No one wants to be involved in a car accident. Not only is it a terrifying moment experience, but it’s also a major inconvenience.
Unfortunately, it’s also extremely common. Automobile accidents happen every day. Most drivers will average 3-4 collisions within their lifetime. On average, 70% of Americans have experienced at least one car accident in their lifetime. These numbers are high because the odds of your involvement aren’t dependent on your driving ability alone. You can be involved in a car accident that was absolutely no fault of yours.
Hopefully, you won’t be involved in an auto accident anytime soon, but it’s always good to be prepared. So, what happens after an auto accident? Your car may be damaged and possibly not even be drivable.
We’ve put together answers to some commonly asked questions so that you are fully informed of your rights as a Pennsylvania driver, and are equipped to get your car fixed and back on the road.
5 Commonly Asked Questions After an Auto Accident
1. My Car Is Damaged in an Automobile Accident – Can I Choose My Repair Shop?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s the law. According to the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicles Physical Damages Appraisers Act, you have the right to choose any auto body shop to perform the repairs to your vehicle after it’s been damaged in an auto accident.
2. My Insurance Company Says They Don’t Work with A Certain Autobody Shop – Why?
Sometimes when you contact your insurance company about repairs to your vehicle after an auto accident, they will encourage you towards a certain autobody shop. Often this is because they have previously negotiated certain terms for repair costs with this company. However, remember that according to Pennsylvania law, you have the right to choose your own company. Your insurance company may not interfere with that choice.
3. What is Insurance Steering?
When your insurance company directs you to a certain repair or autobody shop to make repairs to your damaged vehicle due to their “preferred network” or “direct repairs program,” that is called insurance steering. Insurance steering is 100% illegal under Pennsylvania legislation.
Because your insurance company is responsible for paying the cost of repairs to your damaged vehicle outside of your insurance deductible, they’re incentivized to mitigate the cost of their payout. Your insurance company wants to pay as little as possible for your car repairs, even though you have paid your premiums in full, as well as your deductible. Choosing your own repair shop means that you can choose a collision specialist who will take the utmost care in restoring your vehicle to its pre-accident condition.
Your insurance company may not come right out and tell you which auto shop to use, but may instead use some of these phrases in order to steer you towards their preferred shops:
Our appraiser is really busy right now, but if you take your car to _______ autobody shop, that will definitely speed up the process though.
We don’t work with _________ autobody shop. (This means that they don’t have previously negotiated rates with this particular shop.)
*You are well within your right to ask for suggestions from your insurance company, and they may then suggest companies. But remember, insurance companies will typically direct you to an autobody shop based solely on rates and prices—not for the quality of the work that they do.
4. What Does My Insurance Company Have to Pay For?
Your insurance company must pay for anything they are responsible for according to your policy you have set in place with them and their contractual agreement. (Every policy and agreement setup is different and can change per vehicle owner). “Know your Policy”
Generally , most policies are set to cover repairs to your damaged vehicle in order to restore it to its pre-accident condition. Your responsibility is your deductible, which will vary according to the type of auto insurance policy that you hold. Remember, you have the right to choose whatever auto and collision body shop you want to perform the repairs, no matter what the cost difference is to your insurance company.
5. What Should I Do After an Automobile Accident?
Call Bumpers Etc. Our vehicle collision and autobody services are top-tier, and we use industry-leading technology and standards in order to restore your vehicle to its pre-accident condition.
We use CCC ONE estimating platform, which allows us to identify and order precise parts for your vehicle and connects us with your insurance carrier in order to communicate effectively and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. Should you need a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired, we can help there, too.
Bumpers Etc. knows vehicles and is passionate about the care and precision we take in restoring vehicles that have been damaged in auto accidents. We’ll get you back on the road, and we’ll do it right.