Dealing with minor parking lot damage

Parking lot accidents happen all the time. As far as collisions go, a parking lot accident ranks pretty low on the scale. Regardless, they can still be a major nuisance! If you’ve been involved in a parking lot accident, or just want to know more about them in case something like that happens to you, this is the right article.

What to do if the other party is present

If the other person involved in the accident is present, dealing with the situation should be much easier. Start by taking photos of the vehicles, whether or not there is visible damage. Don’t be afraid to take as many pictures as possible – this is so you have proof that you can present to your insurance company should they question your blame in the accident. The police often won’t make a full report on parking lot accidents since they’re technically private property – if you feel the accident is serious enough, you can always call and ask!

You should get the other person’s contact information and exchange insurance information with them. Be sure to get their address. This is very important; if you need an attorney for anything, you won’t be able to locate the other party or pursue your charges without an address.

If the accident left you with any kind of an injury or substantial damage to your car, you will want to file an insurance claim. People often don’t want to file a claim to avoid increased insurance premiums, so it will be up to you to make the call. If your damage or injury is lower than your deductible, it might not be beneficial to file a claim.

What to do if it’s a hit and run

If you notice damage to your car after the fact and can’t find the car that hit you, it’s would be considered a hit and run scenario; someone bumped into your car and felt they could get away with it since no one was around. Tracking down the other party involved is your first priority, and you should start at the scene of the accident.

Ask any people you see nearby if they saw who hit your car and if they remembered the plate number. Also, check the surrounding areas for any security cameras that may have recorded the accident. Take their names and numbers so that you can call them later as witnesses. Call the police and report all of your information, making sure to write down the report number so you can use it in your insurance claim. Some insurance companies may require a report on a hit and run within 24 hours (to the police) for the claim to be considered valid.

If the driver of the other car can’t be identified, you’ll be paid out under the collision section of your insurance policy regardless. It is always better to find the other party involved and hold them accountable if you are able though!

The Difference between OEM and Aftermarket Parts

When people take their vehicle in for repair, most will ask for an estimate and then leave it at that, but it may be worth your while to dig a little deeper and inquire about the parts that will be used for your vehicle’s repair.

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What’s the difference between an Auto Repair Shop and an Auto Body Shop?

It’s important to understand at least the basics about your car, and that includes where you would go to repair different parts of it! Having said this, we are here to help explain to you the differences between an auto repair shop and an auto body shop. It is common among car owners to think everything concerning car maintenance or repair is the work of a mechanic; they believe once it is an automobile problem, the mechanic is the first go-to person. While that may be true in some cases, it’s best to think of it as you would a doctor. For example, would you go to a stomach doctor for an ear infection? Probably not. So, it’s important to note that you should not go to a mechanic for a dented bumper.

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What to Do When You Have Windshield Damage

There’s nothing worse than the loud “thunk” of a rock or piece of debris jumping up from the highway to collide with your windshield. From small chips, to huge spider web cracks, it’s definitely an inconvenience. Luckily, there are a lot of options with various price points to help you get back to your full range of visibility again. Just be sure not to ignore it, as over time the damage will only get worse and worse!

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The Process to Match Auto Paint

Small scratches and dents on your vehicle detract from the overall finish and can cause rust in the longterm – along with dramatically reducing the resale value.

Many panel repairs will require a new coat of paint, and it definitely can be a challenge to get the colors just right.

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Let’s Talk About Headlights!

Headlights are an essential part of your car, though they often go neglected. You’ll notice that as your headlights age, they may become foggy or hazy-looking. This haze or fog is not from scratching (all headlight plastic used since the 1970s is ultra-durable and scratch-resistant), but from the damage of UV rays, pollution and chemicals.

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Should I Use the Shop My Insurance Recommends?

An insurance company will usually recommend a specific shop for you to get your damaged car repaired, but always remember that you are not required to use the shop chosen by your insurance company; you can decide to use a mechanic that you trust and know, or a new one you have researched on your own.

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Keeping Your Paint Shiny and New for as Long as Possible

In some ways, your car is a reflection of you. You don’t have to own a brand-new car for it to be shiny and clean. Taking care of your car’s paint is actually not that difficult – with very little investment, both in time and effort, you can get great results. It doesn’t matter if your car is older or has some imperfections, you can still improve it or slow down the deterioration process. Here’s how to keep your paint shiny and new for as long as possible.

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What is Paintless Dent Repair?

We drive our cars daily – to work, the store, and various other errands. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent the inevitable dent or ding from happening. Shopping carts, rocks from the road, and careless drivers parking too close are all going to take their toll on your vehicle over time with daily use.

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U.S. Drivers Lack Trust in Auto Shops

Bad news for auto repair and collision centers around the U.S.—it seems most U.S. drivers don’t trust you. According to a study done by AAA in late 2016, two out of three U.S. drivers do not trust auto repair shops in general.

While the study was focusing specifically on the auto repair industry, industry experts were quick to point out that the majority of drivers don’t know the difference between auto repair and auto body, and the statistic could be applying to both.

While insurers reimburse at least 70 percent of auto body business, general mechanical labor is predominantly out-of-pocket by the motorist. This could be why AAA focused its study on the auto repair side of the industry specifically, versus both auto repair and auto body.

AAA said the reasons for the mistrust broke down like this:

  • 76 percent: recommending unnecessary service
  • 73 percent- overcharging
  • 63 percent- negative past experiences
  • 49 percent- concerns that the work will not be done correctly

Despite those negative statistics, the study also found that 64 percent of U.S. drivers have singled out an auto repair shop they actually do trust. So what can repair shop owners do to change that relationship? Below we’ve listed out a few ways to begin rebuilding trust:

  1. Know your current customers and where to find new ones.
    According to AAA, baby boomers are twice as likely than younger generations to fully trust auto repair facilities in general, with one-in-five reporting they “totally trust the industry.” When you break it down statistically, 76 percent of Baby Boomers have selected an auto repair shop they trust, versus just 55 percent of Millennials and 56 percent of Gen-Xers.

    It’s crucial for shop owners to continue to invest in their older, loyal customer base. However, they must also be willing to branch out into social media and review-based platforms to connect with younger customers. Word of mouth is no longer enough. Millennials and Gen-Xers want to find their businesses where they spend most of their time—on the Internet.

  1. Join a review platform and urge customers to leave feedback.
    With the level of mistrust found in relationships between driver and auto repair shops, it’s imperative that shops have a presence on a review platform. With com, each review is validated with a repair order, making it impossible for fake reviews to spam your account.

    These validated reviews give peace of mind to both the business owner and the driver. They know they are reading real reviews from real people, and can then make an educated decision on where to take their vehicle. With 78 percent of customers turning to a review site to find a business, this is a step that cannot be overlooked.

  1. Be mindful of your digital presence throughout the Web.
    While managing your reputation by joining a review platform is a great first step, your reputation can be made or broken in other areas of the web, too. Making sure you’re aware of what is being said about your business all over the Internet is a must.

    Take Yelp, for example. A recent poll on Repairer Driven News found that most auto body shop owners either looked at their Yelp page just “once in a while” or never at all. Whether you’re allowing positive feedback to go unnoticed, or negative feedback, whether true or false, to start gaining traction, you’re only hurting your business by not paying attention to what’s being said about you online.

With so much information at customers’ fingertips, it is easier than ever for them to decide what shops can and cannot be trusted, and where to take their business. In order to begin repairing the relationship between customer and shop owners, the industry leaders must begin to invest in their online reputation, and provide peace of mind to their current and potential customer base.