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Should You Get Collision Coverage?

Collisions are stressful and overwhelming on their own. Now imagine being involved in a collision, not having collision coverage on your vehicle, and having to pay for the damage to your car out of your pocket. We say “no thanks!”

Collision coverage is a type of insurance that covers accidents with other motor vehicles as well as objects like fences or trees. Important to note, collision coverage does not cover everything, i.e. medical bills or damage to your car that isn’t a direct result of a collisions (hail storms, break ins, etc.).

When adding collision coverage to your insurance policy, you should consider your deductible, which is the money you are responsible for paying prior to your insurance coverage kicking in. When thinking about your deductible there are a few things to take into consideration: monthly cost or premium, risk-level for you as a driver (teens have a higher cost because they are considered a higher risk), your driving record, and your car and situation. Consider how old your vehicle is and its worth to you.

Depending on how old your car is, sometimes collision coverage just isn’t worth it. Why? Insurance companies only pay fair market value for damage done to your vehicle. Generally, if your car is more than 10 years old, this is when you should consider dropping the coverage to save money.

There are some instances where you can’t drop collision insurance, such as when financing or leasing your vehicle. Only when you own it outright can you make this choice.

Finally, look at your emergency savings. If you have little to no savings and would be lost without your vehicle, you may want to keep collision coverage just to be safe.

If you have any questions about collision coverage or you’ve been in a collision and need your car to be repaired, call one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop today.

Bent Car Frame | Your Hometown Body Shop

How Can I Tell If My Frame Is Damaged?

You should always take your car to an auto body shop after an accident regardless of whether there is an appearance of major damage or not. Major problems like frame damage can go undetected and if you wait too long after a crash, you may find an issue with getting your insurance to pay for the collision repairs.

Alignment Assessment

Your vehicle’s alignment can be disrupted with a bent frame. Does your car pull to one side? Do you have to turn your steering wheel in order to drive straight. If you’ve recently had your alignment fixed and the problem is persisting, it could be a sign of frame damage.

Tire Track Evaluation

If your vehicle has a bent frame, you may notice that it “crab walks” – this happens when the rear tires don’t follow in line behind the front tires. If you aren’t sure if this is happening, get all four tires wet, drive it straight across dry pavement, park your vehicle, and observe the tracks.

Parts Assessment

The frame of your vehicle is its foundation. If it is bent, many other components may not fit properly. You may notice this if you try to open and close a door unsuccessfully or if the body panels don’t line up properly.

If you have any questions or concerns about your vehicle’s frame, call one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop today!

Driving in the Rain | Your Hometown BodyShop

How Much Do Car Insurance Rates Go Up After an Accident

Being in a car accident can leave you shaken up, but fortunately that feeling will slowly wear off over time. Unfortunately, the next time you open your car insurance bill, you may be shaken all over again.

Once you’ve reported an accident to your insurance company, your rates may increase. The increase will depend upon a few factors including the severity of the accident, damage incurred, who was at fault, and your driving history.

If you were not at fault, your insurance company may not choose to raise your rates. However, if you’ve had several accidents, even no-fault, you may see a rise in your bill.

If your insurance rates do go up, you may see anywhere from a 3% to 50% increase over what you were paying before the accident. This is a wide range because there is no way of knowing the true figure without knowing the specific details of the accident and your driving record. Your agent can give you the exact figure.

While an increase in your car insurance rate may be inevitable, there are a few actions you can take to keep them as low as possible. Some insurance companies offer Accident Forgiveness where they will overlook your first accident and leave your premium alone, however every company is different so it’s important to ask your company how that works. You can consider increasing your deductible – the higher the deductible you choose, the lower your premium will be. Drop unnecessary coverage if your car is older. You can see if your insurance has other discounts like good students, higher levels of education, packages if you bundle, and multiple drivers. Take a driving class! Many insurance companies will lower your rates if you attend a safe driving class and it’s a good opportunity to sharpen your skills and remind yourself exactly what the laws are.

You can always shop around – not all insurance companies are the same and some will hold an accident against you more than others.  With the right knowledge of car insurance providers and policies, you should be able to keep your rates low enough that you can get back on the road after an accident!

If you have any questions about your collision repair, call one of the member shops of Your Hometown Body Shop today!

 

ASE Certified Mechanics

Hidden Damage Found During Repairs

A car accident can lead to hidden auto body damage found during repairs. Damage during a collision can range from superficial dents and scratches to significant internal destruction.

After your vehicle is involved in a collision, an inspector with your insurance company will perform a scrutinizing visual inspection of the damage sustained. This only estimates the damage from a visual standpoint and hidden damage can often later be uncovered by the collision center when working on your vehicle.

Once the collision center has begun the repair process by removing damaged areas of the vehicle, they are able to diagnose any additional damage sustained by the vehicle. If hidden damage is revealed, the collision center should contact you immediately to alert you of the findings. After this, you should contact your insurance company to inform them of the damage uncovered by the body shop.

A representative will re-inspect the vehicle at the collision center to provide a supplemental estimate, which takes into consideration the hidden damage discovered. The inspector from the insurance company will discuss a cost with the auto body shop that works for both parties. Once negotiated, the supplemental estimate should cover the cost of any additional damages found.

A visual estimate is just an estimation of cost. It is impossible to know in advance the exact cost of the repair. The member shops of Your Hometown Body Shop work with insurance companies to make claims easier for our customers. You can rest assured that putting your car in the hands of a responsible and reputable collision repair center, like one of our member shops, will ensure your vehicle back on the road as good as new.

preserve your car

How to preserve your car

On average, as soon as a car is driven off the lot, it loses around 20% of its value. Depreciation happens and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it, but there are measures to take to slow it down!

Regular Maintenance
Consistent oil changes can ensure your car’s engine will last for a very long time. Regular maintenance also includes changing brakes and tires, either of which left unattended can cause significant wear on suspension and your steering system.
If Something Breaks, Fix It!
Fix the small stuff so that it doesn’t turn into something more significant, costing you much more money down the road. Stroebel Automotive makes a trip to the shop simple and relatively pain-free!

Keep Your Service Records
You want to know a car’s history when buying a used vehicle, and the service records are the best way to know exactly what has happened to the car internally!

Keep Your Car Clean
Outside appearance makes a difference in resale value, as does keeping up with the interior. A well-maintained interior shows that the car has not been abused in some irreversible ways.

Keep the Car to Factory Specs
Modifying the vehicle can deter someone from purchasing your vehicle. To improve your chances of selling the vehicle quickly at a good price, you should keep it as close to factory specs as possible. More buys are inclined to purchase a car that has been kept original.

Don’t Push the Vehicle to Its Limits
Turning too fast, too abrupt, braking too late, etc. are all things that can weaken the vehicle and chip away at its life. If you want the car to last, don’t put it past its limits and use the car the way it was intended.

Keeping resale value intact is hard work, but if you take care of your vehicle then you’ll have a car that’s in great shape when you’re ready to sell.

car accident | auto body shop michigan

Are Bigger or Smaller Cars Safer?

Many people would consider bigger car to be significantly safer than small cars, however technology has shrunk the gap between the sizes to focus on overall safety of newer cars.

Newer Cars are Safest – Regardless of Size

Modern vehicles have more safety features that minimize injury and risk of death. You can certainly add many features (for a price), but some of the standard safety features include:

  • Side, rear, side-curtain, and front airbags
  • Electronic stability control, which stabilizes your car if it spins out of control
  • Back up sensors and back up camera
  • Blind spot warning using a camera or sensor

Weight and Size

Bigger cars are heavier and can absorb the force of an impact better than a smaller car. Larger hoods in bigger vehicles have the advantage in head on collisions because they have a more significant crumple zone.

Momentum

As the weight of the car increases, momentum does as well, meaning it takes more time for the vehicle to slow down. Smaller cars have a higher risk when involved with a collision with a larger car. In a collision with a smaller vehicle, the energy of the bigger car will be transferred to the smaller car, causing it more damage.

Height

Larger vehicles may be more at risk for rollover accidents as they have a higher center of gravity. Cars lower to the ground have a higher risk of sliding underneath another vehicle, i.e. a small car and a semi-truck.

What is the Safest Type of Vehicle?

Generally, this varies from family to family.

  • Are you looking to keep small children safe? Looking for a car for a new driver?
  • Can you afford to spend a lot in gas or are you looking for something a little more environmentally friendly.

A little research can provide you with information on

  • Vehicle ratings and crash tests
  • Included safety features and available add-ons
  • Electronic stability control
  • Recalls that may compromise the safety of the vehicle

 

If you’ve been in a collision and are in need of repairs, please contact one of the members of Your Hometown Bodyshop today.

paintless dent repair services

Benefits of Paintless Dent Removal and Repair

There is a significant difference between traditional dent repair and paintless dent removal (PDR).

With traditional dent removal, the paint in the affected area is sanded down; the crunched metal pounded into place, and any areas that aren’t smooth are filled in with putty. After that, the area must be sanded, primed, given a base coat of paint, and then a final coat. It is time consuming and expensive.

Paintless Dent Removal doesn’t mask the damage done to your car, it removes it completely from the back side of the panel. Access behind the damage panel is gained after which pressure is applied to the dented areas while carefully manipulating, massaging, and reforming the metal back to its original, pre-accident state, however if there is damage to the paint on your vehicle, PDR is typically unsuitable. The price for this procedure is considerably lower than traditional dent repair and typically only takes a day to accomplish.

Advantages of Paintless Car Dent Removal

There are several benefits to paintless dental removal including a more original vehicle, better prices, shorter repair time, and environmentally friendly procedures.

Does Your Car Qualify for Paintless Dent Repair?

Your car may qualify for PDR if your dent did not compromise the paint finish of your vehicle. Dents that are on the edges of your vehicle may be difficult to use PDR on as well as chrome or metal bumpers and fuel doors. It’s always best to seek out a local auto body repair shop to get an expert opinion. Contact one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop today to discuss how we can assist with your auto body repairs.

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Free Estimates Auto Body Repair

Car Value Depreciation After An Accident

The value of a car depreciates after an auto accident, but how do insurance companies determine that value? The total depends on the type of car and the accident history of that car. The car’s value can decrease by its diminished value, which is calculated by the insurance company when they send an agent to come and assess the damage.

Diminished Value and the 17c Formula

Diminished value is the monetary difference between what the car was worth before the accident happened and what it is worth after the accident happened. Insurance companies determine the diminished value of a car by using what is called the 17c Formula.

The Formula originated in 2001 in Georgia following a lawsuit that obligated State Farm to pay out more than 25,000 insurance claims. In order to do this efficiently, the 17c Formula was created as a simple way to standardize the calculations across all of the claims. The Formula worked, and now close to all insurance companies use it as the way to determine the value of cars after a wreck.

Is The Formula Accurate?

Some see the Formula as inefficient given that it calculates the loss of value equally among all types of makes and models, meaning a crashed Ferrari is appraised the same way as a crashed Ford Focus. Insurance companies ultimately give less than what they really should with diminished value checks. Often, the total should be in the thousands but motorists receive checks for hundreds. There are several online resources that provide the formula for consumers to calculate their vehicle’s value.

Is There Another Way To Evaluate My Car After An Accident?

Insurance companies may come to you with an extremely low offer, but you can refuse it and hire a private appraiser to come and look at the wrecked car. Once you have that appraisal, you can go back  to the insurance company and counter their original offer.

It’s important to understand your insurance policy and rights before agreeing to the price your insurance company gives you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop.

Driving Safe in the Summer | Your Hometown Body Shop

Staying Safe in the Summer

Warm weather not only invites more people outside, but it invites more people to share the road. Here are some reminders to keep you, your family, and your vehicle safe during these next few months.

WATCH FOR PEDESTRIANS

When it’s warm, there are all kinds of people using the roads: bikers, motorcyclers, walking pedestrians, and more. It’s very important to be mindful of your surroundings, for these individuals are incredibly vulnerable. Unlike you, they do not have the protection of a vehicle. Accidents could quickly escalate to a much worse outcome if you aren’t careful.

Remember:

  • People can from any direction, at any time. Be mindful of your blind spots and react quickly.
  • Be especially careful when driving in neighborhoods or around schools, where children are more likely to be playing in the streets.
  • Don’t expect pedestrians to stop for you. They may be distracted, may be hearing- or sight-impaired, and may not see you coming at all. Always pay mind to them, and allow them to pass.

DON’T LEAVE CHILDREN IN THE CAR

Heatstroke can happen so easily, and often it occurs out of ignorance. Never leave your children and/or pets in a car. It does not matter if the window has been cracked open, and it does not matter if it is only for a few minutes. The impact is harmful regardless.

Vehicles heat up incredibly fast, and deadly levels are quickly easily reached within the few minutes that you are gone. On top of that, the body temperature of children rises faster than that of adults— three to five times faster, to be exact. Keep your kids safe by either taking them with you, or leaving the car running for them.

DON’T FORCE YOURSELF TO KEEP DRIVING

Road trips, or long trips in itself, are tedious. If you feel yourself getting drowsy, forcing yourself to continue driving is the wrong way to go. Other lives are at stake at that point, including your own.

Take breaks at a rest stop to stretch, get some food, and go to the bathroom. Switch drivers. Stop somewhere overnight and sleep for a while, and then go back and hit the road. Driving is not a race. It is all about being safe as you go from place to place.

If you have any questions about car safety or where to bring your car after an accident, come by and talk to one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop.

The Dangers of Summer Driving

Summer is a time for beach days and road trips.  It is also, unfortunately, home to the most common months in which car accidents occur, for both teenagers and adults.  Here’s a look at the most common causes of summer car accidents and what you can do to help prevent them, as well as keep your family safe this summer.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), July and August hold more car crashes and vehicular-related deaths than any other months.  Some of the reasons behind this statistic and why summer driving is so dangerous is that there is an increase of travelers on the road, teen motorists, active road construction, impaired driving, and temperature, which can increase the risk of vehicle equipment failure.

The most common summer car accidents include construction zone accidents, loss of control from a tire blowout, and distracted driving accidents.  Construction means disrupted traffic flow, lane closures, and narrow roads equipped with concrete barriers, poor surfaces, and little to no shoulders.  It is vital to stay focused on the road ahead of you and leave plenty of room between your car and the car in front of you in these zones in order to prevent a rear-end collision.

Loss of control from tire blowout is another common summer car accident.  Old tires, tires with worn thread, and under inflated tires are highly more vulnerable to blowout under the summer heat.  The road temperatures reach a sweltering 140 degrees fahrenheit, and in addition to heat from flexing rubber of under inflated tires can put stress on the tires and belts, and cause a blowout.  Be sure to keep your tires in good condition this summer to prevent an accident, as well as to keep you and fellow drivers out of harm’s way.

Distracted driving accidents are far more likely in the summer, especially with young adults and those of the Generation Z cohort on the roads.  These individuals are known to have a smartphone attached to them at all times, and are more likely to text, snapchat, and check social media while driving.  Many are also distracted by passengers, singing or moving to music, taking their eyes off the road, or reaching for something.  According to AAA, distraction plays a role in 60% of moderate to severe teen car crashes.  Make sure your teen is aware of the dangers of distracted driving before they get behind the wheel this summer.

Another thing to be conscious of this summer are the number of impaired drivers on the road.  From summer barbeques to holidays to graduation parties, many people do not drink responsibly, and get behind the wheel following these events while under the influence of alcohol.  Stay alert for sloppy driving, and be cautious if you find yourself on the road with a car that seems to be swerving or driving recklessly.

This summer, be sure to stay alert while on the roads, either avoid or drive slowly through construction sites, never drive while impaired, and make sure any and all vehicle maintenance is up to date.  If you follow these guidelines, you can help make the roads safer this summer, and prevent any accidents or harm to others while driving.

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