With any luck, you will be blessed in life to have very little experience with filing auto insurance claims. If you have been in an accident, you don’t have to be an expert, we can help you. At Curley Red’s Auto Body, we’ve repaired vehicles for the past 35 years. In that time, we have helped thousands of customers work through the insurance claims process.

Below, we have outlined the high points of the claims process, the ones that most people face in a normal claim. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your customer service representative for more specific information.

  • Notice of Loss or Claim

    This is the point where you first make contact with either your insurance company or the insurance company of the other driver to file a claim. At this point, the insurance company will ask you for information (including a statement) about the accident and any other information they think will be necessary to handle the claim.

  • Verification of Coverage and Coverage Limits

    Whichever insurance company is going to pay for the repairs, yours or the other driver’s, will first need to verify that there was a valid insurance policy “in force” at the time of the accident loss. “In force” just means that they had a binding policy on that vehicle and for that type of coverage. Part of evaluating coverages is to determine whether you have the right to a rental car under your policy provisions.

  • Assigning Liability

    Next, the insurance company will want to determine for them self who is at fault, so they know if they are liable to pay for the damages. This may mean getting police reports and witness statements, in addition to the statements that they have collected from you and the other party.

  • Determine the Extent of Damage

    Once an insurance company determines that they have both coverage and liability it is time for them to determine how much they are required to pay out on the claim. The insurance company can assess the extent of damage in one of several ways:

    • send an adjuster out to inspect the vehicle
    • have you bring the car in to a drive-in estimating office
    • have you take the car to a shop in their  “direct repair” program (DRP)

    Curley Red’s Auto Body participates as a member of many insurance companies Direct Repair Programs in order to expedite repairs and get your car back to you as quickly as possible.

    One of the outcomes of this process may be that the car is determined to not be worth the cost of repairs. This happens in about one of every five claims. This is what is called a “total loss.”

  • Authorize Damage Repairs

    Once the insurance company has determined that the car is worth repairing, they should indicate to the car owner that it is O.K. to proceed with the repairs. Often, this process is short-cut by sending that notice directly to the repair shop.

  • Authorize Repair of Any Additional Discovered Damage

    Most initial estimates are performed while the car is still being driven and therefore include “visual damage” only, meaning only the damages that are visible without doing any disassembly of the damaged parts of the vehicle. That means that there is almost always additional damage discovered after the car has been dropped off at the shop. These additionally-required repairs are commonly referred to as “supplements” and are added to the original repair estimate.

  • Payment

    The final step is for the insurance company to make the payment for the repairs. If you are having repairs completed by a DRP shop, the insurance company may arrange to send payment directly to the shop. In many cases where you had the damage estimated by an adjustor or at a drive-in estimating office, they will have given you a check on the spot. If you did not receive a check, please check with your Curley Red’s Auto Body service representative to know if there is anything you need to do. This is probably a good time to discuss deductibles. A “deductible” is the amount that YOUR insurance company will deduct from their settlement for repairs. In other words, if the repair bill is $2,500 and you have a $500 deductible, the insurance company will write a check for $2,000. ($2,500 less the $500 deductible) There is no deductible when the other party’s insurance company is paying for your repairs.

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