Tag Archives: car repair

Welcome to Auto Andre’s World

I am in the unique position of being a truly independent auto body shop owner, AP Body Shop in North Hollywood, CA. I plan to share my thoughts, feelings and ideas about auto repair, custom cars and whatever comes to mind about my passion for cars and people. I’m just gonna dive right in. I hope you enjoy the journey…

Here’s a little background on the way auto insurance industry/claim process works (at least in CA): when you call in a claim while your insurance provider may suggest/request a place for you to take your vehicle (“preferred shop”), by law you can take your car wherever you want. The insurance company is only making a suggestion. And you would probably figure it’s the best to take it to a recommended place. And sometimes it may be. However, the preferred body shop will have a deal with the insurance company and really be looking for their best interest as oppossed to yours. In exchange for having business sent their way the “preferred” body shop will reduce their rate. And most shop owners do the right thing but keep in mind that when things come up like: if you are in an accident and there is damage that is not obvious (sometimes structural) the shop owner may not force the issue with the insurance company or the adjustor may deny the claim and the shop owner would have his/her hands tied and possibly not even say anything to you. So whenever possible I highly suggest that you find an independent auto body shop to take your car after an accident. If you are in the Los Angeles area definitely contact me. I am also in the process of connecting with independent shop owners across the country. Any good shop will fully guarantee their work.

Customization/Add-On’s/Aftermarket

In alot of cases an insurance company won’t cover anything customized on a car that is damaged (aftermarket, add-on’s, etc.). So if you are planning to do any customization to your car or you’ve already done some, I’d recommend that you check with your auto insurance carrier to find out what is or isn’t covered. For example, in California, AA Insurance will not cover any non-factory parts, add-on’s, upgrades, etc. But State Farm and Mercury will as long as they know about them. Meaning you’ve upgraded your policy to cover those items and your rates where adjusted accordingly  . In the long run this may literally save you thousands of dollars!

Here’s an example: I had a customer come in with a 2002 Camero SS with tons of upgrades and add-on’s (engine, suspension, wheels, stripes, etc.). He had probably spent about $15,000 in upgrades. He had an accident where he had hit a fire hydrant. The front of the car, suspension and wheels were severely damaged. He was with AAA Insurance. They would not pay for the replacement of any of the upgrades. I told the customer that his upgrades would not be covered. Of course he was furious. I called everyone (adjustor, supervisor, even a vice president) connected to claim. He also called everyone I called. Both of us got major push back along the way. The first adjustor said even if the owner of the car had claimed all the upgrades it wouldn’t be covered…”AAA just doesn’t cover that”  he says. Fine, but no way ( I thought)…After a dozen phone calls made by me and the customer , the complain went all the way to a vice president .They did end up covering the entire repair bill with upgrades because nowhere on my customer’s contract was it mentioned that his upgrade where not included…..nice. But here is a situation where if he had gone to a preferred shop he would not have been able to get his car back to it’s pre-accident condition through his insurance. They would have only paid for the original parts. Again, a preferred shop will not challege the insurance companies in fear of loosing their account with them…which means, you, would end up loosing and  paying the difference.

Ultimately there are many tricks that insurance companies and preferred shops use to minize their costs. I’ll be back with more info about this soon. Stay tuned…

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