Safety Is Our #1 Priority

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We are always telling you that Safety is our #1 priority! Here is just one of the ways we advocate for our customers and refuse to cut corners that compromise your safety…

Collision Repair Safety

Have you ever wondered how aftermarket sheet metal parts are manufactured? One way is, when an original equipment manufacturer, like Ford, Chevy, Honda, etc. makes their replacement parts, they create a die, which is used to stamp out the metal. It’s used at the factory until it is deemed no longer within specifications. They then sell the die to the aftermarket parts manufacturer, to then stamp out more, even though they will be slightly off.

Yes there might be a FEW in the beginning of aftermarket production that will still be pretty true to originals, but the die has already been used to capacity when it is sold to the aftermarket parts manufacturer. After a while, everything is just off… the holes, the curves, the lines. These are important not only for safety but also for the overall look of your vehicle.

Collision Repair Safety

We have two aftermarket part vendors that will no longer sell parts to us due to our high rate of returns. You see, on the rare occasion we order an aftermarket replacement part, we don’t just bolt it on and keep moving. We weigh it, if it doesn’t weigh the same as the original part, we return it!

Why?, you might ask, well when your car was built it was very carefully engineered to be in perfect balance. A replacement part of different weight would throw that balance off. Or what about aftermarket parts where the holes just don’t quite line up, we return it! Because of insurance company relations and the fact that they are measured by how many aftermarket parts are used, some shops will just slot new holes to make it fit. We return it! How about a fender that lines up perfectly at the hood but by the time you get to the bumper, the gap is 3 times wider? Nope, we return it!

Collision Repair SafetyJust some of the things we do to put aftermarket parts to the test BEFORE putting them on a vehicle include weighing the part, visual inspection which includes verifying the stamp marks, fit & finish, and that body lines & waves line up.

Sometimes it is even necessary to bolt on the part to complete the visual inspection.

When we say Safety is our #1 priority, we REALLY mean it!

What is GAP Insurance?

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GAP InsuranceDo you have GAP insurance? Wait, What is GAP insurance?

Today I was reminded about something that we tell our customers when they ask about what to expect when settling their total loss process; and that is GAP insurance!

It’s an insurance policy, that you typically purchase at the dealership or through your lender at the time you purchase your vehicle, that covers the difference between the value of your vehicle deemed by the insurance company after being declared a total and the balance that you still owe on your auto loan.

So besides making sure you have an idea of the value your vehicle had BEFORE it was in the accident, gathering any major recent auto repair receipts, be sure to check with your lender to see if you purchased GAP.

Collision Repair Tips

Helpful hint; sometimes you can purchase GAP insurance through your own insurance company even after the initial purchase. I myself, did so for a much lower cost. I also only carried the GAP rider until the balance of my loan was lower than the actual cash value (ACV) of my car; saving me even more money and giving me piece of mind.

Is an estimate the total cost of repairs?

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EstimateConsumers sometimes think that the term estimate means a total cost of repairs. However for collision repair, the term estimate means a preliminary estimate of cost, based on a visual inspection of damage.

The trouble with that is, the fact that only the damage that is visible can be written into an estimate (by law, as we will discuss later). Without a complete disassembly of the damaged area, a total cost of repairs cannot be given.

Insurance companies know that estimates are given based on visual inspections and also know that once disassembly takes place there is a chance that unseen damage will be discovered and amended to the estimate.

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This is not the collision repair facility nickel-and-diming the consumer. That is how the collision repair industry operates as a whole due to laws and regulations specific to the industry. In fact it is ILLEGAL for a collision repair facility to write an estimate and include possible damages that cannot be seen.

Auto Body Blog

Other Industries have completely different rules and regulations. Take for example a remodeling contractor, they provide you with a BID to remodel your kitchen. Generally you will get a bid based on worst case scenario. The contractor will assess all of the things that MIGHT play a part in what they are about to embark upon. If they get to the job site and it’s easier than they bid, they pocket the difference. If it turns out to be more than they thought, they eat that shortage, or ask for more money.

Auto Body Estimate

Let’s explore more about unseen damage by talking about a vehicle door. The first visual inspection looks like it is repairable. However, when we disassemble it, we are then able to see that there is damage to a sound deadening pad or to the high steel intrusion beam, the beam that protects occupants from injury if later involved in a T-bone accident. This can only be added to an estimate after the disassembly and visual inspection takes place.

We are regularly asked to include those worst case scenarios (and sometimes criticized for not) in order for a customer to get a full idea of total cost of repairs up front. However, if we include something in the estimate for a part we THINK needs to be replaced, without VISUAL PROOF that it needs to be replaced, it is AGAINST THE LAW. That is called committing insurance fraud.

If you really want a complete cost of repairs, we can provide you with this, but only AFTER disassembly of your vehicle.

Dictionary.com Definition:
es·ti·mate – a statement of the approximate charge for work to be done, submitted by a person or business firm ready to undertake the work.

Estimates, are just that. An approximate total, based on the visual damage to a vehicle. There is simply NO WAY to see EVERY single thing that has been damaged on a visual inspection alone.

Crash Course Elite Collision Center Blog

Illegal Insurance Company Steering Practices

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Today I heard about a situation with a MAJOR insurance company (that I had previously respected) and wanted to make sure you knew some helpful things. Thankfully, our customer knew we were the best, and didn’t want to compromise their repairs OR safety by going with an insurance recommended shop. This poor customer had to hear their own insurance company try to steer them EIGHT different times, before they realized the customer knew what they were doing, and finally gave up.

Please know that “steering” (when an insurance company pushes you to do what you they want) is AGAINST the law. Yet COUNTLESS companies still do it. With phrases like, “if you choose Elite Collision, you MIGHT have out of pocket expenses.” Or “they aren’t an approved shop in our Network, so we won’t be able to warranty the work” or some narrative similar. They do their best to drive work to their approved shop.

Elite Auto Body - Steering

WHY? It’s actually pretty simple. They SAVE MONEY at the consumers expense.

The contracts that are signed between a body shop and the insurance company DO affect your repairs. In order for those body shops to keep their preferred status with those insurance companies, they have to meet standards set by the insurance company. Those standards include overall repair costs, repairing parts vs. replacing them, how many aftermarket parts are used, NOT doing costly pre/post repair scans to name a few. Which means that more aftermarket parts will be used as they are cheaper, instead of replacing parts, they will repair the damaged parts which is again cheaper, possibly no pre/post repair scans will be done. If you do not know how important pre/post repairs scans are when repairing vehicles, please read here.

Do you REALLY think that the insurance company had our customers best interest in mind???

Its Your Right To Choose

Two questions to ask an insurance company if they try to steer you:

  1. Do I have the right to take my car to a shop of MY CHOICE?
  2. Is steering me to your recommended shop against the law?

 
Please folks, see the insurance company for what it is. It is a for profit company. You have insurance to pay for the damage on your vehicle. The less they have to pay, the better for them.

Don’t let them sway you. Your safety matters!!!

We are a consumer advocate body shop. Your safety is our #1 priority! Give us a call, stop by and see it for yourself.

Crash Course Elite Collision Center Blog