Jun 04

How To Maximize Your Insurance Payout

You probably aren’t talking to your insurance company on a good day. However, if you have to get repairs done to your home or car, you can often get them to pay you for doing the repairs yourself (or choosing your own shop).

A small disclaimer first: every insurance company (and even individual policies) are different. While you often have options with your insurance claim, you should always check with your adjuster and ask questions whenever possible.

Get the Most Out of Your Car Insurance Claim

How to Maximize Your Insurance Payout By Doing Your Own Repairs

When dealing with car repairs, the insurance company’s role is to pay for the cost of the repairs to your vehicle. While this frequently involves paying the shop directly, you have the right to choose where and how you get your repairs done (except under certain circumstances, which we’ll get to). In fact, in many places, it’s illegal for an insurance company to require you to get repairs done at a certain place (though you’ll want to check your local laws).

Car insurance is designed to pay for all the work that needs to be done to your car, including repairing critical parts that affect the vehicle’s ability to drive, as well as any body damage. While the insurance company wants to minimize their losses, there are certain things they’re not allowed to consider that you can do, such as doing your own repairs, using parts that aren’t as nice as the ones you had before (they can buy used parts, but they usually have to be in at least as good of a condition as they were before the accident), or just not fixing it.

There are a few caveats to this situation, though:

  • If a bank owns your car, they can decide to fix it. When you have a car loan, you don’t technically own the vehicle until it’s paid off. The bank may (and almost always will) want to fix the car to its previous condition, since a damaged car is worth less as collateral. You are required to report damages to the vehicle to both your insurance and the bank if you don’t have it paid off.

  • If the car is a total loss, you’ll have to buy it back to do your own repairs. If your car is deemed a total loss by the insurance company, you’ll be required to hand over the car in order to get a check from the insurance company. However, there are occasions where a car is deemed a total loss due to cosmetic damage that pushes the repairs over the threshold of the value of the car. You can elect to buy back the vehicle (which is something you’ll have to negotiate with the insurance company) and get a check for the remainder. In most situations, though, this probably won’t be worth it.

  • You’ll still have to pay your deductible and have a claim on record. If your deductible is $500 and the repair estimate is $550, you won’t get much from the insurance company, which means it won’t be worth it even if you can bring the actual repair cost way down. Additionally, while it’s not entirely true that a single accident can raise your rates, every claim will still go on record. You’ll need to weigh the value of an insurance check against the cost of making an insurance claim before you proceed.

  • If you find more damage later on, you may be out of luck. Typically, if you go to the shop that an insurance company suggests, that shop will be able to notify your provider of any new damage they find and the company will cover the costs. If you agree to an estimate and take the check, then discover some hidden damage later on that costs a lot more, you may have trouble convincing the insurance company to pay up. It’s not impossible, but the burden of proof will be on you to show that this damage is related to the incident they’re paying for and not a result of an unrelated accident or an unskilled mechanic.

Assuming the stars align just right, though, you can potentially make out pretty well. There are plenty of ways to save big money on your car repairs, particularly if you can do them yourself or don’t mind cosmetic damage. Be sure to talk to your mechanic during the process to find out how much is necessary, but remember: your insurance company is supposed to pay you for all the damage done. How you spend that money is up to you, though.

Get the Money You’re Owed from Your Home Insurance Claim

How to Maximize Your Insurance Payout By Doing Your Own Repairs

Similar to car insurance claims, home insurance is designed to make you whole again when damage is done. Depending on the type of work that need to be fixed and how handy you are (or if you know a contractor who’s willing to work for cheaper than your repair estimate), though, you can still make the most of your claim. As with car insurance, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • If you don’t own your home, your bank can decide to fix it. The same rules apply to houses that apply to cars. If you’re still making payments on your house (or have taken out a second mortgage), you’re not the full owner of your home. The lienholder will probably want to fix your home to its previous condition since it’s being used as collateral and, if they so choose, they can pick who does the work.

  • Home repairs are more complex and you could undervalue the work. The insurance adjuster’s job is to minimize costs and if you don’t know what all needs to be done and what the insurance company is required to pay, you could end up with a much smaller check than you need or deserve. Regardless of whether you let the insurance company coordinate the repairs, you should probably get an independent assessment.

  • If you don’t fix it right, you can screw up future claims. While you’re permitted to get the work done however you see fit (if you own your home entirely), your insurance can potentially deny a future claim if more damage is done due to shoddy work. You might be able to save some money if your brother-in-law has a roofing company or something, but if you plan to fix broken water pipes with no experience, you could only make matters worse.

In general, homeowners will have a tougher time getting a direct payout since most mortgages will take a very long time to pay off, and as long as you’re not the full owner, you’ll have to wrestle with the mortgage company.

There is one other thing to consider if you’re looking to maximize your payout: if any covered property inside your home is damaged, the insurance company has to pay for that as well. While your belongings may not always be covered (it’s helpful to learn which types of insurance will cover your stuff), if they are, you are owed a check for their value, but it’s up to you how to spend it.

Above all else, remember that, while you have plenty of options to get as much money as you can from the insurance company, you should never veer into the realm of fraud. Don’t try to trick your adjuster into paying for something that’s not covered or that wasn’t damaged by the accident/event in question. You’re owed as much money as it takes to make you whole and in the same condition as before the damage, but trying to squeeze out more than that is a quick way to get investigated and potentially get dropped from your insurance entirely.

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Apr 20

Happy Easter Austin!

Texas Frame and Collision EasterHappy Easter Austin!
From your friends at Texas Frame and Collision we would like to wish your family a Happy Easter. We hope you enjoy this special day and remember to drive safe.

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Apr 14

Austin Hail Damage

Toyota-Camry-Hood-Pummeled-Texas Frame and CollisionIf you have experienced hail damage in Austin because of the last storm, give us a call.  Texas Frame and Collision specializes in hail repair and we can save you a bunch of money while making your car look better than the rest.  Give us a call or send us a message and we will have your car back in shape.

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Apr 03

Austin Drivers Should Shop Body Shops After Accident

rental-cars-collage.jpgIn Austin, Texas if you have been in an accident and are going to have insurance cover the repairs, it is important to know that you do not have to go to the preferred shop of the insurance company.  Often times the insurance company will send you to a mechanic that has their best interests in mind and not yours.  The experienced Texas shopper knows that you can save money and hassle by choosing the right auto body place.  Texas Frame and Collision serves the customer priorities first and that is why you can trust us to get you the best deal when it comes to repairing your car’s damage.  All we ask is that you at least get a quote on your service and then you can judge whether the savings are beneficial to you.

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Mar 31

Saving Austin Texas Car Drivers Money

Texas Frame and CollisionTexas Frame and Collision has been around since 1974.  You do not last that long in the highly competitive auto body business without knowing how to save your customers money.  Texas Frame and Collision is proud to announce our new special that allows you to get 10% of your cash back on body repairs.

example—->  Spend $4000 and you get $400 back

We already offer some of the lowest prices you will find in Austin, Texas when it comes to auto body repair.  Now we have sweetened the deal.

Texas Frame and Collision is your 10% back body shop.

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Apr 18

Tips for Driving In the Rain

Hurray for rain, we need it! But, these spring showers mean slippery roadways, and with all the traffic in Austin it is important to change your driving habits a little.

First and foremost, SLOW DOWN! Your tires cannot grip as effectively when the road is wet; slowing down gives the tire’s tread an opportunity to make contact with the road. Be sure to leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you. You need more time to stop in the rainy conditions.

Turn your headlights on, even in light rain. It not only helps you see, but it also helps others to see you.

Avoid using cruise control. You are less likely to pay attention to the road when you turn the car on auto pilot. Also, cruise control may cause your car to speed up if you begin to hydroplane.

If you do start to hydroplane there are some things you can do. Slowly take your foot off the accelerator or the brake. The old saying of turning into the skid is confusing. Which direction is that? The key is to gently steer your car in the direction you want your car to go. Be sure to avoid over correcting as this could make the skid much worse.

So remember slow down and pay attention. If you feel yourself start to skid, stay calm and turn the car where you want it to go.

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Apr 08

April Showers Means More Car Accidents

If you happen to have a wreck, have no fear, we got you covered. Whether it is big or small we can fix you up and get you back in tip top shape. Give us a call if you are in the Austin area. We will save you money! And time! And heartache!

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Mar 25

2008 Red Chevrolet Cobolt

This 2008 Red Chevrolet Cobolt was a mess when it came in. We had this car come in and it was almost totaled, but here at Texas Frame and Collision we can bring anything back from the dead. Trust us when it comes any of your severe wrecks.

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Feb 05

Fixing Your Bumper

Bumper scratches and scuffs are unsightly, and alarmingly easy to get. You don’t have to cover your car with hard-to-remove bumper stickers to make it look better, however. Fixing damaged plastic bumpers involves grinding, sanding, sculpting and painting. But it’s worth the effort for repairs that would cost less than your deductible.
Austin, Texas knows they can save money with us here at Texas Frame and Collision. Give us a call and we will save you money.

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