3 Tactics Insurance Agencies Use To Cheat You On Auto Hail Damage
ACCIDENTS HAPPEN — let's face it, accidents happen every day. Chances are, if you have been driving for 17.9 or more years, you have made at least one auto insurance claim (US Average). That means that if you were licensed around the age of 16, by the time that you are 34 you will have experienced at least one crash: at 100$ a month, you will have given your insurance company 21,480$ per accident. Insurance companies may sell you protection and make you feel that you are getting low rates, but they don’t make profit by paying for your accidents. They do so by getting you to pay for your accidents —in advance. There is nothing wrong with this model, after all it is the American way. However, when it comes time for them to write a check, they are built to reduce its size and impact on their losses, not yours. Here is how they do it with Auto Hail claims, assuming you have comprehensive.
1. QUICK SETTLEMENT CHECK — You walk outside and see hundreds of little dents all over your car, and everyone else's in your neighborhood, for that matter. You call your insurance company and get a claim number. You arrive at the catastrophe center, they quickly look over your car, without a reflection light and write you a check. At this stage you have two choices. First, you can pocket the check and mentally minimize the damage to your vehicle, until it comes time to trade it in or sell it. Second, you can take it to a bodyshop for repairs. There are some factors that will prevent you from choosing the first option; for example, you wouldn’t want to do this if you don’t own the vehicle, like a lease-turn-in. Regardless, when you bring your vehicle to a body shop your going to learn a new word, its called a supplement.
A supplement is simply the disparity between what the insurance company thinks the repair should cost, and what everyone else in the real world knows it actually costs. Skipping this step only exists for the people that take the first option. These are usually people who are from lower socioeconomic strata and simply don’t understand the actual value loss, they have experienced. To them this is a windfall of free money, but typically they are wrong. The value of their vehicle has been diminished significantly more than the check actually represents.
Conclusion: Dont cash the check or take your insurance companies word on their estimate. Rather, take your car to a reputable Paintless Dent Repair company for a free estimate. Even though your insurance company technically works for you, the roles have now changed. Previously they were trying to get your money and now you're trying to get it back, don’t side with your insurance company over the repair shop. If you have any questions or feel uncertain, simply talk to the repair facility so they can explain it. Often times insurance companies use hail matrixes from over 25 years ago, for a direct repair shop and try to apply it to today. Let the repair shop get what the repair is actually worth, this does several things. First, it allows the repair shop to pay their technicians a lot more for your vehicles repair. This almost always equates to quality and simply more room to spend additional time with your vehicle. Second, it will cost you more time, just be ready for it. Your insurance company will stall and want you to shop the prices around, this is often not in your best interest and quite frankly its not your job. Ride the storm out with your original shop, you’ll be glad you did. If they want more quotes, have them send technicians to where your vehicle is parked, your original repair facility.
2. NOT PAYING FOR ACTUAL LOSS — Your walking away from the Body Shop with the keys to you’re freshly repaired car and you feel great! Then you drive to a dealership to trade your car in and you realize you have lost 10-15% of your vehicles value. I know that 10% doesn’t seem like much, but imagine handing your insurance company 10,000$. Unfortunately, most policies do not cover you for loss of actual value from body work. This is why Paintless Dent Repair is so very valuable. Why does your vehicle lose value? Think of your original paint as your original teeth vs. dentures. Dentures are never as strong, last as long, or look as nice as your original God given teeth. Paint is the same way. This is not to mention, the body fillers, aftermarket parts, parts from junk yards, and dozens of other smaller things your vehicle now has glistening inside. The soul of your original vehicle has been affectively ripped out and put back together. Your car is simply worth less than it was. So if you don’t want your car ripped apart, go Paintless.
This is why you need to fight for Paintless Dent Repair, when or if you can. Most dents can be repaired but insurance companies are not willing to pay Paintless Dent Repair more than 60% of a Body Shop repair. So if it costs 1400$ to replace the roof on your vehicle they will only pay a Dent Repair company 840$ and not a penny more. They don’t really care that you will loose 10,000$ in the process, because they don’t legally have to cover that. However, if you fight for it and request the Paintless Dent Repair, you stand to save more than the entire repair for all of the panels affected combined.
Conclusion: You have far more power than you realize. First, you can demand original manufactures parts and should, if Paintless isn’t an option. Second, you can avoid almost all replacements with Paintless Dent Repair. That is, you may not have to paint anything at all and keep your original teeth.
3. CAUSING CONFUSION — I often call this victimizing the victims. Did you know that your insurance company cannot convince you to utilize the services of a collision center with which they have an agreement, or direct repair shop? However, they have many ways to ensure you do. If your insurance has an agreement with a bodyshop to feed them work for a 30% discount, where do you think that 30% comes from? Do you think that comes from the body shop’s share? After you stop laughing, realize that these two companies are working together to get your repair done as cheaply as possible. They can wrap it in all of the golden paper they want, but at the end of the day, you’re the one holding the bag. Protect your investment, because no one else will! Your insurance company may threaten you saying that they will not cover any variance or that your vehicle will now have voided warranty. Here’s a newsflash, your insurance company doesn’t warranty anything. The shop does! If you choose to use a shop outside of their network, you won’t be paying more or losing anything. In truth, you will be gaining far more, since you will now be the customer to the bodyshop vs. The bodyshop being the customer to its buddy against you.
Conclusion: Never use the shop your insurance company wants you to. Make yourself the customer of the bodyshop and demand OEM and Paintless Dent Repair when possible.