Okay, so you were in an accident. You’ve done the 7 things we asked you to do, including report a claim. That now leaves you with the task of getting your car back in shape.
Whether it’s a little fender-bender or major damage, you’ll need to take steps to get your car repaired and make it look like new again—or at least the way it did before the crash. Follow these tips for repairing a car after an accident.
How to choose a repair shop
It’s against the law in most states for insurance companies to make you choose a specific auto repair shop. Still, some will offer a list of preferred shops that offer great customer service. Otherwise, you can choose where you want to take your car for repairs unless your lender has certain requirements that must be met.
If you don’t have a regular or preferred auto repair shop, ask the following questions before you decide on a new shop:
- Is the shop affiliated with AAA?
- Is the mechanic ASE certified?
- What are the warranties on repairs?
- Can I see what’s wrong with my car before repairs are made?
- Are there customer reviews online?
- What certifications do they have? (Examples include AAA, AC-Delco, ASE, Better Business Bureau, ICAR, NAPA Autocare, Parts Plus Car Care, and PPG Certification)
- Compare estimates from at least two shops. (Okay, this isn’t a question, but it’s important.)
After you choose a shop and make an appointment, you’ll need to get your car there, which can be a challenge if it’s not drivable. Find out if towing is included in your insurance company’s roadside assistance coverage. If you’re an AAA or other road club member, see if you can get towing from them. Or simply hire a tow service yourself to take your car to the shop.
Your transportation options while you wait
The average time to repair a car after an accident can vary. If you’re going to be car-less for more than a day, you need to think about how you’ll get around until the shop tells you that your vehicle’s fixed. Here are some options:
- A rental. If your roadside assistance coverage or car insurance includes car rentals, great. If not, try to find the best deal on a rental car.
- A loaner. Some repair shops and dealerships offer a loaner car while yours is in their shop. Some also offer a shuttle to take you to work or home, then pick you up once your car’s ready.
- A friend or family member. Ask a friend or family member if they can give you a ride or loan you a car.
- Public transit. Consider your options if you live in a city with taxis, buses, trains or other public transportation. Maybe look into a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft.
Paying for repairs
If you’re at fault for the accident, you may have to pay your deductible before your insurance company authorizes the repairs. If it wasn’t your fault, your insurer will probably work with the other party’s insurer to reimburse you for your deductible. Some insurance companies will pay the repair shop directly rather than reimburse you (this is common if it’s a preferred shop).
If you ever need to find a place for car repair after an accident, these tips should be a good roadmap (pun intended) to get you to the auto repair shop that works best for your situation. To learn about the Alfa®-preferred repair shops in your area, contact your local Alfa agent today.