Don’t fix anything before the adjuster’s inspection – The insurer will want to inspect the damage to the vehicle before authorizing repairs. The exception to this rule is when delaying a repair will cause the car to be damaged further. But even in these cases, discuss the short-term repairs with your insurance company first. Anything such as a broken sunroof that is letting in the weather, or a bumper/muffler dragging on the street, need to be fixed as soon as possible. Insurers often won’t pay for any damage that could have been prevented so follow these steps in such cases:
- Confirm with the insurer that such damage exists and the car needs immediate repair. They’ll likely give you specific instructions.
- Take pictures to document the damage that will be repaired.
- Let the car repair shop know the nature of the work if they don’t already. They will confirm that the repairs were necessary to prevent further damage.
- Keep all receipts and documentation.
- Provide information and documentation to insurers as they request it.
You can choose your own car body repair shop – You’re never required to use the shop the insurance company recommends but there may be advantages in doing so.
- If more damage is exposed in the course of the repairs, the insurer will approve repairs faster at an authorized repair shop. Otherwise you may have to wait for additional inspections by the adjuster.
- The authorized shop will get paid directly by the insurance company (which is not always true when repairs are done elsewhere).