We recently had the misfortune of having to make an insurance claim on our car. My wife had a fender bender! Nothing serious, no one got hurt but both cars needed repair. When dealing with the insurance company however, some bad memories came back. Years ago, my wife and I got hit while stopped on the auto route. Traffic had come to a standstill, but a distracted driver, who may have been on her phone, didn’t even notice that everyone was stopped and drove into the car behind me, who in turn slammed into the left side of the rear bumper. Fortunately again, no one was injured. The three cars involved where not so lucky.
Back then, just like now, the insurance company suggested the garage that we were to take our car to have it repaired. They claimed that the repair would be done faster, better, and that the job would be guaranteed for the life of the vehicle. Needless to say I took their advice. The garage in question was in the industrial park close to our home. They did not even have a courtesy car to give us! They did however do a great job and I had the car back within a week. or so it seemed…
About a year later the repair started to bubble. I contacted my insurance and they instructed me to take the car back and that it would be taken care of. I had a lifetime guaranty on the repair after all! So back to the shop I went, and again left without a courtesy car. Once again, within a week, the car was ready.
A couple of years later, the repair started to crack open! Since I had a lifetime guaranty I went back to the garage myself to have the car repaired for a third time. Much to my surprise the garage was now a vacant building! Nice! So much for the lifetime guarantee.
The car is now 15 years old, full of rust but still runs and I use it as my winter car. The car was never repaired again. The putty that was put on it has cracked and fallen out. What is now visible is what a terrible job the service center had done to repair the car all those years ago. The left (driver’s side) fender was creased during the accident. It was never straightened properly. It was filled with putty and painted. Now I understand why the insurance company tries so hard to send you to the repair center of their choice. They do a lousy job but save the insurance company a ton of money. And the customer has no clue. The insurance company literally threatened me with the ”if you take your car elsewhere we cannot guaranty their work!” excuse. Back then I was naive and listened. Today however I know better. Take the car to the garage of your choice! I suggest going to an authorized dealer who do their own in house repairs and who do not subcontract their work. There is a good chance that a Ford, GM, Honda, Toyota etc… dealer will not close their doors in a couple of years. The little shop in the industrial park I am not too sure of.
This time around my insurance company threatened me again with the “we cannot guarantee their work” line. Then they said the garage of my choice was not recognized by them and an adjuster would have to get involved. They even used the line that the repair center was too far from my house. They just would not stop. But I did not listen to them!
I took my Honda to an authorized Honda dealer that has a body repair shop attached to their building. It’s been there for the last 30 plus years! The service center gave me a lifetime guarantee on their repair! So much for the insurance’s threat of no warranty for the repair! And as a bonus I pissed off my insurance by not taking it where they wanted me to take it.
Pics right after accident and before the repair:
Pics today- the repair did not stand the test of time! Putty cracked and fell off, metal rusted.