Paint and Body: 10 Things You Need to Know

The following should not be considered as legal advice. The information contained on this page is a generalization of your rights. If you have any questions, please consult with your attorney.

  1. You are not required to get more than one estimate.
  2. You are not required to use a specific or recommended body shop. You choose the body shop that you want to repair your vehicle.
  3. You are the only person that can authorize repairs to your vehicle.
  4. There is a difference in body shops, therefore differences in collision repair estimates are common. Today's automobiles are very complex and this may result in overlooked items and/or specific repair procedures.
  5. Keep your vehicle registration, insurance information and your insurance agent's number in your vehicle at all times.
  6. If you are involved in an accident, have a pen and paper handy so you can note time of day, weather conditions, position of vehicles and any other information that may be relevant to your accident.
  7. Exchange information with the other drivers involved. Information should include names, address, phone numbers, driver's license numbers, insurance companies and policy numbers.
  8. Keep a record of your expenses. Depending on the terms of your policy, you may be entitled to recover some or all of the expenses that are a result of your accident.
  9. Keep copies of all documents. You may need these later.
  10. There are two types of claims to consider — First Party Claims and Third Party Claims:

First Party Claim — This is a situation where you would be referred to as the "insured". In this case, you would file a claim with your insurance company. We will assume that you have the proper coverage, which is commonly known as "collision" or "complete" coverage. In this particular situation, the terms and conditions of your insurance policy dictate the repair process. In many instances, the Contract of Insurance (which is your insurance policy) may allow the use of used parts, "Like Kind and Quality" (LKQ) parts, aftermarket (non-OEM) parts or reconditioned parts. Your insurance policy may state or mention that during the repair of your vehicle, your insurance company can mandate the use of these parts. In this situation, the insurance appraiser or body shop estimator will most likely include these non-OEM parts in their repair estimate and base payment on the use of these parts. Typically, depending on the policy that you purchase, the insured will owe a deductible to the repair shop when repairs are complete.

Third Party Claim — This is a situation where you would be referred to as the "claimant". In this case, you would file a claim with the other person's insurance company. We will assume that the other person has basic coverage, which is commonly known as "liability" coverage. If you sustain damage to your vehicle and the other person is at fault, their insurance company is obligated to pay for the repairs of your vehicle up to the limits of their coverage defined in their policy. In a third party claim, the only responsibility of the insurance company is to pay the repair bill.

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