Rental Car Insurance – Should You Buy Rental Car Insurance?

Your flight landed an hour late. Now, you’ll be late for that important meeting. You can already imagine your customers sitting around a conference table waiting impatiently. You step to the front of the line at the car rental counter, with six other exasperated businessmen behind you who are late for their meetings, too. The rental agent plunks the contract down in front of you, and circles all the places on the contract that you’re supposed to sign or initial. Then she stares at you, as if to say, “Hurry up!” The print is small. The sentences are written in Legalese. You’d like to stop and read the fine print, but you can feel the people behind you getting more upset. You thought you were renting a car for $35.00 per day. With all the add-ons, the cost is now $70.00 per day.

Oh…the pressure…the panic! You cave in, signing and leaving your initials in all the right places. You take your contract and keys and head for your car, inwardly feeling like a failure and mad because you didn’t stand up for yourself.

If the preceding story is too familiar, there’s hope just ahead!

It doesn’t matter if you’re a regular car renter or just an occasional traveler who needs to rent a car, you’ll likely face these kinds of choices at the car rental counter. Some folks just decline everything. Some folks purchase all of the coverage offered.

But…are you wasting bunches of money on unneeded coverage or leaving yourself dangerously under insured? Before leaving on your trip, I recommend that you make two phone calls – one to your auto insurance company and another to the credit card company you’ll be using to pay for the rental car. You’ll need to find out if you have automatic coverage for your car rental from each company, and the various terms and conditions for that automatic coverage.

FIRST…CALL YOUR CAR INSURANCE COMPANY

In your personal or business auto insurance policy, there is coverage for damage to your auto. The Insuring Agreement in most policies says: ” We will pay for direct and accidental loss to ‘your covered auto’ or any ‘non-owned auto,’ including their equipment, minus any applicable deductible shown in the Declarations.”

Another phrase is VERY IMPORTANT!

“If there is a loss to a ‘non-owned auto’, we will provide the broadest coverage applicable to any ‘covered auto’ in the Declarations.” Here’s an example of how this would work for you:

You have two vehicles. One is a 2006 Toyota Camry with full coverage. It’s worth $24,000. The other is a 1980 Chevy S-10 pickup worth $1,500 that you only use for trips back and forth to the local home improvement store, and you only have liability coverage on the pickup. If you rented a car and it got damaged, your insurance company would provide the full coverage for the rental car, which is the broadest coverage in your policy.

If you normally drive an older car with only liability insurance on it, there will not be any property damage insurance extended to the rental car. In this instance, you should either use the credit card’s Collision Damage Waiver or buy the CDW from the car rental company.

Ask your insurance company representative how much coverage you have on your car. Ask if there is a limit of value on your Collision coverage. If there is a limit, and you drive a 7 year old Ford Taurus that’s worth $5,500…and you rent a new Cadillac Escalade that’s worth $55,000…will your personal auto insurance cover the damage to the higher valued vehicle? REALLY important to know this…you could owe the rental car company tens of thousands of dollars to repair or replace a high value rental vehicle if you’re not properly covered.

Find out the limits of liability. Make sure that your limits are higher than the minimum limits required by your state. Limits above $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident for Bodily Injury, and $100,000 for Property Damage are very inexpensive. Make sure that you limits are no less than that amount…higher would be better.

Find out what collision and comprehensive deductibles you have on your car, because those deductibles will apply when you rent a car and use your own insurance for rental coverage.

Make sure that you have Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist coverage on your personal or business policy. If you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist, and the accident is his fault, recovery will be practically impossible. Likewise with a motorist who is underinsured. Best to have your own coverage protection.

Q: What if I don’t own a car, and don’t have car insurance?

A: If you do not own a car, you won’t have an automobile policy. You should buy the rental car coverage, both the CDW and liability coverage. Or, you should use your credit card’s CDW and buy the optional liability coverage from the rental car company. If you’re a frequent car renter, however, you can still buy a “non-owner” liability policy. This solution might save you money over the coverage available through the car rental company.

Q: What happens if my personal property inside the car gets damaged or stolen?

A: Most Collision Damage Waivers provide coverage for theft of the vehicle, but not any personal property stolen or damaged inside the vehicle. Check your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy because you may have coverage through them for your stolen or damaged personal property. A deductible will likely apply.

Here’s a super important tip! Some people think that, if they purchased the Collision Damage Waiver or used the CDW from their credit card, and the rental car got damaged, they don’t have to report it to their own insurance company. They are hoping that because the CDW covers the damage, it won’t affect their own insurance policy….and they won’t get a rate increase. WRONG!!! Don’t be misled into thinking that you can get away without reporting your accident to your own insurance company. In most accidents, more things get damaged than just the rental car. Even if your accident is just you running into a guardrail, whoever owns that guardrail is going to look to you to pay for the damages. Also, other people might have been injured. You could have a large liability exposure, and you might need your personal or business auto policy to cover your loss. Your insurance policy includes legal representation if someone files a lawsuit against you for damages.

If you’re going to use your own personal or business auto coverage, decline the Collision Damage Waiver on the car rental contract.

NEXT…CALL THE CREDIT CARD COMPANY

Ask your credit card company about the benefits they offer. Each company is different, and each level of credit is different. For example, a regular card might have different insurance benefits than a gold or platinum card. Ask the card company to send you your benefits IN WRITING. If you’re in a hurry, ask them to fax or email it to you.

Some cards may only cover collision and comprehensive, and leave you uninsured for liability. Some cards only offer coverage when you rent from a certain rental company. Some restrict the number of days of coverage. Some cards don’t automatically cover you and require you to sign up for a particular program. Still others limit the kinds of vehicles you can rent. (see below for some exclusions)

If you have more than one credit card, call each one and find out the card with the best benefits. Then, use that credit card to pay for your rental car, and use their benefits.

If you’re planning on using the credit card company’s coverage, you must decline the Collision Damage Waiver shown in the rental car contract. Otherwise, the credit card company’s coverage will become excess to the coverage in the rental car company’s Collision Damage Waiver. “Excess” means that any other available coverage would pay first, and the credit card coverage would pay any remaining portion of the loss.

Credit card Collision Damage Waivers cover:

o vehicle damage

o theft

o loss of use

o towing

See your credit card company’s written CDW for all the details.

Collision Damage Waivers exclude:

o Injury to anyone or damage to anything inside or outside the rental vehicle.

o Loss or theft of personal belongings.

o Liability

o Loss due to intentional acts, like DUI, drug use or other illegal activities.

o Off-road operations. If you rent an SUV and take it off-road, no coverage.

o Rental periods of more than 15 days within your country of residence, or more than 31 days in a foreign country.

o Vehicles that do not meet the definition of “covered vehicles,” such as:

– expensive, exotic and antique vehicles

– certain vans

– pickup trucks

– other trucks

– motorcycles and ATVs

See your credit card company’s written CDW for all the details.

CAR RENTAL INSURANCE

Most major rental car companies offer these four coverages.

o Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). This covers a rental vehicle damaged by an accident, vandalism, theft or loss of use. Costs range between $9 and $20 per day.

The most misunderstood part of car rental coverage is the Collision Damage Waiver, or sometimes called the “Auto Rental CDW.”

Remember…the car rental CDW provided by the car rental company is not insurance. Insurance is regulated by each state. Collision Damage coverage is a waiver. The car rental companies agree to not hold the renter responsible if the rental car is damaged or stolen, and they guarantee that they will pay for certain damages listed in their coverage agreement.

In many cases, the waiver also provides “loss of use” coverage, which pays the rental company if the damaged or stolen car cannot be rented. In most states, car insurance policies don’t cover loss of use. So, if you choose not to buy the Collision Damage Waiver, you might have a loss of use exposure if the rental car gets damaged. But if you’re using your credit card’s automatic coverage, it will pay for that loss of use.

Some car rental companies will require you to pay for repairs or replacement costs out of your own pocket up front, and then you have to get reimbursed by your own insurance company. Being forced to come up with thousands of dollars in immediate cash could ruin a vacation. You’re protected from these up-front costs by the CDW. Read your rental contract CAREFULLY!

o Personal Effects Coverage. This provides coverage for theft or damage to personal items inside the rental car. Costs range between $2 and $5 per day.

o Supplemental Liability Insurance. This provides liability coverage up to $1 million. Costs range between $7 and $9 per day.

o Personal Accident Insurance. This covers you and passengers in your vehicle for medical expenses. If you already have personal health policies or travel policies, it won’t be necessary to buy this optional coverage. It usually costs between $3 and $5 per day.

Corporate Travelers. If you’re a frequent traveler for business, do one other thing. Check with your company to find out if they have a corporate travel policy. If they do, find out what that policy covers, and then simply don’t buy duplicate coverage on the rental car contract.

Car rental outside your country of residence. Some insurers exclude coverage if you’re driving in a foreign country. Some will cover you, but only a limited time. Some credit card companies cover car rentals outside your country of residence. Check with your insurance company and credit card company for specific details, and GET IT IN WRITING!

Q: Can I allow others to drive my rental car?

A: If you’re using your personal or business auto coverage to cover your rental car, the chances are all “authorized drivers” are covered. An “authorized driver” is anyone listed on the policy. However, here’s a BIG GOTCHA! If your teenaged son drives your rental car and he allows his girlfriend to drive the car, you’re covered. If the girlfriend allows another person to drive, NO COVERAGE!

Some car rental companies have exclusions for young drivers. Some charge extra for young drivers. Find out this information BEFORE you arrive at the car rental counter.

Q: How do I file a claim if I’ve had an accident?

A: When you experience the damage or theft, immediately get a camera and take lots of photos of the damage, including any other autos or property that was damaged. Keep those photos! Notify the rental company IMMEDIATELY of the damage.

Report the damage to your own auto insurance company if you have personal or business coverage.

When you return the vehicle to the rental company immediately ask for:

o A copy of the accident report and any claim documents, which should show the amount you’re responsible to pay, as well as any amounts that have been paid toward the claim.

o A copy of the initial and final auto rental agreements.

o A copy of the repair estimate or the paid repair invoice.

o A police report, if one exists.

So the bottom line is this:

If you have personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance or corporate travel coverage, it is usually not necessary to pay for the Collision Damage Waiver or extra coverages offered to you by the rental car contract. Your situation may vary.

Get everything in writing, and make an informed decision. Then enjoy your car rental experience!

Learn How To Find A Good Windshield Repair Expert

It’s all about getting to know the mindset of your glass installation service provider. You could do this by having a discussion about his perception of the current projects. There’s always the chance a local window repair service contractor may lie to you about being capable. The perfect car window repairman will be able to apply their method of working to your expectations for the project. We’ve put together some strategies to help you find the perfect contractor for your individual renovation needs.

Ensure that the glass installation provider is working properly – by visiting the work site regularly. When you call references, make sure to get in contact with everyone on the list, getting a clear understanding of their opinion of the glass replacement service provider and whether they are interested in repeat service is of vital importance. Hire them when you ensure all references are positive. Online reviews are also a good source of dependable information. Your glass installation repair provider has to know if the work area will include a pet. The local window repair service contractor may, as a matter of fact, ask that the pet be kept away from the work place so that he could work freely.

Prior to hiring a window replacement service contractor, ask his past clients if they would rehire him. In addition, request that the glass installation service provider provides financial references, including suppliers. You will probably be in a position to tell by the quality of the products a professional car window repairman uses whether or not they do quality work that can last. Make sure you get all of the information about the materials to be used.

Highly regarded window repair installation service contractors take pride in presenting a written estimate to a prospective client prior to they begin a job. A phone estimate should not be a problem for a professional car window repairman. Prior to working with a contractor, ensure they have the right experience and enough time to dedicate to the project. Take care of all issues prior to picking a professional car window repairman. Windshield repair experts are in high demand during the summer months. Carefully consider who you employ, most specifically around this time period. There are many window repair installation contractors who will take on extra work during the summer, only to run out of time and deliver some projects late. Hire a local car window repairman that you know will see your project through to the end.

There are lots of window repair installation service contractors out there, but you should be cautious in your search. Check with friends, family, and co-workers for recommendations. It is also a perfect idea to participate in remodeling conventions. You may perhaps find a local car window repairman that would offer their services to you. Using these methods, you’ll have the opportunity to check out a variety of contractors and choose the best one to work with.

How To Find The Best Auto Body Collision Repair Center For You And What Constitutes As A Good Shop

The event of an accident can be very stressful. Finding the right Auto Body Shop can be just as excruciating, I hope to alleviate most of your worries in this article explaining what makes a good (if not great) Auto Body Shop, and how you can find the one that’s right for you.

The best auto collision shops are determined by the quality of work/materials that are applied, and the timeliness of the overall job. Quality can be separated by two different attributes (1) parts/materials and (2) labor. The quality of factory OEM parts far exceeds that of the aftermarket kind. Sure aftermarket products are cheaper, but that’s what’s also happening to your vehicle it’s being “cheapened.” Simply put the materials used are of poor quality, this problem magnifies with misshapen parts due to terrible molds. A good shop will avoid this route by any means necessary. With a factory OEM part the vehicle owner is maintaining the value of their automobile, along with its structural durability. The bondo, primer, and paint needed to repair your vehicle should be of the highest quality in order to produce the best resulting finished product. Most auto body shops have converted to water-based environmentally safe painting, and only a good body shop will offer a lifetime guarantee on these paint jobs.

The quality of labor is a significant factor in a vehicle’s finished result. Starting with properly trained technicians who should be certified in their field of automotive work (iCar, PPG, etc.). Their experience plays a bigger role as well, for example we have employees with various related backgrounds in mechanics, engineering, and custom fabrication. This helps out when rapid knowledge is needed regarding a vehicle with custom modifications. A good collision repair shop will also have knowledge in all major automobile models including old and new.

A shop’s slow repair process can sometimes be unintentional. Insurance companies are required to pay within 10 days after a claim receipt has been made, but this isn’t always the case; Insurance companies avoid payment by evading phone calls to “wear you out”. A good shop will stand up for their customer, and deal directly with the insurance. This is not to be confused with a “direct repair shop” or a “preferred provider” shop that works with the insurance to save them money and devalue your vehicle with aftermarket parts in order to secure work for themselves. A good shop will advocate for their customer against the insurance company in order to receive optimum repair coverage for your vehicle. Once the correct claim estimate is fashioned a well-established body shop will order the parts needed to repair the vehicle as soon as possible. It is important to do this right away to keep from back orders, shipping delays, or any other problems that can occur (like the wrong part showing up). The overall turnaround time is determined by the amount of work needed for the vehicle, delays caused by insurance and parts companies, and the effectiveness of the auto collision repair shop.

A great way to determine how effective an Auto Body Shop operates is to use review sites. Yelp is a great way to see how well a collision repair shop is doing. You will most likely be able to verify a business’s time or quality based off of reviews created for that specific shop. Another way to find reviews regarding a shop is to use Facebook or Google Reviews. Although these sites aren’t as reputable as yelp (due to superior algorithm functions), they can give you more perspective of how well that specific collision repair shop is doing. Try to use your best judgment, and don’t always trust every review. Remember you have the choice to choose the body shop you want! Don’t be steered by your insurance company or anyone else. Do the research and educate yourself, and I promise you will be satisfied with your newly repaired vehicle.

How to Avoid Being Swindled by a General Contractor

As an executive in the construction industry, I have witnessed some shady dealings and have seen how some contractors try to swindle clients. I find this offensive on so many different levels. There is no reason to be dishonest, it always comes back to bite you where the flesh is tender, it hurts others, ruins one’s reputation and soon ruins one’s entire business.

I have consistently found that honest dealings with clients have expanded our business and created long-lasting friendships.

Plus, I firmly believe in the reaping of what one sows adage, and that what goes around comes around.

I don’t know about you, but I much prefer to create a happy and enjoyable future, than one where I have no friends, my reputation (if I have any left) is in tatters, and where I am possibly facing some bad-tempered magistrate.

Our general contractor (GC) ran across yet another dishonest contractor this morning and came back to the office in quite a state, and so decided that I needed to do a bit more, use my knowledge to warn unsuspecting homeowners. Someone warned me that I might make more enemies than friends in my business. I don’t believe that for a second for I know many more honest people than dishonest ones, and if the later decide to dislike me I would tend to think that I have successfully forewarned some homeowners and save someone a heartache and money.

There are several ways that a dishonest contractor can try to swindle you.

1- Give the home owner a very low ball estimate.

A perfect example of this is the story of this morning I referred to earlier. We had turned in an estimate for building a kitchenette in an unfinished basement. The homeowner told our GC she was absolutely stunned that our estimate was three times higher than that of another contractor’s.

Let me just say that there is absolutely no way to do this job for a third of the price we gave her. Included in our estimate for a kitchenette were demolition of an existing room, framing the walls, rough and finish electrical, plumbing, HVAC including all the fixtures, insulation on exterior walls, drywall, paint, tile floor, tile backsplash, kitchen cabinets and an island, granite tops, all appliances, labor and material for all listed. You get the idea.

But this “low balling” is not a new tactic. Its purpose is to get the job and then start adding cost while the job is going on, claiming unforeseen expenses, change orders or situations.

Once a homeowner finds himself in the middle of a project it is very hard to fire an existing contractor and take the time to find a new one.

Solution: When you see a large price discrepancy between two estimates get a couple more bids. This will give you a very good idea of what the job should cost. There is absolutely no doubt that every project must factor unforeseen circumstances, i.e., mold is found in the walls during demolition, the house is old and electrical wiring is not up to code, previous work is shoddy and isn’t known until looked at newly. The list is unfortunately long. But more often than not an estimate can give you a very good idea of what the cost will be.

2- Not paying the sub-contractors and keeping the money.

While this scenario may not be as prevalent as the first one described, it does occur. The general contractor hires sub-contractors and keeps all the money for himself. This leaves the homeowner holding the bag and liens get filed against the house. It can result in costly and drawn out legal battles, and stress levels going out the roof.

Solution: Ask your contractor for a few references of previous clients. Find out if there are any complaints filed against him with the licensing department of your state.

3- Outrageous remodeling estimate.

This unethical practice is used by contractor who seek out clients who have no idea of construction costs. This method doesn’t work with most people, but it is done enough to be lucrative for some companies, similarly to a car mechanic swindling someone who knows nothing of car repair.

Solution: get more than one estimate.

4- “The friend and family discount”.

The work is offered to be done on off-hours and weekend as a favor and at a reduced price by someone who is not licensed or insured. Under this scenario, rest assured that no permits will be pulled and no inspections will be done. Beside the fact that this practice is outright illegal, it hits the safety issue directly, electrical is shoddy and is a fire hazard, plumbing is sub-standard and results in pipes breaking and flooding, to name but a couple of possible ramifications. This can also negatively affect the resale of your home and drive down the value of the property.

Solution: Hire a licensed and insured contractor with a good reputation. It takes very little time to look your contractor up on the internet and contact the licensing department of your state to find out if the company is duly registered and if any complaints have been filed.

5- Causing damage to create more work.

The unethical contractor damages something in the home and claims that it needs to be repaired at an extra cost.

Solution: Any damage caused by a contractor or a sub-contractor is not your financial responsibility. A contractor is legally expected to fix and pay for any damage caused during the job.

Additional signs that a contractor is dishonest:

1- Refuses to sign a contract

2- Accepts only cash as a form of payment

3- Refuses to give references, or refuses to provide a copy of his license and insurance.

4- Tells you that you will need to pull permits yourself.

Most contractors are law-abiding, decent, and do good work. The few who fall in the category of dishonesty can be avoided by following the above advice.

I wish you an easy and happy experience while remodeling.

Choosing A Local Auto Body Repair Company

Ah, you have been in accident! Not a favorite experience of many people. Whats even worse than the actual fallout of the automobile accident itself is getting your vehicle repaired.

If you go through a reputable and ethical auto body repair shop you will end up with an automobile that drives and looks just like its was never wrecked. If you go through a shady company you will have a substandard vehicle that will have a really low re-sell value in the future. Here is what you can do to prevent the latter from happening.

Make Sure The Estimate Includes Factory Parts

How can one body shop give you an estimate that is half the cost of another? The answer usually is that one will use aftermarket parts that cost half the price.

This is very important to know! Aftermarket parts are usually not high in quality and many times do not fit exactly like original ones made from the actual manufacturer. Shops usually have to play and bend aftermarket parts to work and they do not usually last a long time. They can also compromise a car’s tolerance to withstand another wreck. A bumper for instance made by the manufacturer is made to withstand a certain impact. Its made to bend and crumple a certain way so that the people in the car absorb as little shock as possible. An aftermarket part may look genuine but it is probably made out of inferior materials and its threshold is a lot lower.

Demand that original parts be used to rebuild your car.

Check the Better Business Bureau for Any Complaints

Look up a company in the BBB and see if any complaints have been filed in the last year. If so try to inquire why. If a certain business has high stars and a high satisfaction rate then you have a good idea of what company you are dealing with.

Ask For A Couple References

Ask them to supply you with the name of recent customers who they have serviced. Call them up. See if these individuals were happy with the work that was performed for them. If an auto body shop is hesitant to supply with at least three names then I would go somewhere else.

Warranty

Any service like this should stand behind their work and offer some type of guarantee. They should back all their parts and labor with a warranty that lasts at least a year. If something falls off or if the paint fades after only a month then you want to make sure that they are willing to fix their mistake.

Ask To See Pictures

Ask a body shop to see some before and after photos. Do they have experience in doing the work you need done? Have they ever worked on your type of car before? What is the worst wreck they have fixed? These things are good points to keep in mind.

How to Determine Your Bidding Limits for an Auto Auction

Buying a used vehicle at an auto auction is a great way to save money on a car or truck, but before the day of the sale it’s important that you determine the amount of money that you can spend. After you purchase the vehicle, you don’t want to discover that you can’t afford the insurance, taxes and other costs that are associated with the purchase of a used car. In addition to the bidding price of the vehicle, don’t forget to figure in the costs below so you don’t go over your budget.

Insurance

The cost of an insurance policy on a vehicle will vary and it depends on several factors including the make and model of the car or truck. If you know what type of vehicle you want to buy, give your insurance agent a call to get an estimate of the cost of insurance. Since you won’t need a lender to finance your vehicle, as you must pay for the vehicle in full before it leaves the lot, you don’t have to get comprehensive or collision insurance if you don’t want it. Of course, if you can’t afford to pay for car repairs in the event of an accident, it’s a good idea to have this extra insurance, but it’s not mandatory. Purchasing liability insurance is the law in every state, so you will at least have to purchase a liability policy.

Taxes, Plates and Additional Fees

After buying a used vehicle, you will have to visit a Department of Motor Vehicles office in your area to pay the state sales tax. You can contact the DMV office before going to the auto auction to find out the sales tax rate in your city. The amount of sales tax you’ll pay is determined by the price you pay for the car. After determining your vehicle budget, you can figure out an estimate of the sales tax after finding out the rate.

After buying an auction vehicle, you’ll also have to get license plates and tags. If this vehicle is a replacement for your current vehicle that already has license plates, you can request a transfer of plates and then pay the fee. Contact the DMV in your area to find out the fees for license plates or a transfer.

When buying a vehicle at an auto auction, it’s also necessary to pay a buyer’s fee. You can find out how much this fee is by calling the auto auction contact number. The fee is usually based on the selling price of the vehicle during the auction.

When figuring out your bidding limit at the auto auction, don’t forget to add in these costs and fees. By doing a little math first, you’ll be confident that you can afford the car you want and the extra costs won’t stretch your budget.

Five Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop

Choosing an auto body shop doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience. Estimates from different shops will likely fluctuate, sometimes to the point where you wonder if you are getting quotes for the same repair on the same vehicle. Consider these five tips to help guide you in making your decision:

1. Get Multiple Estimates

This one is obvious. Not only will multiple auto body shop quotes give you some idea of the “middle ground,” you’ll feel better knowing that you did your homework and you aren’t simply going with the cheapest… or worse yet, the most costly proposition.

2. Are They Certified and Insured

Do they seem reputable and carry all the appropriate certifications insurance?

Is the location a direct repair facility for your insurance company?

If you are completely new to the facility and going in with very little information on them, check for appropriate licensing hanging on the wall near the register.

Things can go wrong with any repair shop and your vehicle will be living there for a while, so you want to make sure that the repair facility you choose is protected in the event of fire, theft, or natural disaster.

3. Parts and Warranty

What is the warranty on repairs? Depending on whether they are a direct repair facility for your insurance company, you will likely get anywhere between 1 year and a lifetime warranty. Comparing warranties between locations can be a big indicator of the quality of parts and workmanship. You want to hire someone willing to stand by their craft.

Do they use aftermarket or used parts? Used parts don’t necessarily mean quality is bad, but when comparing quotes, you want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. If one location is offering used parts and another new, and their estimates are the same, look closer. What is making up the extra cost in the estimate for the shop offering the used parts? The per-hour labor costs may be higher at that particular shop.

What kind of paint matching technology do they use? You want to be sure that they can make an exact match of the paint code for your vehicle, and that they are using a high-quality coating.

4. Reputation

Do they have a good local reputation? Are they part of a social network where you can check for reviews? Ask around to friends and family; almost everyone has used an auto body shop at some point, and you’ll be surprised how much information you can gather by listening to other people’s experiences.

5. Trust Your Gut… and Relax

If you are searching for an auto body shop, you and your car likely just went through a stressful experience. Trust your gut after visiting the location; you want to leave feeling that the customer service seems knowledgeable about their industry and genuine about service. If anything about the experience seems not above board, keep looking, and use the tips above to guide you until you find a professional you can feel good about.

Tips And Tricks For Windshield Repair And Windshield Replacement

No one likes to think about a chipped or damaged windshield. This is partly due to a misconception that any damage requires a windshield to be replaced and that insurance companies will refuse to cover the cost of the job. In actuality, windshield repair is often the solution to problems and not only is it reasonably priced, it is often covered in the comprehensive portion of auto insurance.

The biggest thing to remember when you’re dealing with a damaged windshield is to get your insurance company involved as soon as possible. Informing them right away that you have some damage, as well as how the damage happened, will help get the ball rolling as far as an estimate and repair work. Many insurance companies require that you use a certain company for the replacement or that you gather estimates from a few local businesses. Understanding their requirements will smooth the way to a relatively easy process.

Chips and small cracks, up to the size of a dollar bill, are prime candidates for windshield repair. Repair jobs can be done quickly and most companies now offer mobile repair units which can come to address the problem without upsetting your schedule. The repair is done by injecting a special epoxy into the crack or chip. This epoxy is formulated to be both strong and clear so that once it dries and if buffed it is nearly impossible to see where the damage had once been. The structural integrity of your windshield is never compromised by a repair done professionally with quality products.

Windshield replacement jobs are much more complicated and this is why so many insurance and windshield companies encourage drivers to get problems repaired quickly. The entire process for a windshield replacement can actually take up to a week since the windshield usually needs to be ordered in before work can even begin. Once the new windshield has been delivered, the old windshield must be removed and all of the seals need to be clean and checked and, in some cases, entirely replaced. Once the new windshield is in place the adhesive used to mount it needs plenty of time to dry. Thus curing process can take several hours or even as long as a full day. Once the adhesive has dried the entire windshield needs to be inspected for safety and authorized by a safety professional before the customer can drive away.

There are those who say do it yourself windshield repair kits are just as good as a job done by a trained professional. In fact, these home remedies – which range from using crazy glue or nail polish to buying kits available online – are not covered by insurance and should the process go wrong or result in further damage, you will be responsible for the cost of the entire job. Additionally, these fixes do not ensure that your windshield will be as strong as it would be if treated professionally and this can place both the driver and any passengers at risk in case of accident or if the chip or crack spreads and weakens the windshield as a whole. Quick fixes may be tempting to try but it’s a gamble that can end up costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in windshield replacement bills.

Michigan Mini Tort Claims – Recovering Vehicle Damage Costs in a Car Accident

What is Mini-Tort?

Michigan’s no-fault laws do not require collision coverage. That is where the limited property damage liability or mini-tort provision comes into play. Limited property damage liability, known as the mini-tort exception allows for Michigan accident victims to recover up to $500 of their vehicle repair costs under certain circumstances. The purpose is to compensate a person involved in a car accident that was not at-fault for out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the collision. Michigan mini tort law is premised upon people being free to purchase their own collision coverage. If an individual has existing collision coverage, the full vehicle repair costs from the accident will be paid from that policy. However, even if someone has collision coverage, he can still make a mini tort claim for incidental, out-of-pocket expenses such as a deductible. There are varying degrees of collision insurance, but generally speaking it covers the cost of repairs to the driver’s own vehicle.

How do you qualify and what can be collected?
If you are without collision coverage on your car, or your coverage is limited, and you are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you can recoup some of your out-of-pocket costs to fix your car via the mini-tort. How much you can recover depends on how much fault you bear. For example, let’s say the damage to your car amounts to $100 and the other driver is deemed 75 percent at fault for the accident. Then he or she would pay $75. These cases are normally handled in a small claims court, but either party involved in the car crash may ask to have the case moved up to a higher jurisdiction.

How do you file a Mini-Tort claim?
To recover vehicle damage costs, you can write a letter to the insurance company of the person who caused the accident, and request the money. Include the police report proving the person who caused the accident was at-fault; a declaration sheet from your own insurance company showing your coverage; and an estimate of vehicle repairs and/or photos including the license plate. You have three years from the date of the car accident to file a mini tort lawsuit or collect your mini tort claim. After three years, your claim will be time-barred and you will be unable to collect your mini tort claim under Michigan law.

Car Window Repair Or Replacement At Your Fingertips

Even for the safest and most observant drivers accidents happen. A cracked or broken windshield can happen in traffic or in front of your home. There are precautions that can be taken but even with all those there is still a probability that you will have the need of a car window repair or replacement eventually.

With all the big named and highly respected companies around that are experts in the field it will be no problem to find one who can recommend the best route to take for the repair job. They will often give a free estimate for you while you wait and often over the phone.

If you want to attempt to do the repair by yourself that is also an option you can explore. There are many places, auto recyclers and also glass manufacturers who will have the right part for you that you can pull yourself or they can pull it for you. If you choose this route it is highly recommended that you always wear gloves. Even with safety glass which is installed in most cars today there remains a possibility that it will shatter or shard leaving open a danger to you.

Some shops have mobile replacement trucks. They will receive your information and bring the parts to your home or office and do the job right there while you are at work or having dinner with family. The install takes only a short time and they guarantee their work. You will be required to let it set for at least an hour but after that you are free to go.

It is recommended to fix the break as soon as possible. When there is a broken window the entire structural integrity has been breached. Leaving it for too long can cause issues with the sealing technique that goes with the windows installation itself.

You will be in good hands with anyone you choose as long as you do the necessary research before you buy. No matter which way you go, getting the job done will take a load of stress off your mind.