in the case of replacing a hood, a door, or a bumper?

In fact these three parts, while appearing to have no workmanship that could fail in a NON-OEM part, do, in fact, expose the occupants to actual physical danger for the following reasons.

Hoods without factory built “crush-initiators”. Many hoods these days are designed to fold up in a crash, as opposed to slicing through the windshield. But even though the overseas imitator manufacturers are supposed to copy the so-called “crush initiators”, hardly any of those hoods have been tested, and some hoods that were examined, failed the test. Having a hood slice through the windshield is a serious safety risk.
Doors without factory perfected guard beams. Our manufactured doors have welded guard beams, but there have been many overseas knock-off doors that either lacked the guard beams, or in which there was unsatisfactory welding. In any side collision this is another safety risk.
Bumpers that fail. Once again, there has been evidence of even low speed failure of overseas manufactured bumpers, according to testing done by Consumer Reports. Bumper failure can affect not only the prospects of suffering structural damage, but also the way energy of a crash is used to set off the protective air bags. Even if the bumper does not fail, foreign-made bumpers very often need to be re-drilled or widened leaving large gaps or uneven surfaces.
Fenders don’t fit. When it comes to fenders there are “Fit Problems” with overseas manufactured imitation parts. Some require widening the holes or using shims. Many don’t match the contour of the car and require significant reworking. This kind of faulty repair is not going to be apparent to the average consumer, but upon resale any inspector will comment on that unsatisfactory mark of an accident, and the resale value will suffer accordingly.