Collision Repair Process After an Accident
What is the process of having your car repaired after a collision?
In this post, we go through the basic steps of the collision repair process to get your car fixed.
Immediately after an accident, your first step is to check on the safety of everyone involved. After checking on the people in the cars, call the police to file an accident report. The accident report will be important for documenting the collision and determining fault for the insurance claim.
Once you have the accident report and the vehicles have been removed from the accident scene, contact your insurance agent to file a claim. Your insurance agent will help you figure out what action to take next and may suggest where to tow your car if it needs it.
Your insurance carrier may prefer that you use a center within their network. Just because they may suggest a preferred auto body shop, that doesn’t mean they get to make the decision where to take your car for repairs. Your insurance coverage allows you to take your vehicle to body shop of your choice.
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Once you have taken your car to an auto body repair shop, an inspection will be performed by a technician to determine the full extent of the damage. Parts may need to be removed to check for hidden damage behind them.
Your mechanic will document all damages and create a written estimate for the cost of the parts and labor. You will receive a copy of the estimate and a copy will need to be sent to your insurance company by either you or the shop. Be sure to ask any questions you may have about the estimate and how long repairs may take.
If the accident caused enough damage to the vehicle and you have an older model car, this is the point in the process where your insurance company may determine that it is not cost effective to repair the vehicle. Car insurance companies label a vehicle a “total loss” when the cost to repair the vehicle to its pre-damaged state exceeds the cost of the vehicle’s worth or actual cash value.
You will need to receive approval from your auto insurance company before you can authorize the body shop to begin repairs. Let your mechanic know as soon as you have approval because they may need to order parts to complete all repairs.
You can ask the body shop if they will order aftermarket or OEM parts. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM are usually more expensive, but they’re often the preferred choice given the quality and warranty. Once the parts have arrived, the technician will complete the repairs.
The auto body shop should begin repairs as soon as they can. You should have received an estimate for how long this process will take.
It’s important to complete all mechanical repairs in conjunction with structural repairs if possible. First, they will get your car is structurally and mechanically sound. Then the bodywork can be worked on. Once bodywork is completed, all exterior parts will be straightened and prepared for paint.
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The final fix for your car will be the painting. An experienced technician will precisely match the shade of new paint to the existing paint on the car. The vehicle is prepped to ensure the surface is perfectly smooth and adhesive. Parts are sanded, the primer is applied, the base coat is applied, and a clear coat is added to protect the finish. After curing, the painted surfaces will be polished to a glossy finish.
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Detailing and Pre-Delivery
After repairs are completed, your car gets a wash and interior cleaning. The body paint is polished and surfaces cleaned and buffed. Your lights and safety components are checked and a quick test drive is done. At this point, if everything has gone well, it should be ready for delivery back to you.
At this point, you should be able to return to the auto body shop and pick up your car. Your mechanic will give you a list of all repairs and expenses. Be sure to check your vehicle and make sure it is running normally.
Need a reliable repair shop you can trust?
Probst Collision is the top auto body repair shop in New Lenox, IL. We provide collision repair, dent removal, mechanical repair, airbag replacement, and auto body painting in the local area to customers from New Lenox, Joliet, Mokena, Frankfort, Manhattan and other southwest Chicagoland cities. Contact us or get an online estimate.