5 Things to Know

  • Never drive a damaged vehicle that could be unsafe for you or your family.
  • Some insurance companies may want you to visit a drive-in claims center before having your vehicle repaired. You may also choose to leave your car at our shop and ask the insurance company to inspect the vehicle here.
  • There is no law requiring you to obtain more than one estimate or appraisal.
  • You have the right to go to the repair shop of your choice! Your insurance company cannot require you to go to a "preferred" or particular shop.
  • Your vehicle is a significant investment. Preserve its value and your safety by having it repaired professionally.

First 30 Days After Your Vehicle is Repaired

  • DO wash the vehicle by hand with cool, clean fresh water and a very mild car wash solution using a soft cloth or sponge.
  • DO keep your vehicle free of bird droppings, which have a high acid content and will damage a freshly painted surface.
  • DO avoid parking under trees and utility lines which are likely to attract birds.
  • DO avoid tree sap as it can mar or spot a freshly painted surface.
  • 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 fast on gravel roads. Chipping the finish can easily occur in the first 30 days.
  • 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.
  • DO NOT wax or polish the vehicle in the first 90 DAYS after repair. This will allow the finish to harden and dry completely.

What You Should Do Immediately Following an Accident

Most drivers make costly, long-term decision errors immediately following an accident as fear gives way to anger and frustration. Questions race through one's head faster than the mind can register them: Who was at fault? Will my vehicle ever be right again? What are my rights and responsibilities?
  • Move your vehicle to a safe place, then stop and identify yourself to the other driver (some local statutes may require the vehicle be left as it is). If your vehicle can’t be moved, turn on the hazard lights. Seek medical help if you or other parties require it, and notify the police. Tell them who you are, where you are, and explain any obvious or claimed injuries.
  • Exchange information with the other driver(s), including drivers' license numbers. Get the name, address, and telephone number of the driver(s) and also get the name of the insurance company. Also, list any passengers and witnesses.
  • Get names and badge numbers of any police officers who arrive at the scene. If there are injuries or extensive damage, the police should file a report. Ask to get a copy of the police report.
  • Avoid any extensive discussions at the scene about who is responsible for damage. If the other person admits responsibility, offers a money settlement and you accept, any future claim against the driver may be compromised. You or the other party may later find damage and bodily injuries that are not apparent at first.
  • Write a complete description of the accident as soon as possible. Include weather conditions, estimated speeds, and as much precise information as you can observe. Most phones today have built-in cameras. Remember to take pictures of the scene and vehicles involved.
  • Have your vehicle towed or driven to a Thomas Collision Center.
  • Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible.