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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.

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.

ASE Certified Shops

The members of Your Hometown Body Shop are proud to be ASE Certified! There are several certifications and organizations in the automotive industry, serving to raise auto care across the nation up to a higher standard. ASE, or the National Institute for Automotive Excellence, is one of them. ASE has been up and running since 1972 as an independent, non-profit organization that certifies individual technicians and service advisors, not the auto shop as a whole. They grant certification based on tests, skill level, and the ethics and community involvement of each worker on a case by case basis.

This system is very helpful across the board. For the technicians, it’s a way for them to show evidence of their skill and professionalism to potential employers. For shop managers, it can help them promote their shop based on the fact that they have ASE Certified technicians, and it helps them get a sense of the skill and experience level for their potential employees based on a nationally appreciated scale. For consumers, it means all they have to look for is the blue and white ASE seal to know that they have found a great place for automotive repair and service.

So how do you become ASE Certified? First, an aspiring mechanic must have a two-year degree and a year of experience, or two years of on the job training, to be eligible to take the test. Only two out of three test takers pass on their first try. In addition, to stay certified technicians must retest every five years. There are over 40 different exams for specialties like school buses, collision repair, truck accessories, and more, and the tests are designed by a panel of experts. That’s why ASE Certification is a staple of excellence in the automotive industry.

You can rest assured knowing your vehicle is in good hands when you take it to one of the members of Your Hometown Bodyshop!

car accident | auto body shop michigan

Hit a Parked Car? Here is What You Need to Do.

While it is a situation no one ever hopes to encounter, if you’ve hit a parked car, taking responsibility for the accident is the right thing to do for both parties involved. And by law you are required to report the accident to the owner of the other vehicle whether it be in person or through leaving a note on their car.

The laws can vary from state to state, however below are the basic steps for what to do after you accidentally hit a parked car.

Don’t leave the scene.

Although tempting, especially when the damage is minor or unnoticeable, driving away and hoping nobody saw you can lead to more serious repercussions if you are caught. In every state, it is against the law to leave the scene when you accidentally hit a parked car and can be considered a hit and run in some cases. No matter how strong the urge to make a quick getaway, don’t do it! From a moral, legal, and financial standpoint, it pays to stick around and do the right thing.

Try to find the owner.

The law doesn’t expect you to wait around all day for the owner of the other vehicle to appear. You are, however, required to make a reasonable attempt to find that owner before leaving. For example, if someone saw the accident, ask if they know who the car belongs to. If the car is parked right in front of a store, go inside and ask if anyone knows who the owner of the car is. Otherwise, wait around 10 or 15 minutes to see if the owner appears. If not, you can legally drive away after leaving your name and contact information.

Leave a note.

If you can’t find the owner of the parked car you hit, the next step is to leave a note for them. Most states require the note to include your name, address, contact number, and a brief explanation of the accident. You may also want to include the name and contact information of your insurance carrier. If you were driving someone else’s car, include the name and address of the car’s owner as well.

Describe the accident in a general way, as any information in the note can be used against you when the insurance companies are settling the claim. Make sure the note is tucked securely under the windshield wiper before driving away.

Document the damage.

Use a camera or your cell phone to take photos or video of the other car’s license plate and the auto body damage to both cars. If you don’t have your phone with you, describe the damage in the note you leave behind, and write it down for your insurance company as well.

Call your insurance company.

Once you have taken all the steps to document the accident and notify the other vehicle’s owner, call your insurance company – the sooner the better. This will enable them to initiate the claims process so both vehicles can be repaired in a timely manner. Be prepared to provide all the details, such as location, time of day, and what you were doing when you struck the other vehicle.

If you have any questions, please call one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop!

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