Extra Credit! 8 More Insurance Pointers

To really boost your Insurance IQ, these eight tips will put you in the driver’s seat of your automotive repair process. Many apply to preventative maintenance and out-of-pocket upgrades, too. Read on!

1. After-Market or Used Parts

We’re not going to lie. Body and repair shops are expected to face an ongoing challenge in getting OEM – or original equipment manufacturer – parts and materials will into 2023. During the pandemic shutdowns, it took months to get parts depending on the year, make and model of your car or truck. We face an ongoing shortage in microchips and lower production of both new vehicles and parts.


(That’s why speed isn’t in the main decision criteria – so plan ahead even securing a rental car if necessary.)


Anderson’s Autobody has perfected this “parts unavailable” scenario over the last three years when supply chain shortages skyrocketed worldwide. For example, we will contact both OEM and specialty parts dealers all over the U.S. and have them shipped in. Our schedulers time your repairs for when those critical parts arrive – often from multiple different facilities – so your vehicle isn’t just sitting around.


While we prefer OEM parts, almost all insurance companies specify the use of used parts (also known as “like kind and quality” or “LKQ parts”), aftermarket parts, or reconditioned parts. Your insurance policy dictates the use of LKQ versus OEM parts.

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Insist on creativity and persistence. If your part is backordered, or no longer exists, ask about the relationships the body shop has with after-market or used part dealers across the U.S. - especially on trucks and cars made before 2010.

Consider These Questions Before You Sign Off On Aftermarket Parts.


In some collision types, it may be even better to install a used part to reduce the repair's complexity. However, with all the different materials used in today’s vehicles, used parts may compromise your car’s structural integrity and should not be performed at all. Make sure your body shop has the latest, real-time information on OEM procedures.


If a used part is acceptable, insist that at least the same age or newer than your car. Some insurance companies may specify otherwise. Either way, your body shop should inspect any used part for quality and make sure it’s backed by a warranty.


While it’s not necessarily a guarantee, an aftermarket part that has gone through a certification process is generally of higher quality than one that has not. Most providers provide a warranty for them. A reputable shop will only utilize an aftermarket part that you authorize and it's verified for fit and quality for use.


We wish it were not the case, but we’ve seen some insurance companies specify the use of used or aftermarket parts for everything from airbags to suspensions. That is not okay. Insist on an OEM part if it’s a core safety feature if it is still made. Many insurance companies will also specify the use of the cheapest aftermarket part. Do not accept that. It’s against the law in Idaho.


Most of the time, yes. Even a simple part like a fender is built to control the transfer of forces in an accident, which isn’t always the case in an aftermarket part design. Similarly, a reconditioned bumper may be a way to save time and money in a repair, but who did the reconditioning? Was it performed correctly?


For these reasons, we always lean in the direction of using OEM parts wherever possible. Make sure your body shop only diverges from that if it is safe, makes sense, and, most importantly, done with the your full knowledge and authorization first.

2. Be Prepared for an Auto Accident

Always have a copy of your Proof of Insurance in your glove box along with a notepad and pen to take down important information. Also download your insurance company’s app on your phone so you have the policy and always contact info with you. Use your smartphone to take photos of the incident.

 Research auto body shops in advance so you know where you want your car taken – and make sure they can arrange for towing directly. Look for I-CAR Gold Class or ASE certifications!

Review in advance this one-pager on “What to Do If You’ve Been in an Accident”. Download it, personalize your information and share with your teenage drivers too. Laminate it for lasting power – it includes nearby police stations. [CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD] 

 File a police report if other vehicles were involved. If your vehicle is not drivable the police will order it towed – but you do not have to use that towing service! Tell the officer a tow company is already on its way to pick up your car. The officer may still insist on a police tow, but using this method you will ensure your car goes where you want it and save another needless tow. Anderson’s will always arrange for a tow, or your insurance or roadside assistance can have it towed to your body shop of choice.

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Choose a repair shop based on reputation, not price alone. Quality, customer service and open, honest communication matter most. Price is not the biggest driver in the auto repair business. Safety and quality are.

3. Dealing with Liability or “Who Is At Fault”

Even when it’s clear who is at fault, the resulting process can still be murky. For example, if you weren’t at fault, it’s best to have the at-fault driver or their insurance company take care of everything?


Don’t let someone else control the repair process or you may not be happy with the result. There are many issues to consider. Contact us for help.

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4. Dealing with An Uninsured Driver

Despite mandatory insurance laws, too many drivers illegally operate cars that are uninsured. That’s always a terrible situation to be in. Unfortunately, you can make a terrible situation worse if you allow the uninsured driver to get involved in your repair process.

The possibility of getting in an accident with another driver is a key reason to insure your car with collision coverage or uninsured motorist property damage coverage. Any car that you cannot afford to replace is one that you should have properly insured.

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5. Consider Using Your Own Insurance

Many times, the best course of action, regardless of who is at fault, is to use your own insurance to handle the repairs. This may seem strange to you, particularly if you are not at fault. Here are a few reasons why:

  • The best protection comes from by your own insurance policy for all repairs.
  • Your insurance recovers the cost of the repairs from the at-fault driver and even the towing company if they further damage your vehicle. It’s called subrogation!
  • An accident that is not your fault should not raise your insurance rates. At-fault accidents drive auto insurance rates, not claims. No reputable company would raise your rates for an accident that was not your fault.
  • Even if you hire a lawyer, most personal injury attorneys do not want to get involved in the repair process. By using your own insurance, you have someone legally bound to repair your vehicle in your best interests and pursuant to your insurance policy.

Do not let your insurance agent sway you in making this decision. While your rates may not go up, some agents are negatively impacted by how many claims they have. While no reputable agent would do this, some may encourage you to wait or try to go through the other person’s insurance. This is not okay.

Remind your agent that your insurance policy requires you to promptly report all accidents and you wish to proceed with the claim for your own protection. Again, please contact us.

Remember, you have the right to choose your own shop and use your own insurance no matter what the situation.

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6. Insurance Auto Body Repair Networks

Direct Repair Programs (DRPs) are a network of auto body shops with direct insurance relationships – an arrangement where the insurance company benefits financially by receiving lower costs in return for referrals. On top of that, insurance companies by Idaho state law must share at least two preferred shops to you so they are typically DRP.


Listen, most DRP programs are reputable. At Anderson’s, we have agreements with several insurance companies (see list below). But despite any agreement we enter, you – our customer – remain our top concern and priority.


That said, some insurance companies try to force body shops into substantially reduced rates or require the use of crash parts not made by the original manufacturer of your car (“non-OEM” parts). Some body shops do make those concessions in return for more business.


At Anderson’s Autobody, we refuse to participate in any DRP that would compromise the repair of your car.


So, again, remember that your car repair is your choice no matter what the insurance company says. We work with all insurance companies. However, If we cannot to reach a a suitable repair agreement with them, we will explain why to you in person.

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7. Totaled? You Can Still Keep The Vehicle

If your vehicle gets totaled – meaning, it’s a “total loss” – you can choose to keep your car or not. A totaled vehicle means the estimated cost of repairs for your vehicle comes back higher than the vehicle is worth. Your insurance company has the option to pay out the current value of your vehicle – whether it’s the at-fault company or your insurance company.


They can do that. It’s their option. If they do, they will run an evaluation called a fair market analysis and come back to you with a value and an offer. You have the right to negotiate that offer. You may get an increase above fair market value if you can prove mitigating circumstances, such as low miles, recent upgrades or above average condition.


It's your choice to have the vehicle repaired or not – but in means more out of your pocket on top of using the insurance check. That's a great route if you cannot afford to buy a used or new vehicle. Or it simply may not be their financial priority. Either way, a reputable body shop will work with you if it’s safe and reasonable to repair the totaled vehicle. If you decide not, then simply authorize your body shop to release the vehicle for tow to the junk yard.

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8. Look for a Lifetime Warranty

Your body shop should stand behind every repair and offer a lifetime warranty. If you find anything wrong, please come back so we can make it right.


In fact, if you’ve had your vehicle repaired by a dealership or another shop and find yourself wondering if the repairs were done correctly, Anderson's Autobody offers free post repair inspections (PRI) of their work. Additionally, we stand behind all our work, insurance or otherwise, with a full warranty done by I-CAR certified technicians.


We hope you’ve found this Guide helpful in understanding the auto body repair process when working with insurance companies. After an accident, you may find yourself pushed in many different directions by various parties.


Anderson’s is here to help you navigate that having worked through many unique scenarios since we opened in 1989.


Remember, you are the vehicle owner. All choices should be yours and not forced on you.

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Auto Insurance IQ

Idaho State Law for Vehicle Repairs

Auto collision insurance law varies from state to state. Check out your consumer rights in the Idaho Consumer Protection Manual.


State Laws: Auto accidents and the repairs of cars involved in auto accidents are governed by the laws of your state – in our case, Idaho. Get familiar with the laws of Idaho even if you are a part-time resident or visitor and how they may apply to you. This article is provided as education to consumers and is not legal advice.