Frequently Asked Questions
I’VE NEVER NEEDED COLLISION REPAIRS BEFORE. CAN YOU BRIEFLY EXPLAIN THE CLAIMS PROCESS?
When you contact your insurance company (or the other drivers insurance company) they will ask you to explain what happened. When that is complete ask them for a claim number. With your claim number we can handle everything for you from that point including dealing with the insurance appraiser and getting you a rental car if you need one.
DO YOU OFFER TOWING SERVICE?
You can have your vehicle towed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including HOLIDAYS by Redman Fleet Services, Inc. 703-550-0080. You do not have to worry about paying for the tow, all tow charges will be billed to us and we will collect it from your insurance company.
DO YOU OFFER CAR RENTAL SERVICE?
Yes. We can make arrangements with Enterprise Car Rental at 703-418-7240 to meet you at our facility. When the repairs to your vehicle are complete you may pick up your vehicle and leave the rental with us. If you have rental car coverage Enterprise Car Rental should be able to set up a direct billing with your insurance company unless your policy states otherwise. If you are a claimant once the other persons insurance company has accepted liability you should be entitled to a rental vehicle (equivalent transportation) at their expense while we’re repairing your vehicle. We can also make these arrangements for you.
DO I HAVE TO GO WHERE THE INSURANCE COMPANY DIRECTS ME?
No. It is your legal right to do business with the shop of your choice. Some insurance companies will try to steer you to one of their “referral shops” on their list. Beware of this tactic. Many of these shops in exchange for referrals from insurance companies agree to skip certain repair procedures, use imitation parts, offer discounted labor rates and parts discounts that go directly into the insurance company pocket, not yours. These shops are nothing more than just managed care providers that work for the insurance company and not for you. At First Choice Body Shop we refuse to do cheap, unsafe repairs.
DO I NEED TO GET 2 OR 3 ESTIMATES?
No. There is no law that requires this. It is the insurance companies obligation to adjust your claim fairly. If you leave your vehicle with us we will supervise the insurance appraiser and make sure they write a fair estimate that will restore your vehicle back to its pre-accident condition.
DO I HAVE TO GO TO THE INSURANCE COMPANIES “DRIVE-IN” CLAIMS OFFICE?
No. Don’t waste your time. Chances are they’re going to write a low-ball estimate that doesn’t reflect the true cost of repairing your car to pre-accident condition. All you have to do is tell the insurance company your leaving your vehicle with First Choice Body Shop and to send their appraiser to our location. If they tell you they don’t know when they can get an appraiser out to our shop don’t believe it. When you leave your vehicle with us to repair we will also notify them that your vehicle is in our shop and request a field appraiser be sent to our shop. We’ll make sure they send an appraiser out promptly. If you have the claim number and don’t feel like dealing with the insurance company anymore we will do this for you.
HOW SOON CAN I LEAVE MY VEHICLE FOR IT TO BE REPAIRED?
We can provide you with the earliest appointment available. Unless your vehicle is un-drivable then you may be able to leave it immediately.
HOW LONG WILL THE REPAIRS TO MY VEHICLE TAKE?
At the time that you drop off your vehicle to us we will give to you a target date. We will be able to update you with in a few days to confirm that target date. This will be once the parts are ordered and we know that they will be delivered in a prompt way and that we have called the insurance company for any additional damages if necessary.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN MY CAR IS DONE?
You will be notified when your vehicle is ready to be picked up. We will normally contact you a day in advance. Feel free to call or email Pete or Ray to check on the status of your vehicle or if you have any other questions.
DO I HAVE TO PAY A DEDUCTIBLE?
The amount of deductible that you will be responsible for is determined by your insurance policy. If you carry broad collision, and you were not at fault, your insurance company most likely will waive your deductible. Insurance companies determine fault by your account of the accident when you make the claim, and by reviewing the accident report filed with the police department. If you aren’t sure about your deductible, you can call your insurance company and they will tell you whether your deductible has been waived or if you will be responsible for paying your deductible when you pick up your vehicle. Please note that if liability has not been determined and your deductible is “pending” further investigation you will still be responsible to pay your deductible at the time you pick up your vehicle.
WHO DO I PAY MY DEDUCTIBLE TO?
If your deductible is not waived, it will be your responsibility to pay First Choice Body Shop when you pick up your vehicle.
WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?
Those customers that have a lien-holder on their insurance check are able to endorse the back of the check and First Choice Body Shop will take care of the rest with the lien-holder. We accept: Cash,Visa, MasterCard and Discover. who Personal Checks are also welcome.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE QUALITY OF REPAIRS?
The collision repair facility is. At First Choice Body Shop we offer a 5-year limited warranty on all of our repairs
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE REPAIR BILL?
The vehicle owner is. However the insurance company has a legal obligation to their insured to pay for the repairs. Generally an insured will pay their deductible and the insurance company will pay the rest to the insured unless you specifically notify the insurance you want them to pay the body shop directly. If this were so you would need to sign” Direction To Pay” which give authorization to the insurance to pay us directly.
DOES MY INSURANCE COMPANY GUARANTEE THE REPAIR?
No. We do. As a steering tactic some insurance companies will tell you that if you take your vehicle to a shop on their list they will guarantee the repairs. But if you take it to a shop not on their list they won’t. NOT TRUE! They have to stand by your repairs no matter what. If you get a sub-standard repair your insurance company has an obligation to intervene in the proper repair of your vehicle.
IF THERE’S A PROBLEM, WHOM SHOULD I CONTACT?
The collision repair facility. If they are unable to satisfy your problem then contact your insurance company and ask them to intervene. If you feel you got a sub-standard repair and don’t want to deal with the repair facility anymore, bring it to us at First Choice Body Shop. We will assess the problem and deal with your insurance company to resolve the problem.
COULD YOU PROVIDE PICK UP AND DELIVERY IN SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES?
Yes. We can make the necessary arrangements at the time the appointment is made. We can also provide pick up and delivery service of a rental.
IF MY VEHICLE’S FRAME IS DAMAGED IS IT A TOTAL LOSS?
No. A car is a total loss only when the price of repairs exceeds the insurance company’s determined value of your vehicle. Nowadays, most cars are built using unibody (frame and body as one) construction. Our highly skilled technicians, with the aid of our four-dimensional measuring system, can return your vehicle to its original factory specifications. If it is determined that the frame section is bent beyond repair, that section can simply be replaced.
CAN YOU MATCH THE PAINT COLOR?
Today’s modern factory finishes incorporate multiple layers of highly specialized paints. First Choice Body Shop has made a major investment in the finest paint system available and constantly upgrades its technology and equipment to ensure that each vehicle’s paint matches. We take special pride in our ability to match factory finishes as the final step in the restoration process.
CAN I GET OTHER SERVICE WORK DONE ON MY VEHICLE WHILE IT IS IN THE BODY SHOP?
Yes. We can provide for you glass service (in-house), alignment service, if necessary just inform us of what you may need so we will be able to make the necessary arrangements.
ARE YOU OPEN ON SATURDAY?
We are currently closed on Saturday & Sunday.
WHAT ARE OEM PARTS (Original Equipment Manufacture) Parts?
These are the parts made by the manufacture of your car for your car. OEM are the only acceptable body parts a repair shop can use in order to preserve your factory warranty, protect your safety and assure repairs to pre-accident condition.
WHAT IS AN “LKQ” PART?
This generally refers to a “used” part. Insurance companies may figure “LKQ” parts on your vehicle if it is at least two years old or more. Our standard for “used” parts is that they must be at least as good if not better than the one that was on your vehicle before the accident. In the event our source of “LKQ” parts is not able to either find the part or find one that is acceptable we will contact the insurance company and they will have to pay for “new” parts from the manufacturer.
WHAT IS A “QUALITY REPLACEMENT” PART OR “AFTERMARKET” PART?
“Quality replacement” parts or “Aftermarket” parts are nothing more than “cheap imitation parts” that some insurance companies figure on their initial estimate. Unfortunately some insurance companies slip this in their policies (in the fine print of course) and the agent somehow forgets to tell you about this up front. At First Choice Body Shop we will never use any “aftermarket” or “quality replacement” sheet metal, lights or bumpers in the repair of your vehicle. We will always request O.E.M. (original equipment parts) for the repairs of your vehicle.
CAN I GET A SAFE AND PROPER REPAIR IF I GO BACK TO THE CAR DEALER WHERE I BOUGHT MY VEHICLE FOR REPAIRS?
If you have a problem with your foot you wouldn’t go to an ear, nose and throat doctor right? Obviously you’d go to a foot doctor. Specialization is the key for excellent service and product. Many people think that if they own a Chevrolet, Honda, Toyota or whatever they should go to the car dealership for repairs. If you do, this could be a big mistake. Let me explain why. Car dealerships specialize in selling a car and doing mechanical service & thats what they do best. Car dealerships body shops are a sideline not a specialty. Many times these dealership body shops have deals with insurance companies that can include the use of imitation parts, discounted labor rates, parts discounts and may agree to skip certain repair procedures in exchange for referrals. We specialize in one thing: collision repair. We will put our work and service against anyone in the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC area.
IF MY CAR IS LEASED DO I HAVE TO LET MY LEASE COMPANY KNOW MY VEHICLES BEEN IN A COLLISION?
You are responsible for the condition of your leased vehicle. When your lease is up and you turn in your vehicle the lease company will do an independent appraisal of the condition of your vehicle. Other than normal wear, if they find any body damage, counterfeit parts or improper repairs you will be assessed at that time for the cost of repairing that damage.
CAN I WASH MY CAR
RECOMMENDATIONS AND PRECAUTIONS IN THE FIRST 30 DAYS
DO – Wash the vehicle by hand with cool water and a very mild car wash solution using a soft cloth or sponge. Always use clean fresh water. Wash your vehicle in the shade.
DON’T – Do not use a commercial car wash. Stiff brushes or sponges could mar the finish and damage the surface. Do not “dry wipe” your vehicle. Dry wiping can scratch the finish. Do not drive on gravel roads. Chipping the finish is easily done in the first 30 days. Avoid parking under trees and utility lines, which are likely to attract birds. Bird droppings have a high acid content and will damage a freshly painted surface. Also, tree sap can mar or spot a freshly painted surface. Do not spill gasoline, oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, or windshield solvent on the new finish. Do not scrape ice or snow from the newly painted surface.