When you’re involved in a collision for the first time, you’ll probably have a lot of questions about how to handle it! We’ve put together a list of some common collision related questions to help get you through it.

Can I have my car repaired at any shop?

Yes! Legally, you have the right to repair your vehicle at a shop of your choosing. Don’t let an insurance company tell you otherwise.

What is a DRP?

DRP stands for Direct Repair Shop. Direct repair shops are collision repair shops that have made an agreement with an insurance company to provide certain services or follow certain regulations in exchange for fast or guaranteed payment from that insurance company. These deals are intended to provide faster service with less paperwork, but they may have downsides as well. If you select a DRP, make sure to ask what their policies are with the insurance company.

How do I get an estimate?

In order to truly determine how much damage has been done, an estimator needs to examine your vehicle, and estimates are just that – estimates. They aren’t always 100 percent accurate. You’ll need to bring your vehicle into the shop, where the estimator may need to take it apart to determine the damage and the cost of repairs.

How do I deal with my insurance company?

When you call your insurance company, they should give you a claim number. Bring it with you when you take your vehicle to the repair shop, and the shop should talk to the insurance company for you. If the shop and the insurance company have any issues, they should let you know. Both you and the shop can be in contact with the insurance company, and the claim number will let them know which vehicle and insurance claim you’re calling about.

How do I pay my deductible?

Usually, you’ll pay your deductible directly to the shop, because the insurance company will not pay that portion of your bill for you – it’s your deductible and they don’t want to front it for you. If you aren’t sure about the amount or about how to pay, don’t be afraid to discuss the specifics of your claim with your shop, or with your insurance company.

How long will my repairs take?

The answer to this question can vary immensely depending on the specifics of your accident, your vehicle, the damage, which shop you choose to perform your repairs, and your insurance company. Depending on your insurance policy, you may be able to get a rental car during the repair process. Ask your insurance company!

After an accident or damage to your vehicle, you have a right to choose which repair technician performs your repairs. Not all repair shops are the same – they all have different areas of expertise.

When a vehicle is in a serious accident, or otherwise damaged so that it requires significant repairs, there is a process called a post repair inspection that can be done following the repairs. This inspection should be done by a neutral party, not one who was involved in the accident, the repair, or the claims process.

What is a Post-Repair Inspection?

During a post repair inspection, a neutral party will examine the repairs that were done to a vehicle. The inspector won’t need to repair anything, especially not at first. Their job is to look at the repair job, inspect the quality of the repairs and the parts, and identify any potential issues, especially those related to safety.

What is Diminished Value?

Following an accident or serious damage, parts may need to be repaired, or replaced. Depending on the parts that were used to replace the old ones, and the quality of the repair, the value of the vehicle may be affected. One of the duties of a post-repair inspector is to identify these new parts and repairs, and evaluate how they affect the value of the vehicle.

In some cases, this diminished value amount may be covered by an insurance company – but only if identified by a qualified professional.

Why Should I have a Post-Repair or Diminished Value Inspection Performed?

There are several reasons to have a post-repair inspection or a diminished value inspection performed following any major repairs to your vehicle!

● The inspection can identify any safety issues with your vehicle.
● You may find that the shop you trust with your repairs is either worth that trust – or not!
● If your vehicle has a diminished value, you may be reimbursed by the insurance company following a professional inspection.

What does a DRP have to do with it?

In some cases, auto repair shops have agreements, called DRPs, with insurance companies. These agreements usually require the repair shops to follow some guidelines, set by the insurance company, to promote fast, inexpensive repairs without as much paperwork. If the repair shop follows the insurance company’s rules, the insurance company agrees to pay for repairs performed, quickly. However, sometimes this can lead to rushed repairs and inexpensive parts – which may affect a vehicle’s value, safety, and more.

If an insurer pressures me to go to a shop they prefer or try to steer me away from my chosen shop, is for my benefit or theirs? And who does that shop have loyalty to?

What you don’t know can hurt you

After an accident, it doesn’t matter who is paying for the repairs, it is you, and only you who gets to make that decision. Some insurance companies will go out of their way to attempt to steer or direct you to one of “their” preferred shops on a list they give out. In most states you can get a list of registered repair shops who are licensed by the state to perform repairs.

In Massachusetts the shop is required to have a surety bond or letter of credit to cover minimum of $10,000.00. In any case you needn’t call your insurer for a list there is one available on line from Automobile Insurers Bureau.

There are no asterisks or bold printing just a simple list with names and addresses of repair shops in your county. That way you can make your own decision about your car and your safety. After all, you paid for the coverage with your money.

In recent years, more and more people are cycling to get around than they were in the past. Cycling accidents are almost always detrimental to the cyclist, but they’re nearly always the fault of the driver! So, how can you stay safe on the roads with cyclists?

Bikes are Vehicles Too

Although bikes may have their own bike lanes, they are considered vehicles on the road, and it is not always safe for them to ride on the sidewalk. Cyclists have rights and responsibilities on the road, but you should need to treat them as vehicles too.

Don’t Risk It

With cyclists, it’s important to play it safe. If you aren’t sure what they’re doing, wait instead of moving forward. This can mean that you should avoid tailgating, recognize that potholes and other road hazards may affect the way a cyclist rides, and allow time and space for cyclists to ride safely.

Bike Lanes are For Bikers

Bike lanes exist for bikers to ride safely and stay out of your way, while car lanes are designed automobiles. In order to stay safe on the road, you need to respect that bike lanes are for bikers only. If you’re in a bike lane, a cyclist may swerve into traffic, leading to dangerous accidents.

Check Mirrors and Blind Spots

Whether you’re moving or parked, always check your blind spots and your mirrors before driving, turning, or even opening a door! If you don’t see a cyclist on the road, you could cause a collision.

Double Check When Turning

Generally, cyclists ride on the right, and when you’re making a right turn in a vehicle, you need to cross the bike lane, and check for cyclists, to do so safely. However, you’re making a left hand turn, make sure to wait for cyclists crossing the intersection from the other direction too! They may be going faster than you think, and for a cyclist, a fast stop can be dangerous.

Pass with Caution

Yes, in many cases, cyclists aren’t going as fast as automobiles. That doesn’t mean you have the right to pass them at any time. Always leave plenty of space, avoid tailgating, and wait until you can legally pass with enough room to do so safely.

Change Your Attitude

Have you ever been a cyclist on the road? Different cyclists have different reasons for biking, whether they want to do their part for the environment, exercise more, or they want the ease of parking close to wherever they’re going. Consider the benefits of biking, even for you! Cyclists are not a nuisance on the road, they are driving vehicles just like you. Remember that every bike on the road means one less car!

car paintingAfter a collision, repainting your vehicle may be the last thing you’re thinking about – especially if the damage was severe. However, it may be the final step in the repair process. Painting is an important part of maintaining the look of your vehicle, but it’s also a barrier that protects the car from rust.

Why Do I Need A Quality Paint Job?

Ultimately, your vehicle can look however you want it to. Time, wear and tear from wind, rain, snow, dirt, dust, sleet, and other natural occurrences, and collisions can all affect the way that a vehicle looks and the quality of its paint job. There are several reasons that you might consider a new paint job, or a touch up on a damaged portion of your vehicle.

Painting your vehicle after a collision can help protect or change it in several ways.

First, a quality paint job protects your vehicle from rust. In addition to not looking as nice, rust is actually a process by which metals, which make up a large portion of your vehicle, break down when they’re exposed to the elements.

A little bit of rust, especially under your vehicle, will likely happen over time. Ultimately, however, allowing your vehicle to rust or failing to maintain the paint job is like constantly scratching the surface of the vehicle and continually breaking it down.

Repainting your vehicle is also a way to make it look like new or to to give it a whole new look. Keeping your vehicle clean is helpful in protecting the paint job and allowing the paint to adequately protect the vehicle.

Considerations for Repainting a Vehicle

If you’re in need of replacement auto parts, check with your collision repair shop to see if they come painted. If they do, it’s important to get the right color so that it matches the rest of your vehicle. If they don’t come painted, you may want to have them painted, especially if they are metal parts. Again, make sure to discuss color matching with an auto painting professional.

Sometimes, whole parts don’t need to be replaced, but they may have been dented and fixed, scratched, or the paint may have chipped. Even the smallest scratch can allow rust to start spreading.

Over the paint, most vehicles have a clear top coat, which helps to protect the paint and make it more difficult to scratch. The top coat also has a UV protective layer that helps prevent sun damage from fading or weakening the paint.

Proper Joining Methods: Adhesives and Rivets

When a vehicle needs repair, old parts may need to be removed and replaced with new ones. Automobiles are made from many separate parts, and they are made to fit together and be fastened in place.

Traditionally, rivets and welds have been used to hold parts together. Many modern day collision shops and vehicle manufacturers have converted to a new system that uses more versatile fasteners and adhesives.

If your vehicle is in the shop, should you be concerned about the type of fastener used on your vehicle? Like many things in the collision repair industry, there is more than one acceptable way to safely and securely fasten two parts to each other. Each has its own benefits and downfalls.

Rivets & Welding

Riveting is a relatively common way to join two pieces of a vehicle together without melting either one. A rivet is a cylindrical piece with a flared head that is inserted into aligned holes in the two pieces that are to be fastened. Often, after installing rivets, the two pieces are welded together to strengthen the bond. There are many benefits to using rivets.

• Rivets are a fast and reliable way to secure two pieces together,
• Rivets very rarely fail – they don’t come lose after installation when used correctly,
• Once installed, a rivet can usually be hidden easily.

However, rivets are usually stronger with welding, which requires the application of heat. Unfortunately, some materials will distort with heat, making welding and rivets less versatile. Welding can also be difficult to remove should the parts need to be disconnected so that one or the other can be replaced, and may be more expensive to repair.

Adhesives

Adhesives are the modern fastener. While they have a shorter history than rivets, they are not necessarily the inferior method.

• Adhesives can distribute the stress pulling on either part across a wider area,
• Adhesives can be engineered to bond with multiple materials, which allows designers the flexibility to use the best,
• Adhesives do not require heat, like welding does, to join two pieces together.

There are also downsides to using adhesives. Like many newer inventions, adhesives do not always last as long as more traditional methods. As chemical compounds that are relatively new, adhesives may not always be as environmentally friendly. Like with welding and riveting, adhesives are not always easy to take apart once the pieces are fastened together.

Which is best, adhesives or rivets?

While rivets are a tried and true method for joining auto parts, adhesives are often more versatile. In many cases, adhesives are simply less expensive and can be more easily used – they require minimal training and equipment. It is important to make sure that if a collision repair shop chooses to use adhesives, that they are using the correct one and correct application, including drying time.