Questions, Answers and Insurance Rights
You should know:
- No law requires you to get more than one estimate.
- You are not obligated to use any particular shop to obtain repairs.
- You choose the shop AND authorize the repairs.
- You do not have to accept insurance companies appraisal of the damage.
- See the "appraisal clause" in your policy to resolve differences.
- You are responsible for the cost of all repairs. Financial arrangement must be completed before vehicle can be released.
- Our people are professionally trained craftsmen who will do a quality job restoring your vehicle at a fair price.
Insured Motorists' Rights in Wisconsin: FAQ
Do I have the right to select the shop of my choice to repair my car? [+]
Yes, as the vehicle owner you decide where, when and how that vehicle is repaired.
Must I notify my insurance company? [+]
Yes. Insurance policies require that you notify the company or your agent as soon as possible after an accident, make a damage report, and tell them where the damaged vehicle may be inspected.
Do I need to get more than one estimate? [+]
No. Only one damage report is necessary from the repair shop of your choice. However, the insurance company will usually want to have their own adjuster inspect the damage. If your insurance company has a drive-in claim service and your vehicle is safe to drive, you should call them for an appointment, take your car there, make sure you receive a copy of the insurance adjuster's estimate, and then take the estimate and your vehicle to the shop of your choice.
If your vehicle is not safe to drive, simply have it towed to the repair shop of your choice. When you notify your insurance company about the accident, tell them that the vehicle is not drivable and where it can be inspected.
What do I do if the repair shop I choose and my insurance company disagree about how my car should be repaired or what the repairs should cost? [+]
In special circumstances, if the repair shop's estimate differs from the insurance company adjuster's estimate, you can negotiate an agreement with the insurance company under which they will pay less than the full amount of the repair costs and you will assume responsibility for the difference.
If you and your insurance company can't agree on a fair settlement of your claim, most insurance policies provide for an appraisal process. When you and your insurance company fail to agree, either party may demand an appraisal of loss within 60 days after the claim has been filed. Each party may then select a competent appraiser to represent them, and the two appraisers will select a disinterested umpire. If the two appraisers do not agree, they submit their findings to an umpire. The umpire's decisions sets the amount the insurance company must pay.
Who is responsible for paying the repair bill? [+]
You are. The vehicle owner must arrange for payment of the repair bill. Your insurance states that the insurer will reimburse you for the cost of repairs minus any deductibles or depreciation. You can instruct your insurance company to pay the repair shop directly, but make sure that the payment is in the hands of the repair shop when you pick up your car.
Who is responsible for the quality of repairs? [+]
The shop. That is why it is important for you to select a repair shop with a properly trained staff of technicians and the equipment necessary to restore your vehicle to its pre-accident condition.
Who do I contact if there is a problem with the repair job? [+]
First, the manager of the shop. If your shop cannot solve your problem, you should contact your insurance company's claim manager. If the problem is still not resolved, you may ultimately want to contact the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection or your local Better Business Bureau.
What can I do if I have a problem with the way my insurance company is processing or settling my claim? [+]
As a citizen, you have the right to contact the Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner's office, the agency charged with regulating and disciplining the insurance industry. The Commissioner's Office cannot by itself resolve damage, coverage or liability disputes, but it can obtain written explanations from insurance companies regarding their positions. Having a written explanation may be useful to you if you have to resort to litigation to resolve a dispute with an insurance company.
How will I know if my insurance company is intending to have replacement (after market) parts used in the repair of my vehicle? [+]
The insurer is required, by law, to notify the insured if "non-original manufacturer replacement parts" (aftermarket) are intended to be used in the repair of the vehicle. Notice shall be in writing but a verbal statement is allowed if it is followed by a written notice within three days.
Some terms that identify "non-original manufacturer replacement parts" are: A/M, aftermarket, quality replacement part, QRP CAPA, PXN (Parts Exchange New), competitive part and economy part. Aftermarket parts are not manufactured nor warrantied by the manufacturer of your vehicle.
Who should I contact if I have insurance-related problems? [+]
Insurance Commissioner Office (OCI)
PO Box 7873
Madison, WI 53707
Tel: (608) 266-0103 or (800) 236-8517
Fax: (608) 266-9935
Who should I contact if I have insurance-related problems? [+]
Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection (DATCP)
PO Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708
Tel: (608) 224-5012
Fax: (608) 224-5045
WHERE DO I GET A CLAIM NUMBER? [+]
Claim numbers are issued by your insurance company at the time you report your accident. Just jot it down and bring it in with you when you come in to begin the repair process, we will do the rest.
WILL THE PARTS BE ORDERED BEFORE I DROP OFF MY VEHICLE FOR REPAIR? [+]
Absolutely. We generally order your vehicle's parts at the time that we write the estimate and schedule your vehicle for drop-off a couple of days later unless your vehicle is found unsafe to drive, then we would help you arrange for a rental vehicle as soon as possible. This enables us to provide quicker turnaround time.
IF MY VEHICLE'S FRAME IS DAMAGED IS IT A TOTAL LOSS? [+]
No. A car is a total loss only when the price of repairs exceeds the insurance company's determined value of your vehicle. Nowadays, most cars are built using unibody (frame and body as one) construction. Our highly skilled technicians, with the aid of our state-of the-art computer measuring system , can return your vehicle to its original factory specifications. If it is determined that the frame section is bent beyond repair, that section can simply be replaced.
CAN YOU MATCH THE PAINT COLOR? [+]
Today's modern factory finishes incorporate multiple layers of highly specialized paints. We have made a major investment in the finest paint system available and constantly upgrades its technology and equipment to ensure that each vehicle's paint matches. We take special pride in our ability to match factory finishes as the final step in the restoration process.
CAN I GET OTHER SERVICE WORK DONE ON MY VEHICLE WHILE IT IS IN THE BODY SHOP? [+]
Yes. Just let your advisor know what other work you would like done so that he or she can make the necessary arrangements.
HOW LONG WILL THE REPAIRS TO MY VEHICLE TAKE? [+]
Your advisor can give you an estimate of the time it will take to complete the repairs to your vehicle. Be sure to check with your advisor for the specifics on your vehicle.
CAN I GET A RIDE HOME WHEN I DROP OFF MY CAR? [+]
Yes, we would be happy to provide this service to you. We want each customer's visit to be a positive experience and will work diligently towards that goal. We provide a pickup and delivery service.
HOW CAN I GET A RENTAL CAR? [+]
If you need a rental car, we can help you make the necessary arrangements. Insurance companies will only pay for a rental car if you have that option on your policy or if you are the claimant. Check your policy and/or call your insurance company to find out if you have rental coverage and what your specific limitations are.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN MY CAR IS DONE? [+]
You will be notified when your vehicle is ready to be picked up. Feel free to call or e-mail your advisor during the repair process if you have questions or concerns.
IS THERE A WARRANTY ON THE REPAIRS TO MY VEHICLE? [+]
Yes. We guarantee all repairs with a Lifetime Warranty.
DO I HAVE TO PAY A DEDUCTIBLE? [+]
The amount of deductible that you will be responsible for is determined by your insurance policy. If you aren't sure about your deductible, you can call your insurance agent.
WHO DO I PAY MY DEDUCTIBLE TO? [+]
It will be your responsibility to pay us when you pick up your vehicle. If you aren't sure about your deductible, you can call your insurance agent.
WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT? [+]
The easiest and most convenient way to pay for your portion of the repairs to your vehicle is with a major credit card. We accept Visa, MasterCard, & Discover. Of course, cash and checks are always welcome.
WHAT ARE BETTERMENT CHARGES? [+]
Parts that wear out and need replacement with time and use (i.e., tires, batteries, and suspension parts) are commonly subject to betterment charges when they are replaced during the repair process. These betterment charges are determined by your insurance company and are pro-rated based on actual miles on your vehicle.
CAN I WASH MY CAR? [+]
RECOMMENDATIONS AND PRECAUTIONS IN THE FIRST 30 DAYS
- Wash the vehicle by hand with cool water and a very mild car wash solution using a soft cloth or sponge.
- Always use clean fresh water.
- Wash your vehicle in the shade
- Do not use a commercial car wash. Stiff brushes or sponges could mar the finish and damage the surface.
- Do not "dry wipe" your vehicle. Dry wiping can scratch the finish.
- Do not drive on gravel roads. Chipping the finish is easily done in the first 30 days.
- Avoid parking under trees and utility lines which are likely to attract birds. Bird droppings have a high acid content and will damage a freshly painted surface. Also, tree sap can mar or spot a freshly painted surface.
- Do not spill gasoline, oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, or windshield solvent on the new finish.
- Do not scrape ice or snow from the newly painted surface.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND PRECAUTIONS IN THE FIRST 90 DAYS
- Do not wax or polish the vehicle. This will allow the finish to dry and harden completely.