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Category: Car insurance

A car sits on the side of the road with tall flames coming out of it, and a plume of dark smoke.
You might have a feeling your car is totaled, but you can still have its value assessed by your insurance.

You step out of your car, and you take a look at the damage to your vehicle. That’s the moment you know it’s more than a fender bender. You may ask yourself “Is my car totaled?”

It’s unlikely you’ll find out at the scene of a crash: The car’s value and body shop repair cost determines if it is repairable. It’s also important to know your insurance policy and the process to file a claim for repairs, which can make the process of repairs more affordable and/or timely.

 

What to Do With a Car Totaled Accident

The repair team will inspect the damage, complete the repair estimate, and compare it with the car’s current value. If the repair estimate is more than the current car value, the insurance will not qualify it for repair.

For example, a car with a value of $5,000 that needs $7,000 worth of repair will not qualify.

Check your insurance policy to know what you should expect with a vehicle that is not repairable. In most cases, the insurance company will issue you a check for the value of the car. If you do not agree with the amount, you can get quotes from used car dealers, view prices online, and note any additional or special features on your car. Show this documentation to the insurance company to dispute the amount.

Keeping a Totaled Vehicle

Cars hold sentimental value for many and some choose to repair a totaled vehicle.

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. The insurance company will subtract the vehicle’s salvage value from the amount it planned to pay you. To drive the car again, you need a salvage title. Repairs are your responsibility.

If you want a totaled car fixed, find a body shop you trust to provide an accurate estimate to repair the vehicle.

At ProCare Automotive and Collision in San Antonio, we have experienced and trained technicians who know exactly what it will take to repair the vehicle back to a safe and drivable condition again.

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A pair of hands hold several marble-sized hailstones.
Hail can cause a lot of body damage.

Hailstorms in Texas take a toll on vehicles. They can leave behind a Texas-sized path of destruction to property, including cars. That leaves many car owners in need of hail damage repair. According to a recent study, Bexar county comes in at number 11 for the most wind and hail insurance claims during the past decade. This explains why, after a hailstorm, body shops are busier than usual.

Monitor weather reports to protect your vehicle in a garage or under an awning to prevent hail damage. A severe storm can leave sizable damage to your car.

Assess the Damage

Once the storm has passed, take a look at your car. If the hail was large in size, the damage may be obvious. Your vehicle may not be drivable if it has a smashed windshield. Walk around the entire vehicle to check the condition of the headlights, taillights, and the roof of the car.

With smaller hail, the damage may not be visible until you get close to your car. If you can, get your vehicle in direct light. When the light shines on the car, you may notice a dimple effect that looks like a golf ball. Look for missing paint.

Take Photos

Take close-up and wider photos to show the full extent of the damage. This will be helpful for the insurance company and auto body shop.

Review Your Insurance Claim

You may recall what your insurance policy covers. However, it is always good to refer back to it when you have damage. Find out what it covers in relation to storm damage and, specifically, hail.

Depending on the type of policy you have, it may cover hail damage under collision repair. It may also include coverage for paintless dent repair (PDR). PDR typically costs less than collision repair. Some insurance companies will cover the full cost of PDR, depending on the type of policy. If you have coverage for both, this will be helpful if you have the option for PDR.

Types of Hail Damage Repair

A blue car with several hail dents on its roof.
Some forms of hail damage don’t require collision repair. If the paint is not chipped, consider paintless dent repair.

When you get an estimate, find out if the technicians are certified by the manufacturer and to perform PDR. This ensures the repairs meet your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.

Sometimes it is difficult to know whether your car needs auto body repair, or if paintless dent repair will be sufficient. Take a close look at the damage, and weigh the pros and cons of hail damage repair before making a final decision.

PDR works well to repair most hail damage. It has been proven to be effective enough for hail damage repair that some insurance companies will set up temporary PDR facilities after a hailstorm to take care of the damage. This method saves time and money, compared to collision repair.

Because it leaves the original paint in place, your car will maintain its original factory paint. You’ll want someone well-trained to perform this repair because it requires accessing the back side of the panel where the damage is located, then rubbing and shrinking the dent with special tools. This is a faster process than standard auto body repair.

However, if you have paint damage caused by the hail your vehicle will require collision repair. Take your vehicle to a certified collision repair shop when you need this type of dent repair. This ensures the paint work matches the original factory paint. Also, any dents close to a panel’s edge or large dents may require collision repair and not PDR.

Buying a Hail Damage Car – Repair it or Not?

Depending on how significant the damage is to the car, you may find a great deal on a car with hail damage. In many cases, a hailstorm may only cause cosmetic blemishes, but do your homework if you plan to purchase a used vehicle with any signs of hail damage.

Have a technician take a close look at the car. There could have been more damage and only some of it was repaired. Also, contact your lender if you are financing to make sure you can finance a damaged vehicle. Notify your insurance agent of the damage and inquire if you are still eligible for comprehensive insurance.

It is up to you if you choose to have the vehicle repaired after you purchase it or if you don’t mind driving with some dents on the vehicle.

Find a Body Shop

Hailstorms are the perfect example that you never know when you may need hail damage repair. Your car could be parked in front of your home when a storm passes and within minutes, you have damage. That is why it’s beneficial to do some research to find the right collision center before anything happens.

Whether you use PDR or collision repair, you will want to find a location that offers certified collision repair. This means the technicians have been trained by various manufacturers to properly make repairs for the car to return back to its factory condition. When researching various shops, find out if the technicians are trained by your vehicle manufacturer and how often they are certified.

At ProCare Automotive & Collision, a San Antonio body shop, our technicians are trained and certified to perform PDR or collision repair. If you have hail damage, use our Smartphone Estimating Tool for a free and quick estimate. You can also contact one of our locations near you to speak with someone directly. Our goal is to provide you efficient auto body repair, so you can get back on the road. 

 

Stacked word blocks reading: Regulations, Rules - Law, Requirements, Compliance (highlighted in yellow), Standards, Transparency, and Policies.
Auto body shops have to follow regulations. Find out what those requirements are for Texas.

When choosing an auto body repair shop, you might wonder if body shops are held to specific standards by a state organization or other entity. Just like every business, there are certain inspections and regulations that a body shop must pass or meet.

Any customers who experience an issue at a collision repair center should contact the proper governing agency or organization. In Texas, there is not a comprehensive law that governs auto repair companies, including body shops. But there are rules for other services and if there’s not an organization that manages restrictions for the issue you may have, it’s best to speak directly with the management or ownership of the collision repair shop.

Collision Repair Shop Regulations

While there is not a law pertaining to auto body repair, all body shops must meet certain requirements. ProCare Automotive and Collision, like all body shops, must meet Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requirements.

There are air, water, waste, and other stipulations, as noted on the agency’s checklist, that collision repair shops must follow every day. TCEQ ensures body shops meet these requirements and fix any issues if a body shop is in violation.

Not the Repairs You Paid to Receive

If a customer has an issue with the repairs made to his or her car, it’s possible it could fall under the Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act. Some examples include If a customer believes unnecessary repairs were made, parts were not replaced, or  was charged for a new part and a used part was installed. If you have a similar experience, file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s office.

At ProCare, we want our customers to know our managers at each location are always open to hearing your feedback. If you have concerns about repairs made or about our operations, we will address any problem you may have. Give us a call for a free estimate and we will show you how we can make your repair experience hassle-free.

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towing to local auto body shop
Figure out you options and coverage when it comes to towing.

When you get in an accident, it feels like everything is happening at once. Law enforcement are asking what happened, you have questions from the other driver, and your insurance company needs details. Additionally, you have to determine if you need towing services.

You have towing options

A tow truck may arrive to the accident scene as a request from law enforcement. Or, a truck could show up unsolicited after hearing about the accident on scanner traffic. Just like choosing body shop locations that you want to use, you have the right to select the towing company. Whether or not there is a tow truck on site, you can choose whichever service best fits your needs.

Know Your Insurance Policy

Know what your insurance policy covers when you sign up. Go back and review your policy from time to time to remember what is covered, including roadside assistance coverage. If you have that, your insurance company will cover the cost of the tow, but the coverage may likely have a maximum number of miles it can be towed. If you do not have coverage for towing, this will be an expense you need to pay out of pocket.

Also, keep in mind if your insurance company does not cover towing, you may have benefits from other places, including AAA, that may keep you from paying for that tow. Some credit card companies also offer roadside assistance.

Understand the Costs

Be specific when asking questions from the tow truck driver about all fees involved with the towing process, including where it will be towed and if there are storage fees associated. Do not allow the company to tow your vehicle without a clear understanding of the cost and if possible, request a printed invoice with the detailed pricing with the towing fee, storage fees, and any other charges. The printed invoice will be necessary to provide to your insurance company for reimbursement, if you have roadside assistance.

If you need assistance getting your car towed and you want to rest assured it will be towed to a secure location, give ProCare Automotive & Collision a call. We will schedule the tow and help you through the repair process so you can get back on the road.

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A hand uses a wrench under a car hood.
Find the best local body shop for the price.

When you take your car to a local body shop, you want the repair work to be to your specifications. You also want to make sure you get the best deal for the work you need since each body shop charges different prices.

There are a few tips to keep in mind as you research the best local body shop. These key points will make the process easier and can lead you to a body shop that performs quality work.

Seek Recommendations

The first step to finding a quality auto body repair shop is getting multiple recommendations. One way is to contact your local Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been filed against a body shop you are considering.

Also, ask people you know, and look at reviews online. Word-of-mouth recommendations speak to the quality and experience, so pay attention to these recommendations especially from people you trust.

Location and Overhead

When you find a highly recommended local body shop, visit the location. Location may be a reason a shop could charge more per hour for labor costs. An auto body shop located in an area where property is expensive may charge more in labor to cover those costs.

Inquire about Warranties

A reputable auto body shop will guarantee the work with a warranty. Find out about the warranty to body repairs and paint work on your vehicle. Ask what the warranty specifically covers and how long the warranty lasts.

Check for Maker Certifications

Find a shop that is certified to work on your make of vehicle. Technicians who have been trained to make repairs specified by the maker has the necessary equipment to make those repairs.

Ask About Estimates

There are two questions you should ask a body shop about estimates. Find out if they offer free estimates and if they use the insurance company’s estimate or if they use their own estimate. You will want to use a body shop that uses their own estimate and not performing repairs based on the insurance company’s recommendation of repairs.

If you need auto body repair to your vehicle, contact ProCare Automotive and Collision. We are the San Antonio local body repair shop that provides free estimates and guarantees the work with a warranty. A personal service consultant will work with you every step of the way in the repair process to make sure the work is completed to your satisfaction.

 

Mechanic repairs a red bonnet.

Your car has auto body damage, but you can drive it away from the scene of the accident. If you are not concerned about the looks of your car, you may ask, “If my car still runs, why should I fix the damage?”

There are several reasons why auto body repair is necessary, no matter if the vehicle has minor or more significant damage. If repairs are not made, there are some circumstances where it could cost you to keep the damage on the vehicle.

Damage Causing Other Damage

The cosmetic damage to a vehicle may appear minor, but it takes a highly skilled auto technician to know if there could be more damage than meets the eye. A damaged fender could cause strain to a wheel, tire, or parts under the hood. At minimum, it is best to get dents repaired to avoid further and costly damage to your car.

Necessary Functions No Longer Work

If certain features do not work on your car, such as lights or opening your hood, it might lead to a ticket. All lights, such as headlights, taillights, and turn signals must be functioning for safety if you plan to drive at night.

State Inspection

In Texas, there is a checklist used when inspecting a vehicle. If any items are damaged, such as lights or a mirror, the car will not pass inspection until the damage is fixed. Waiting to get repairs to pass an inspection could delay getting a renewed registration, in which case, you could get a ticket for an expired registration. That’s money that could be spent on the auto body repair.

Insurance

If you file an insurance claim, receive money, and then don’t repair the car, it could cost you if you have another accident. An insurance company can deduct pre-existing damage from a future settlement. It is recommended that if you receive money for a claim, to use that money on auto body repairs. To keep the money could amount to insurance fraud.

Resale Value

Depending on the extent of the damage, it could affect your vehicle’s resale value. In some cases, the cost to fix the vehicle can be less than the amount your car might depreciate if it has noticeable damage.

When it comes time to repair auto body damage on your car, contact the experts at ProCare Collision, an auto body repair shop in San Antonio. Our highly skilled technicians are trained to work on any make and model of vehicle and repair it to the maker’s specifications. We can get your car fixed so you avoid further damage and costs.

Two dash cameras are suspended from the windshield, recording the scene in front of the car.
Dash cams are becoming increasingly popular.

Examining the Dash Cam Trend

Dashboard cameras – a type of technology that, in the past, were mainly associated with officers of the law – are rising in popularity among drivers in the US. Both the reasons drivers use dash cams and the legal issues surrounding them are complex.

An Objective Eyewitness

Perhaps the most obvious motivation behind the on-board cameras – or “dash cams” – is the hope that the captured footage may help in case of an accident or ticket. Many people opting for dash cams are professional drivers whose livelihoods depend on maintaining a good driving record. Many use it as a witness in case of an accident, where the video provides time-stamped proof of the driver’s actions.

In one example, a driver who was pulled over for using his cell phone while driving was found to be innocent when the footage from his two-way dash cam revealed that he was merely scratching his ear, not violating the law. Dash cam footage might also help assign fault in insurance claims, helping victims avoid both undeserved rate increases and deductible expenses when they take their car to their body shop.

The cameras can provide a more objective account of an incident than humans might be able to provide. Regardless of good intentions, high-stress events like car accidents can result in less-than-perfect recall from the people involved.

Could Cameras Create Better Drivers?

Some dash cam proponents suggest that on-board cameras could be used to create better drivers. For example, parents of new teen drivers could use dash cam footage to monitor their young drivers and provide feedback. It might be helpful for a teen driver to watch how they are displaying reckless habits before they lead to an accident or ticket.

What’s more, some dash cam users feel that having the devices in their car has made them into more responsible and mindful drivers. The very awareness that you are being recorded might curb reckless driving habits. And in reviewing footage, drivers have the opportunity to spot bad driving habits they weren’t aware they were guilty of. The practice of reviewing the video from on-board cameras might be beneficial for both new drivers and veterans behind the wheel, though studies to confirm this idea are still needed.

What Does the Law Say?

Generally speaking, dash cam use is considered legal and the footage the units provide can usually be used as evidence in a court of law. But, different states have different rules about the devices’ footage and their physical placement in the vehicle. Texas allows dashboard cams with some restrictions.

Regulations about where and how the cameras can be mounted might vary, as can a state’s restrictions on recording people (like passengers in the vehicle) without consent. If dash cams continue to grow in popularity, the rules regulating their use will likely become more established.

The next time you are dealing with car damage, regardless if you captured the incident with an on-board cam, call the expert team at ProCare Collision, a San Antonio paint and body shop.

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