A customer’s car was hit by a vehicle. She did the right thing, by calling in the claim; but one thing she did wrong was NOT to have the appraiser come here to my garage to have it appraised. Instead, she took it to one of their drive-in quickie appraisal shops. BIG MISTAKE.
Later, she arrived here with the estimate in hand. When I perused it, I couldn’t believe how small an amount it was written up for. I told her before we do anything, she better call the insurance company and tell them she wanted it reappraised; or, at the very least, they should call me.
This morning the actual appraiser himself called me. I told him there were numerous things missing from the appraisal ;and boy was I surprised when he was honest with me, uttering the words, “Yeah I know, my boss likes me to write it up like that.”
HUH? Your boss likes to write it up for way less than it should be, to save money; so it will cost the customer money out of her own pocket?
Usually, the insurance companies are spot-on with the assessments. Even generous, in some cases. I believe, that’s because we are basically watching over them.
Hopefully this isn’t a new trend and won’t be happening all the time; but make sure it doesn’t happen to you. Take your car to the mechanic/auto body shop you trust and have the appraiser go THERE. This is no different then anything else that needs an expert to oversee it.
Don’t get shorted (or wrenched)!
This is just a friendly reminder from previous blog posts; but, seems to come up over and over. It’s simple:
If you have a car accident, stay at the scene and call the police.
I’ve been seeing a lot of the opposite, recently, and just this week one of my customers “didn’t have the time to wait”. She let the guy convince her that the damage he did to her vehicle would only cost $400. After accepting the payment, the bill turned out to be $1,600. Not getting paid enough is only one of the many pitfalls; someone can take down your plate and then claim all sorts of things later on.
Please listen to this advice and DON’T MOVE.
My husband always says I remind him of a scene from the movie “My Cousin Vinny.” Marisa Tomei says her “uncle is a mechanic, her brother is a mechanic”; and, for me in addition to that, my father and grandfather were also a mechanics that owned a Gulf station back in the day. So, I am familiar with good automotive maintenance habits and the personal safety aspect that goes along with them. When you read these, you are going to think “I knew that.” But are you doing these?
- Do you have a handheld garage door opener on your sun visor? Remove it, before you leave your car with a mechanic.
- Don’t leave your whole key ring, when you drop off your car. Only leave the ignition key and fob. (Remember to take your pepper spray off your key ring.)
- Never program your home address, in your GPS system. Instead, use an address of a nearby shopping center. If you have a portable GPS, remove it from your car before leaving it.
- Always remove mail, paperwork and personal belongings, before dropping your car off for service.
- Check the air in your spare tire, regularly. Having a flat tire is troublesome enough; you don’t want to put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, by not having a useful spare.
- Keep a flashlight in your car that is easily accessible, in case of emergency.
The safety tips in this article and many others can be found on our Simple Self Defense for Women® DVD. Please visit our website www.simpleselfdefenseforwomen.com for more details.
Tracy Vega, Co-Founder- Simple Self Defense for Women