What should I do if I’m involved in an accident?

First make sure everyone is okay, then Call 911 to report the accident, or ask someone else to call for you. If your vehicle is drive-able and blocking traffic, or if you are in a dangerous spot, move the vehicle, or get out of it and off to the side of the road to a safer area.

Once I’ve called 911, what else should do?

Exchange information with the other driver, making sure to get their following information. (Name, address, phone #, license #, date of birth, Insurance company, vehicle year, make, model, plate and VIN #) Make sure you provide the same information to the other driver….Remember: It’s just an accident, so leave the arguing to the insurance companies. After all, that’s what you pay them to do, so try to stay calm.

Do I have to use one of my insurance company’s “Referral Shops”?

NO..none of that is true. Simply put, under MA insurance laws, you have the right to have your vehicle repaired wherever you want, as long as it is by a “MA Registered Repair Shop.”  If you’re not sure about that, then ask the shop for their RS Number. Your insurance company is required by law to negotiate the repairs with the shop of your choice, and it is the shop which must guarantee the repairs, NOT your insurance company. When an insurance company tells you to go to one of their “Referral Shops” on their list, or implies that if you don’t, “you could have problem with that shop” or, “it could end up costing you extra” they are blatantly breaking the law in a process that is called “steering.” If this should happen to you, let your repair shop know about it, and call the MA Attorney General’s office to file a complaint or online here: http://www.mass.gov/ago/consumer-resources/filing-a-complaint-with-the-attorney-generals.html

My car is driveable and the insurance company told me to take it to one of their “Drive-In claims center” to be looked at. Do I HAVE to take it there?

While you CAN take it there, you are not required to do so. Many times insurance companies will tell you to bring it to their “Drive-In” or they will offer to look at your vehicle at your home or where you work. Some companies will then print you an estimate on the spot, or they will mail it to you. Many times this just complicates the repair process and can cause delays. The best way to handle this, is to tell them that you want your vehicle viewed at the body shop that will be doing the repairs. That way, the body shop and the insurance appraiser can look over the damage together, and come to an agreed figure as to what needs to be done in order to bring the vehicle back to it’s pre-accident condition.

Do “Referral shops” or auto dealer body shops do better repairs than independent body shops?

No. Many people mistakenly think that only a new car dealer can repair their vehicle properly. That is simply not true at all. Most auto body shops take great pride in their work, and that includes dealers, referral shops, as well as independent body shops. Remember, it’s YOUR choice where to bring your vehicle for repairs. Don’t be swayed into thinking that you have to bring it to one of their “Referral Shops”.

Why is my insurance company using “After Market” parts to repair my vehicle?

The simple answer is so they can save themselves money! It’s also the same reason they have “Referral Shops” that are willing to work for low labor rates! The shop signs on to the insurance companies “Referral List” with the hope that they will be sent more insurance customers for repair work. In many instances, the use of aftermarket parts and using a referral shop to do your repairs, CAN result in a sub-standard repairs too your vehicle. The A/M parts may not fit correctly, could void your vehicles warranty, and the “Referral” shop may try to “cut corners” in order to keep the insurance company happy and continue to get more customers from them. Would you use this same type of logic if you needed open heart surgery? Remember: “You buy cheap, you get cheap”….Come to Cloot’s Auto Body. We’ll treat you right !!!!

I was in an accident and my vehicle is now considered a “Total Loss” by my insurance company. What should I do to make sure I’m getting treated fairly by my insurance company, and that I am being compensated the full amount of the value for my vehicle?

First and foremost, DO NOT let your insurance company move your vehicle. If they are paying daily storage charges on it, then they will want to settle the claim as soon as possible in order to keep their cost down. By allowing them to move it, you may find yourself at the “back of the line” which could result in your claim taking longer to resolve. You can always offer to let them move it to your residence if the storage becomes an issue. The next thing you’ll want to do is find out what your vehicle was worth prior to the accident.

The quickest way to find out the value of your vehicle is to go to our “Links Page” and click on the NADA tab. Pick out the make of vehicle and follow the prompts until you reach the end and it gives you a value for your vehicle prior to the accident. Print the report out and keep it handy for the next time you talk to your insurance company.You can also pick up some of the “Auto Trader” magazines that are sold at local convenience stores, and find similar vehicles to see what they are selling for.

Remember, by having all this information ahead of time, you will have a better idea as to whether or not your insurance company is treating you fairly or not….If you’re still not sure, then give us a call or stop by. We’ll be glad to help.

I have a few more questions but don’t see them listed here. Can you help me?

Absolutely! Call Cloot’s Auto Body or stop by. We are happy to help you any way we can.

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