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Truck Tips: What To Do If You're In An Accident

by Cherly Fowler

If you own a 4x4 truck you probably rely on it for fun and transportation. Although no one wants to think about being in a truck accident, here's a quick guide to you get your truck back on the road after an accident.

Leverage Your Options

Even if you have insurance, your deductible alone might be slightly less than paying for the cost out of pocket. Furthermore, if you file an insurance claim, you can expect a nasty rate hike in your auto insurance premium (particularly if your claim is more the $1,800).

Thus, the first thing to do if you're involved in a fender-bender is to call your insurance company. When you call your auto insurance company make sure that you get the following questions answered in writing:

  • How much is your deductible?

  • How much will your premium increase if you file a claim?

  • What auto body repair shops will your auto insurance company work with (some auto insurance companies work with a limited number of auto body repair shops).

After you've talked to your auto insurance company, you should schedule at least three estimates with local auto body repair shops. Consider getting one estimate from an auto body repair shop that isn't on your auto insurance company's approved list of contractors; some auto body contractors have different pricing options when working with insurance companies.

When you visit an auto body repair shop make sure that you have the following questions answered in writing:

  • What's the total cost?

  • How much of the cost is parts (get an itemized list)?

  • How much of the cost is labor (get an hourly rate)?

  • Is there a price difference if you choose to pay for the repair completely out of pocket?

Once you have these questions answered in writing, you can properly weigh your options. Simply put, if your deductible and premium rate hike is less than the cost of your repair, then you should pay for the repair out of pocket. If not, then you should file a claim and negotiate with your two preferred auto body repair shops.

Negotiating Your Options

When you negotiate with auto body repair shops, you can save money in a number of ways.

First, see if you can get the contractors you're considering to "outbid" each other. For instance, if both companies offer bids around $1000, consider telling the contractors that you will give them your business if they can do the job for less than $900. Although the contractors might reject your proposal, you might be able to knock 10% off the cost of your repair with a little simple negotiating.

Second, see if you can get the parts needed to repair your vehicle from an independent source. Shopping for the part directly through online auction or classified-type websites can save you money (particularly if you can find the part locally). Additionally, you might be able to find the part at a local junk yard. If you choose to find the part yourself, however, you must make sure the auto body repair shop is willing to complete the job for a set, negotiated hourly rate.

For truck parts, contact a company such as Godfrey Brake Service & Supply.