Q
Do I have to take my vehicle to my insurance companies preferred body repair shop?
ANo. You don’t have to use the body shop that the insurance company recommended. The choice is yours — by law.

Most insurance companies have repair contracts with body shops in your area. Choosing the insurance company’s repair shop has benefits for the insurance company, which has negotiated lower labor and material rates, as well as parts discounts with those shops.

Insurance company claims representatives are given set goals. In general, companies would like to see at least 40 percent of their claims go to their direct repair shops. If you have chosen your own repair shop, claims representatives will frequently try to sway you away from your decision, telling you that your shop isn’t on their list, thus they won’t be able to handle your claim efficiently. They may explain that it will take up to a week before an adjuster will be available to write an estimate on your car. They could go further by stating that their company will not warranty the repairs if you don’t have your car repaired at their shop.

Do not be intimidated by this. Reputable auto body repair shops like Rich’s Auto Body in Merced provide a lifetime warranty no matter who is paying the bill. Shops are systematically interested in handling your claim and the repairs efficiently. Also, shop estimators are familiar with your insurance company’s claims process and know their local adjusters, making it easy to complete the estimate process and repairs quickly.

Q
Do you guarantee your work?
AYes! At Rich’s Auto Body in Merced you can rest assured that your car will be restored back to its pre-loss condition backed by our lifetime guarantee on our work for as long as you own your car.
Q
How long does it take before my car is ready?
ACars that have been damaged in accidents can be repaired in less than a few days, but sometimes it can take as long as several months.

The length of time that it takes your car insurance provider to process and approve your claim, along with the number of cars waiting to be repaired, are just some of the factors that have to be considered.

Additionally, the extent of the damage done to your vehicle will have an effect on the amount of time that it takes for your repairs to be made.

Many auto insurance companies will help their customers to get rental cars while their primary vehicles are being fixed.

Q
If my vehicle’s frame is damaged, is the vehicle a total loss?
ANot necessarily. At Rich’s Auto Body we use a state-of-the-art computer measuring system that will identify exactly where the damage is and precisely what needs to be done to return your vehicle to its original factory specifications. If it is determined that the frame section is bent beyond repair, that section can usually be replaced.

Most new vehicles on the road today have a “unibody” instead of a frame. Unibody construction is when there is no separate frame from the body of the vehicle. The body is usually made of aluminum or steel that is stamped with the appropriate cross members and everything is mounted directly to it. This is the most common type of structure used today in passenger vehicles. It lowers the weight of the vehicle and distributes force away from the passengers in the event of a crash.

Q
Estimates may vary… why is that?
ADifferences in collision repair estimates are common. A lower estimate may not include all the necessary work required. In the process of fixing the damage caused by the collision, additional repair issues may be revealed. If you’re not sure why one estimate is different from the other please ask us. We will be glad to go over it with you.

More FAQ

  • Will I have to deal with the insurance company on any additional damages found?

    No. We will be happy to negotiate your claim with the insurance company and all information will be noted in your vehicles repair file.

  • What do I need for a collision repair estimate?

    You need the damaged vehicle and registration. If it is an insurance claim, then you will need to bring your claim number.

  • Do I have to pay my deductible if I file a claim through my insurance company if it was not my fault?

    In most cases, yes. You will be reimbursed your deductible, if the other company accepts liability of damages. Some companies may waive the deductible, if liability has been accepted.

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