You were just involved in an accident. Now what?

repairing a front fender after an accident

Check for injuries and move vehicle(s) to safety

If you are able, move your vehicle to a safe location. If anyone in your vehicle is injured, call 911. Do not move anyone who may be injured in order to reduce the chance of further injury.

Exchange information

Providing no one is injured or needs medical attention, the parties involved in the accident need to exchange insurance information and document any customer service phone numbers on each other’s insurance cards. If you have a cell phone that takes photos, take pictures of both vehicles, documenting the areas that are damaged and those that are not. Write down all information such as the driver’s name, make and model of the vehicles involved, and the names and contact information for any eyewitnesses.

Determine which insurer you want to start the claims process with

If you are not the party responsible for the accident, you have the option of filing a claim with your insurance company or going through the other parties’ insurance company. If you file a claim with the other party’s insurance company and they accept liability, you do not have to pay your deductible. If you choose to go through your insurance company, you will have to pay your deductible. After the claim is settled, your insurance company will subrogate the claim with the other parties’ insurance company. Once subrogation is completed, you will be reimbursed your deductible if you are not liable for the accident.

a technician examining a car dent at Bates Collision

Contact the insurance company

Once you make the determination of which insurance company is going to pay the claim, you need to contact the insurance company’s claims department. The claims rep will be able to explain the process to you. As a consumer, you have the right to choose which collision repair facility you would like to have repair your vehicle. The insurance company may give you a list of collision facilities to choose from. If Bates Collision is not on their list, you can insist on having us repair your vehicle.

Note: Bates Collision is a direct repair shop for numerous insurance companies.

Decide who you want to repair your vehicle

This means if you tell the claims rep you want Bates to repair your vehicle, they will send us your claim information. After receiving this information, we can schedule an appointment for you to bring your vehicle in for an estimate. Our estimator will assess the damage and create a repair plan outlining the parts and labors needed and explain this to you in detail. If your vehicle is drivable, we will schedule a repair date that is convenient for you and order your parts so they are at our facility in advance of your repair appointment date. If your vehicle is non-drivable, please contact our office so we can have it immediately towed to our facility.

a young child sitting in a white car at Bates Collision

If Bates Collision is NOT a direct repair shop for the insurance company who is paying the claim, the process is slightly different. The claims rep will schedule one of THEIR ADJUSTORS TO WRITE AN ESTIMATE on your vehicle. It is NOT necessary for you to obtain an estimate from anyone else. We will work directly off the insurance company’s estimate. An adjustor can only write the damage that is visually seen on your vehicle. During our repair plan process, if hidden damage is found during the disassembly of your vehicle, we contact the adjustor to reinspect the vehicle’s damage. At that point, the adjustor can give the authorization to proceed with the repair and order any additional parts.

Take it to Bates slogan graphic

Detail Oriented Repair Plans

Many years ago, the process after an accident was for the consumer to drive around town and obtain three different estimates from three different shops and the insurance company would often pay off the lowest one. That has all changed. Vehicles today are not the same as years past. Some of today’s vehicles are equipped with advanced cruise control, pedestrian braking, lane assist, lane departure, parking assist, side cameras, front and rear cameras, and voice activated computers – to name just a few of today’s high-tech features. Due to all of the new technology and the control modules that store all the operations your vehicle has been through since you purchased it, the process to write the estimate is very detail oriented and specific.

We like to schedule an appointment for you to bring your vehicle to our facility so we can spend adequate time assessing the damage. Sometimes it is necessary to wash the vehicle so we can see small details such as light scratches. We will discuss with you what happened in the accident, pre-scan your vehicle with our computer to determine what codes – if any – have been stored in the vehicle’s computer, and, if necessary, disassemble the vehicle… all to write the estimate. This process is time consuming, but necessary, and helps set accurate expectations for the repair. One could not have imagined fifteen years ago how electronically sophisticated today’s vehicles are. All automotive manufacturers today highly recommend a 15-minute computer scan of codes before starting repairs. Times have changed and writing a thorough appraisal can no longer be done in twenty minutes.

What Customers Say

Customer satisfaction is paramount at Bates. We aim to make your experience pleasant and painless.

I’ve taken my cars to Bates Collision for years, and every time they’ve done an extraordinarily good job of making my vehicles look brand-new! There’s never any trace of the mishap that necessitated their services, plus they clean the car inside and out. I highly recommend Bates Collision. It’s never a happy thing that takes me there, but I’m ALWAYS happy when I leave!

Nancy Z

What a professional operation. It was great to see a company that actually considers the customer as an important part of their business. That is rare these days. Great job.


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