We’ll elaborate more on these points in later posts, but for now, here are some quick answers to common misconceptions people have about auto repair. Have any questions you want us to answer? Contact us now and make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay updated!
If I get my car repaired using my insurance, my rates will go up.
This isn’t always true, and there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to whether your rate will go up. $1,800 is the threshold most insurance companies use to determine if your premiums will be raised after a repair; if the repair cost stays under that amount, there’s a good chance your rate will stay exactly the same. You should always double-check with your insurance company, though. After you get an estimate, call an agent and ask them if filing a claim will cause your premiums to increase.
I got an estimate, so I know exactly how much my repair will cost.
Hooooo boy. Noooooope, nope, nope, nope… nope. This is probably one of the most common and most problematic misconceptions we hear. The initial estimate will include all visible damage the estimator or adjuster can see, but visible is the key word there. Oftentimes, we find additional damage underneath the exterior panels, sometimes surrounding panels are affected, sometimes the frame needs to be pulled. We might find the vehicle needs mechanical work or needs to be taken or towed to a dealership for radar targeting or special headrest safety features to be reset (looking at you, BMW). The initial estimate might outline repairing a part that, after further inspection, needs to be replaced. Sometimes we find that features the owner thought were stock are actually custom or aftermarket, and those will need to be either fabricated or sourced. I could go on, but I think you get the picture by now.
When we have to add something to the initial estimate, this is called a supplement. While we always try to include everything possible on the initial estimate, the final bill will almost always be different and include at least one supplement. At our shop, we always do our best to explain that to customers, and all good shops should do the same. We also always keep the customer informed as soon as we find something that’s not on the initial estimate.
If you’re going through insurance, the insurance company will cover anything that’s related to the claim. Customers will only be responsible for the deductible; any changes to the repair cost will be negotiated between the body shop and the insurance company. So, for the most part, if you’re going through insurance, you can rest assured that you know exactly what you’ll be paying – just your deductible. However, if you’re paying out of pocket or if someone else is paying out of pocket, you should be informed that price changes can, and oftentimes do, occur. Again, any good body shop will make sure you’re aware of this.
I can just let the person who hit my car pay out of pocket so they don’t have to go through insurance.
While this isn’t technically untrue, we highly recommend against doing this. If the person that hit you asks to forgo filing an insurance claim, it’s most likely because they don’t want their rates to increase. Like we addressed above, rates don’t always increase because you filed an insurance claim. A bigger consideration, though, is the variance between the initial estimate and the final bill. It’s pretty uncommon for the cost on the initial estimate to be the exact cost of the repair after all is said and done, and you are trusting someone – often a complete stranger who hit your vehicle – to honor their promise to pay for something that they don’t even have the full cost of yet. It’s understandable to want to help someone out and let them pay out of pocket for repairs so their premium doesn’t increase, but, it could hurt you in the long run if they end up leaving you with the bill. If you go through insurance, the insurance company is required to pay for any damage that’s related to the claim. With an individual paying for your repairs, they may or may not agree that everything on the estimate is related to the damage they caused.
If you agree to let an individual pay for repairs instead of going through their insurance, be prepared to disagree on what damage they did or did not cause to your vehicle. It’s just way less of a headache to go through insurance – save yourself the anxiety of wondering if someone you hardly know will honor their promise and pay for your repairs.
All this being said – the choice is ultimately yours. How you choose to get your vehicle repaired is 100% up to you, but we do want consumers to be as informed as possible. While these issues don’t always happen, they do sometimes and it’s never a fun surprise.