01 What should I do at the scene of an accident?
Call the police if anyone has been injured or if the combined vehicle damage is more than $2,000. Write down the name, address, insurance company, policy number, and driver’s licence number of the other driver.
Get the names and addresses of any witnesses. Write down the description of the accident while the details are fresh in your mind.
02 What should I do next?
If the police have not come to the scene, it is still a good idea to report the accident. Regardless of which driver was at fault, call your insurance company or agent. You will be asked by an insurance adjuster to give an accident report.
03 How should I choose a Calgary repair shop?
You have the right to have your car repaired at the collision repair shop of your choice. When you select a shop, the responsibility for a satisfactory job rests, finally, with you.
Be aware that specialized equipment is needed to repair later model cars. Now that you’ve chosen a repair shop, notify the insurance company.
Before your car can be repaired, you and your insurance company need to know how much the repairs will cost.
04 What is included in an estimate?
An estimate of costs should specify details of the repair, whether parts are being repaired or replaced. It should also be identified whether replacement parts are from the original manufacturer, are generic parts or are second-hand parts.
There are two ways to obtain an estimate:
Your insurance company appraiser may estimate the cost to repair. If your car is driveable, take it and a copy of the insurance company’s appraisal to the repair shop of your choice. If the car is not drivable and/or it was towed from the scene of the accident, contact the repair shop to make suitable arrangement to have it taken there.
Only one estimate is required. However, if you do elect to get a second estimate and it’s different, ask why. Be aware that the lowest price isn’t always the best deal. The insurance company may accept the repair shop’s estimate of the damage or may want to appraise the vehicle. The company has the right to inspect the damages to your car.
05 What do I do if I disagree with my insurance company regarding damages?
If the amount of damage to your car is being disputed or other disagreements arise over your cars repair and all attempts to negotiate have failed, a formal arbitration process is open to you. The process is known as “appraisal.”
06 What do I need to know when getting my car repaired?
The shop will ask you to sign a work order authorizing the repairs. Make sure it specifies all the details outlined in the estimate.
Your signature on the work order means that you are ultimately responsible for the invoiced costs. Once the repairs are done, check them over. Make sure all repairs were complete according to the agreement.
07 How does payment work?
You are responsible for paying the deductible, as noted in your insurance contract. The insurance company may pay the shop directly or send a cheque jointly payable to you and the repair shop.
Once the shop has been paid, or when the insurance company has confirmed it will pay on your behalf, you can take your car home.
08 How do I deal with the other driver’s insurance company?
You may make the claim under your own collision coverage, if you carry it. With this option, you may have to pay your deductible up front. When you claim on your own policy, the appraisal process is open to you.
You may claim directly against the other driver through his or her insurance company. You select a repair shop and obtain an estimate. If you choose this option, the provision for formal appraisal does not apply.
The other driver’s insurance company may ask you to sign a release form before paying you or the repair shop you have chosen. When you sign a release form, you discharge the other person and his or her insurance company from any further liability to you. It is a final payment.
09 Is it my choice where repairs are completed?
Refer to Alberta Regulation #128/2001 – www.qp.gov.ab.ca
“Market conduct regulation/disclosure of insured’s right to choose service provider!”
In the past, many issues regarding our clients and insurance adjusters have been brought to our attention: when insurance personnel state to you that you “have to have” a repair completed by a specific repair facility, that is direction of work and it is an illegal practice! Our clients have been redirected to shops recommended by insurance agents/adjusters. Often, poor repair has been reported/observed. Often, we have been advised that neither the repair shop nor the adjuster would deal with the problem.
10 Do I need to read my appraisal?
We have observed appraisals that have been completed by preferred/direct repair shops (automotive repair shops, recommended by insurance personnel) often with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of parts listed that were not necessary for the repair. If you notice an escalated price, you would be well advised to question how or why this practice is condoned by your insurance company!
Our clients have stated or have shown us appraisals completed by preferred/direct repair shops which are much lower than our price. Often we have compared appraisals only to find damage and parts that have been missed – in some cases, deliberately. Insurance adjusters have been quoted as saying that “they repair on the lower estimate/appraisal.”
We would not and do not ever condemn our competitors or any insurance company. We only state that you, the insured, have a choice! It is your decision where your vehicle will be repaired. Choose a shop that has been recommended by perhaps friends or family, who have had to work completed in the past. The onus is on you to make the correct choice, thus avoiding future grief!
You, the insured, must read these appraisals, observe the apparent damage and be aware that these parts and/or labour would or would not be necessary to complete proper repair. Often, vehicles must be dismantled to observe inner damage! Be aware if something has been missed on your appraisal (parts, refinish or repair), and that it is an insurance claim. Any and all auto repair shops can then call the insurance company for a “supplement.”
11 Is there a chance your appraisal will be higher than others?
If your appraisal is higher than others, it is because we have, in fact, included parts necessary for the repair (hence missed parts). Or perhaps we have priced new OEM parts, and the insurance company will allow only for remanufactured/used parts. Whatever the situation, we will be in close contact with the insurance company and will proceed only with the insurance appraiser’s advice. If wearable parts are damaged in a collision, you will sometimes be required to pay “betterment,” determined by your insurance company, and this would be clearly stated on the appraisal. Otherwise, you will not be responsible for further costs!
If for any reason, there is to be any further charge to you (perhaps not insurance related), you will be made aware of that prior to work being completed.
If your vehicle is involved in a collision and it is deemed not driveable, it may be towed to the shop of your choice. City Wide is the tow company which would be called by police at the scene of the collision. Most repair facilities have an account with the tow company, and the insurance company will pay for the tow!
When you make a claim you will speak to an adjuster (office personnel). We, the repair facility, speak with the appraiser (the insurance representative who appraises the damages).
12 How safe will my repaired vehicle be?
There’s a lot riding in your car. That’s why Professional Auto Body experts pledge to make your automobile as safe as it was when in mint condition. No skill or effort is spared so that you and your family can take to the road with complete peace of mind. Basically, we put ourselves in the driver’s seat. You can count on us to lighten the burden in the aftermath of a collision and to make your visit hassle-free and friendly.