The first steps to take:|
Call the police to the scene of the collision. If you're injured, it's important you get treatment immediately. Even if there doesn't appear to be any damage to your vehicle, a police report will verify that you and other parties were involved in a collision. This will help your claim in case hidden damage is discovered later. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the collision (some policies require notice within 24 hours).
After taking care of personal injuries, the next thing to take care of are the injuries to your vehicle. You want to know how much damage was done, how much the repairs are going to cost, how long you'll be without your vehicle, and most importantly - will your vehicle look and drive the same after it is repaired. Being involved in a collision can be an unpleasant experience; choosing a qualified collision repair shop can help minimize the stress.
How accurately the damage to your vehicle is analyzed can affect the quality of your repair. That's why it is important your vehicle is inspected by an I-CAR® Gold Class Professional Business. A Gold Class business can detect any damage to your vehicle and will ensure the propper repair procedures are followed durring the repair process. After your vehicle estimate is complete, be sure to get a copy of the damage report. This becomes the "blueprint" for repairing your vehicle. Ask the estimator to explain, in detail, what damage was done to your vehicle and how it will be repaired.
Choosing a collision repair shop:
Your vehicle may be the second-largest investment you make in your lifetime. Asking the right questions, and taking a shop tour can help you decide weather your investment will be i nthe best hands. If you feel comfortable after your visit with the collision repair business, chances are you will be satisfied with their service also.
Next to the Gold Class Professionals designation, the most important things to look for are:
Modern equipment and current technical reference materials show a business is up to date with technology and can repair your vehicle properly. The shop will need a three-dimensional measuring system t omeasure the height, width and length of your vehicles structure. Because this structure supports all steering and suspension parts, these points of your vehicle must be properly repaired to factory measurements. This, in most cases, is as strict as three millimeters - the thickness of three dimes. Some vehicles today require a tolerance no greater than one millimeter.
Cleanliness and atmosphere can say a lot about the business technicians' attitudes. The business should be willing to give you a shop tour and show you their facility and equipment.
Most professional shops also offer a written warranty on their repairs. This is to protect you if something does not work properly after the repair is complete.
The unibody revolution:
If you drive a late-model vehicle, chances are that you're driving a unibody. Vehicle makers adopted the lightweight unibody construction after the rise in gas prices durring the 1970s. While today's vehicles are lighter and more fuel efficient, they're also more difficult to repair.
Unibody vehicles are made of high-strength steel, welded to a single unit. Therefore, repairing collision damage requires specialized skills, combined with the proper training and equipment, to ensure there is no loss in handling, performance, durability or appearance.
With a unibody, it's also more difficult t ojusdge the extent of the damage. What appears good o nthe surface can in fact be damaged underneath, where only a trained eye can detect it. An improperly repaired vehicle can cause even more problems such as suspension and handling problems, increased tire wear, and reduced durability or operation of key safety systems and structural parts.
It's important that your vehicle is inspected and repaired by a Gold Class Professionals business because they have the most up-to-date training t orepair your vehicle properly. They will ensure your vehicle looks and drives as well as it did before the collision. More importantly, it will be safe you you and your family to drive.
If you've been
in a collision,
look for this sign:
© K&M Unibody Works, 2011 N. Park Road, Spokane WA 99212