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Educational Consumer Tips

Collision Repair

Author: Better Business Bureau
Published:

HERE ARE SOME GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW WHEN YOU HAVE AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT AND ARE IN NEED OF COLLISION REPAIR:


*No matter how minor, it is always a good idea to report every accident to the police to insure that an accurate case report is on file in case any problems arise in the future. You must also notify your insurance company. 

*Be sure to exchange your license, registration and insurance information with the other driver, any injured persons, and any police officers. 

*Seek medical attention right away, if needed. If any injuries appear serious, call for first aid. 

*Write a complete description of the accident as soon as possible. Include the location and time of the accident; document any injuries; include the name, address and telephone numbers of any witnesses and the name of the police officer who took the report. Be sure to include the following information concerning the other party: name, address, phone number; drivers license number; name of registered owner of the vehicle; insurance company name and policy number; the license plate number and state of the vehicle; the year, make and model, and color; and the number of passengers. 

*If possible, take photographs of the accident. You may want to return to the accident scene at a later date to take photographs. 

*Notify your insurance company as soon as possible, even if the claim seems small and there are no apparent injuries. 

*Be mindful of the "Appraisal Clause" in your insurance policy. If your insurance company and the collision repair shop cannot agree on what the repairs should cost, this could provide the means for a fair settlement. Make sure every detail has been attended to and repaired to your complete satisfaction before signing an insurance company's release. 

*Don't allow your car to be towed to a repair shop you're unfamiliar with. Do not authorize repairs by signing a towing release unless you have decided to have your car repaired by the shop to which it is being towed. 

*Make sure the shop you choose is registered with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. 

*If there is a problem with the repair job, contact the manager of the shop. If your problem is still not resolved, contact the Better Business Bureau and/or the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. If your insurance company recommended the repair shop to you they may be responsible and you should contact the Claims Manager. 

*If your insurance company fails to process your claim or pay the amount agreed upon, contact the Branch or Regional Claims Manager of your insurance company. If that fails, contact the New York State Insurance Department at 1-800-342-3736. 

For more information, contact:

Better Business Bureau 
(800) 828-5000  
www.upstateny.bbb.org 

This information is general in nature, and is not a Business Review on any particular company, product or service.