Consumer Tips- Frequently Asked Questions
How do I select a great repair center?
State law provides you with the right to take your vehicle to the repair center of your choice. There is a good deal of misinformation that people need to weed out when selecting a repair center. Because consumers do not purchase collision repair work frequently or out of desire, they need to understand the real facts about selecting a repair center.
DO NOT select a repair center because they provided you with the lowest estimate. Initial estimates only detail the visual damage to your vehicle. There is almost certainly going to be more damage discovered after the vehicle is disassembled and inspected thoroughly.
DO NOT select a repair shop because they claim to be able to save your deductible. First of all, the practice of ‘saving a deductible’ is illegal. Secondly, if a business will accept $500 fewer dollars to repair your vehicle, do you think they will still perform all of the work specified by the insurance company? You should insist that your vehicle is repaired 100% to ensure your vehicle is restored to its pre-accident operation, safety and value. And if a body shop is willing to cheat the insurance company, they are also willing to cheat you!
DO evaluate the people you have come in contact with. Were they courteous? Did they explain the insurance claim process to you? Were they knowledgeable and did they take a real interest in your vehicle?
The collision center appraiser should explain your damage estimate to you in detail so you know what needs to be repaired and why.
DO make sure the repair center has a paint spray booth to ensure the highest quality paint finish possible.
Ask to see cars awaiting delivery and inspect the quality.
Ask for references of car dealers, insurance agents or customers that have had their vehicles repaired at the center.
Ask to review the lifetime written warranty. It should be written.
Do I need to collect 2-3 estimates for my insurance company?
No! In fact, when you think about it, you don’t really need an estimate at all. You just need your car repaired. You have the right to have your car repaired at the repair shop of your choice. We hope you choose Fridley Auto Body.
How much will this cost me?
Generally our customer is responsible for paying only their insurance deductible plus any “betterment” or “depreciation” as assessed by the insurance company. Often times, our customers ask to have non-accident related dings or scrapes repaired while the vehicle is already in the shop. It is a good time to restore the value and beauty back into your vehicle by fixing the dents, dings or scratches your vehicle gets in the parking lot or from driving down the road of life. We call this “extra work” and our appraisers can provide you with a written estimate to repair these blemishes too.
What should I do with the check from my insurance company?
We recommend that you endorse the insurance check over to Fridley Auto Body after the repairs are completed to your satisfaction. If you deposit the check, your bank will require the check to clear before you are able to draw funds against it, possibly causing a delay in the delivery of your completed vehicle. Please note that our payment policy requires payment in full at the time of the delivery.
When will my vehicle repairs be completed?
We realize what a huge inconvenience it is to be without your vehicle. That is why our customer service goal is to deliver “Quality On-Time – Every Time”. However we are unable to provide you with a realistic promise date until we have had an opportunity to:
Completely and systematically dismantle your vehicle.
Methodically inspect every part for damage.
Have your insurance company come out to view the damage and provide us with their complete supplemental appraisal.
Order and receive 100% of all the parts needed to repair your vehicle.
We want to give you the best repair in the business and promise to complete the repairs as quickly as possible and keep you informed of our progress throughout the repair.
What kind of parts do you use?
There are three types of parts used in the repair process and all parts are not created equal.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts are made by or for the manufacturer of your vehicle. These parts are equivalent to the original parts on your vehicle.
New After-Market parts are copies of your OEM parts made by another manufacturer. These parts are generally cheaper than OEM parts, but tend to be of lesser quality than OEM.
Used or Salvage parts are parts that have been recovered from “totaled” vehicles where the part is in like kind quality condition.
Fridley Auto Body prefers and requests to use OEM parts over all other types, but the insurance companies set their own policies to comply with Minnesota mandates on After Market part utilization. Unfortunately we have no control over their policies. If you are not satisfied with the usage of After Market parts, you may speak with your insurance company claim rep or appraiser to get them to authorize the use of OEM parts.
What is “betterment” or “depreciation”?
If your vehicle has mechanical, suspension, electronic, tire or battery damage, etc., your insurance company may assess you an additional cost over and above the amount of your deductible for what they call “betterment” or “depreciation”. The following is an example of how betterment is applied. Your vehicle’s tire is blown when the car hits the curb. The tire was approximately 50% worn. The insurance company paid for a new tire costing $100. The new tire is “better” than the old tire because it has all new tread. So the insurance company may require you to pay $50 towards the cost of the tire. Fridley Auto Body has NO control over the betterment or depreciation charges assessed by the insurance company. You may be able to speak with your insurance company claim rep or appraiser to review these charges.
Why is the final bill so much higher than the insurance company’s original estimate?
The original insurance appraisal is written to identify only the visual damage done to your vehicle. The insurance appraiser did not disassemble your vehicle and methodically inspect each part for damage. Because they do not go through this process, they are unable to assess all of the damage. As collision repair professionals, Fridley Auto Body appraisers will take the time to identify all of the related damage done to your vehicle and obtain the necessary authorization from your insurance company to make these repairs. You should demand that 100% of the damage is repaired. The result of our diligence is that your vehicle gets returned to its pre-accident operation, safety and value.
Will my alarm cause problems?
Your alarm must be deactivated prior to leaving your vehicle for repairs. During the repair process it may be necessary to disconnect the battery for welding or paint. Due to this, your alarm system may need to be reactivated by the alarm installer if you did not deactivate the alarm prior to leaving the vehicle for repairs. Fridley Auto Body cannot be responsible for deactivating or reactivating alarm systems due to the many types and models. Please leave your key pads with your keys.
How do I pay?
Fridley Auto Body accepts several convenient methods of payment All repairs must be paid in full at the time of vehicle delivery.
Method of Payment
A “Direction to Pay” form signed by the policyholder is the most convenient method of payment. This form authorizes your insurance company to pay us directly, making life much easier on you. This method is only available for customers who make a claim to their own insurance company under their own policy.
Insurance checks can be endorsed over to Fridley Auto Body.
Cash and Treasurer’s Checks. \
Personal Checks – up to $3,000 maximum. No temporary checks.
MasterCard and VISA for the amount of your deductible
Is it OK to leave my personal belongings in the trunk?
Please remove all of your belongings and valuables from the vehicle. During the repair process, our technicians will need trouble-free access to all areas of your vehicle as it gets disassembled, repaired, painted and reassembled. Your golf clubs and beach chair are better off when stored at home.
Do you offer rental car assistance?
Yes. Our Customer Care people will be happy to assist you in coordinating a rental vehicle or possibly have access to one of our Free-Loaner cars. We will have the rental company get in touch with you to schedule the car-swap when you drop your vehicle off with us.