The Collision Repair Success Guide

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1 The Collision Repair Success Guide By Brad Davis As drivers, we all do our best to avoid accidents. So, when the unexpected happens, it can be disorienting frustrating. Thinking things through in advance can give you the confidence and knowledge to successfully navigate the auto repair process. Take these steps to get back on the road: Step 1. First Things First: If You Are in an Accident Stay calm. Get some deep breaths. Take a moment to reorient yourself. Move to a safe location if you or your car is creating a safety hazard or if you're concerned with your safety. Do not leave the scene of the accident. Call 911 if there are any injuries. If there are no injuries, call the police and follow their instructions. In minor accidents, the police may require you to exchange information with the other driver(s) and then contact your insurance company. Do not discuss who is at fault with other parties. Do not disclose your policy details. You should only share your driver s license number, the name of your insurance company, your insurance member number, and your insurance company s phone number. If you are not injured and can exchange information with the other driver(s), attempt to collect information to assist in expediting your claim, including: the vehicle license number and state of the other car(s) in the accident, the year, make and model of the other vehicle, how many passengers there are (their names and whether they had injuries), and any witnesses names. Keep a disposable camera, pen and paper in your car. Take photos. If you can, try to also jot down the date and time of the accident, street or location, police/sheriff department and their report number.

2 Step 2. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company Report your claim. Letting your insurance company know about the accident right away helps ensure that you ll be back on the road as quickly as possible. Your insurance company will be responsible for gathering information about the facts of damage, verifying your coverage and determining your liability. Provide them with as much information as possible, but be sure to ask questions. Make sure you and your insurance company are communicating clearly about all aspects of the accident and your insurance coverage. Step 3. Have Your Auto Towed You can request a tow from the scene of the accident, and it may be covered by your insurance policy (check with your insurance provider for more information). If your vehicle has already been moved for storage or safety, your insurance company may assist you in having your vehicle towed from the storage location. Keep in mind: Davis Body Shop will tow your auto to our repair shops in Paso Robles or Atascadero whichever is more convenient for you for free. Step 4. Reserve a Rental Vehicle Life must still go on while your vehicle is being repaired, which sometimes makes a rental vehicle necessary. Your insurance policy may cover this cost. Tip: Davis Body Shop can be your rental concierge. Because of our excellent relationship with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, our customers enjoy the convenience of on-site car rental. Alternately, we can pick you up and drop you off at your location of choice, also for free. Step 5. Find the Right Repair Shop You have the right to select the repair shop of your choice. In fact, the California Insurance Code says insurance companies can't require a specific repair shop. Insurers can't direct, suggest or even recommend a body shop unless you request a referral or you have been informed in writing of your right to select the repair facility. But, if you are uncertain where to have your damaged vehicle repaired, your insurance company can assist you in selecting a repairer convenient to your business or home. Payment for repairs from an insurance company can usually

3 be made directly to the repair shop, or, if you prefer, the payment can be sent to you first. Determining the best auto repair shop is really about finding the most experienced team with the right tools to get the job done. Make sure the auto body shop repairs vehicle using state-of-the-art technology for tear down, framework, metal work, paint and reassembly. If you have the time and patience, consider getting more than one estimate. Comparing estimates can help you avoid overcharges. Also, don t just take the lowest quote. Doing things on the cheap can sometimes mean major problems later. Remember that the old maxim is often true: you get what you pay for. Pay attention to work-of-mouth. Ask around. Search for local repair shops online, and look for reviews and testimonials. Team members you meet at a good repair shop will be willing and helpful, the facility will be clean and bright, and the business will have a solid reputation. Davis Body Shop builds on those characteristics with industry-leading accreditations and memberships in top national and state organizations: Certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, an independent, non-profit organization devoted to improving the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying repair and service professionals. Gold Class Certification by the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, I-CAR an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to training the collision inter-industry. Membership in The California Autobody Association, a non-profit auto body industry trade association that helps its members produce quality repairs at fair prices for fair profits. Membership in The Society of Collision Repair Specialists, a non-profit trade association that exists to educate, inform and represent the collision repair professional in all aspects of the industry. Membership in the Automotive Service Association, a 50-year-old not-forprofit trade association for mechanical, transmission and collision shop owners. And, membership in the Coyote Vision Group, a highly selective peer management group of collision repair owners across North America. Step 6. Pay Attention to the Estimate Ask the repair shop how much they charge per hour for labor, how they determine labor and material costs, and what the repair process will entail. Many body shops and garages use reference guides that estimate the number of hours

4 required to perform common repairs. Ask how they use that information to create your estimate. The process of returning a vehicle to pre-accident condition may involve structural repair to the frame of your vehicle, as well as mechanical repairs. Bodywork and painting is next. Ask the auto body shop how their team members are trained for this work and what certifications they have earned. Another question: what materials will the shop use? Are they new, used or aftermarket? If paintwork is needed, ask how many coats of paint and clear coat the shop intends to use. What equipment will be used for repairs, bodywork and paint? Ask if the repair shop carries fire and theft insurance, in case your car is destroyed, stolen or burglarized. Find out how long the shop has been in business. Make sure it has a business license. Make sure the auto body shop takes photos of the damage and communicates with your insurance company on the estimate. They ll also need to communicate clearly if any additional repair work is needed, so evaluate how detailed they are in their approach. Step 7. Approve Work on Your Vehicle You ve found the right auto repair shop, one you re confident can and will do excellent work. Be sure to let your insurance company know. Make sure your insurance representative has the correct contact information (a name, and phone number) for your chosen body shop. The repair shop might already be listed with your insurance company as one of their preferred partners. If so, ask your insurance company if they offer additional warranties for the repair shop s work. Some insurance companies will guarantee the work of a preferred repair shop for the life of your vehicle. Just a note: Davis Body Shop has long-standing relationships with a number of national insurance providers. Check to see if yours is one of them. Also, here s great news: Davis Body Shop provides a bodywork warranty for the lifetime of your ownership of your auto, with additional, limited warranties for paint and mechanical repairs. Step 8. Stay in Touch Make sure the repair shop updates you on the status of the repair work and make sure all paperwork and approvals with your insurance company go smoothly.

5 If you decide to have Davis Auto repair your vehicle, you ll notice that it is their company policy to communicate carefully with you and with your insurance company each step of the way. You won t have to wait for days to hear from them or feel like you re nagging for information. They provide regular, timely status updates. Step 9. Expect Excellence You'll want to get a clean vehicle back, inside and out. Body shops with a high level of pride in their work will present your auto back to you in the best shape possible. At Davis Body Shop, your vehicle will be washed, cleaned and vacuumed before it is returned. Remember what your friends and family said about their body shop experiences? Chances are, a business that is detailed enough to clean your car inside and out, is also carefully checking all aspects of your repair: body work, paint, frame and mechanical repair. Also, make sure that your body shop and your insurance companies have communicated effectively, completed all paperwork and payment. Step 10. Don t Drive Away without a Final Inspection Once your wheels leave the body shop parking lot, it s a hassle to bring it back if you realize something has gone wrong. You should expect and request a final inspection from the repair shop. A final inspection should be done by a knowledgeable technician who is certified for the repairs done to you vehicle and is checking to ensure that all repairs are done correctly, to your carmaker s specifications. Just a note: David Body Shop technicians always do a final inspection on a fourpost lift and work is guaranteed to meet factory specifications. Step 11. Talk Through the Repairs So, the repair shop has completed their final inspection. Now, it s your turn. Ask a representative from the shop to go over the repairs with you. Have them describe for you the initial damage, their estimate, any changes that were made to the estimate in the process of repair, any frame and mechanical work completed (and how they guarantee that it meets your car maker s specifications), what kind of bodywork and paint work was required, and how it was completed.

6 Don t be afraid to really look at your auto. Have them point out parts if you don t recognize the names, and find out if there are any further steps you need to take after bringing your vehicle back home. For instance, will you need to be careful about where you park and how sunlight will impact paint color as it ages? Step 12. Get Your Wheels Back on the Road! It s such a relief when you are finally back in the driver s seat. Feel free to enjoy this moment. Once you leave the shop, work through this final checklist: Be sure to follow any final instructions from the body shop. Contact your insurance company. Find out if there are any changes to your policy and what those changes might be. Take a driver s safety course. This will have the dual benefits of helping you become an even better driver and rebuild some of your confidence on the road. It might even help lower your insurance costs. If your experience with the repair shop was a good one, tell your friends and family! You ll want a business you can trust to grow and thrive in your town. Even if you are (hopefully) never in an accident again, it s good to know they ll be there for you. --- I hope these guidelines have been helpful to you. If you have any questions or would like more information, feel free to call Davis Auto Body today at (805) in Atascadero and (805) in Paso Robles. Our friendly customer care staff is available to discuss repairs for your vehicle, answer your questions and talk about how we can help you. For your success, Brad Davis Owner, Davis Body Shop Atascadero Paso Robles

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