If You Have an Accident
- What should I do first? Ask if everyone is alright. Call 911 to alert the police to the accident and let them know if you need an ambulance. Then, identify yourself to the other driver(s) and exchange driver’s license, insurance company and registration information with each other. This information also must be shared with the police if they are present. It is also advisable to write down the details of the accident as soon as possible and take photos of the scene if you have a camera.
- Do I have to file a police report? T.A.C.S. always recommends having a police report filed even with the smallest accidents. This makes it easier for insurance companies to determine who was at fault.
- What am I required to do by law?If you are in an accident, you are required by the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law to stop and exchange information with the involved drivers. If the accident caused property damage only, then exchange information about your driver license, insurance, and registration with the involved drivers. If a parked vehicle or other property is damaged, or if a domestic animal is injured, you must locate the owner or contact the police.
- If the property damage of any person is $1,001 or more, all the involved drivers are required by the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law to file form MV-104 (Report of Motor Vehicle Accident). File form MV-104 with the DMV no more than 10 days after the accident. The DMV can suspend your driver license if you fail to report an accident.
- If a person is injured or killed, you are required by the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law to immediately notify the police. All the involved drivers and the police must file an accident report with the DMV. It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident that causes personal injury or death.
If you have any doubt about whether it is safe to drive your vehicle after an accident, always have it towed. This will avoid the chance of additional damage and the cost of the tow is generally covered under your auto insurance policy. T.A.C.S. has 24 hour towing service available, but any towing company can bring your car to our facility. Should your car be towed to an impound lot by the police, or to another facility, feel free to call us if you want your vehicle repaired by us and we will arrange the towing.
24 Hour Towing Service Every Day!
Simply call us for assistance at: 518-462-3977
Choosing a Collision Repair Facility
For most people, a vehicle is the second largest investment you will make. It only makes sense to choose your repair shop carefully to protect your investment. The right shop will not only do excellent repair work, but they will also handle your claim with your insurance provider. Below are some suggestions to help you:
- Get a Personal Referral – If you have a friend or relative that has had collision repairs recently you might ask them where they went. That will begin to help you decide where you might or might not want to take your vehicle.
- Ask your Insurance agent – Most insurance agents are familiar with local repair facilities and their reputation. They will often tell you where their clients have gone for repairs.
- Meet the Service Managers – The Service Managers will be the ones that you will work with throughout the process. They should be patient and also answer all of your questions about the process. It is important that they are clear, direct, and are knowledgeable about the entire process. Trust your instincts in this area and use caution with fast talking “salesman” types.
- Experience Counts – Choosing a repair facility that has been open and under the same management for a number of years may be to your advantage. A Lifetime Warranty has much more value if it comes from a longtime local business.
- Equipment – Auto collision repair requires specialized equipment to repair today’s complex vehicles. Make sure that you only consider shops that have made the necessary investment in equipment to do quality work.
T.A.C.S. schedules repairs based on several different factors. We always try to handle your repair in the most efficient way so that you are not without your vehicle any longer than necessary. We take care of many of the administrative parts of the process such as working with your insurance company and ordering parts before you drop your vehicle off for repair to reduce the length of time that you are without your vehicle.
- When to Schedule the Repair: You can schedule your repair at the time you are here for the estimate or call us if you already have an estimate. If you need to change your repair date for some reason, feel free to call us and we will try our best to reschedule at a time that is convenient.
- Drivable Vehicles: If you can safely drive your vehicle after an accident, you might want to schedule the repair so that we can complete the administrative work before you bring your car in. That way, we can minimize the time you are without your vehicle.
- Non-drivable Vehicles: We can assist you in having your vehicle towed to our facility either from the accident scene or from another location. No appointment is necessary for this – simply give us a call 24 hours a day.
- Pre-ordering of Parts: If the damage is minor, or superficial we will obtain the necessary parts prior to your scheduled repair appointment. That way, our technicians can begin the repair process immediately.
- Your Insurance Claim: Each insurance company has their own specific requirements for documentation and processing before repairs can begin. Your appointment is scheduled to take this into consideration so that we can have this competed in advance.
- Length of time for Repair: Repair time varies greatly depending on the severity of the damage to your vehicle. Other factors such as additional damage, revised estimates, parts delivery and insurance response time are sometimes out of our control and can add time to the repair process that we cannot anticipate. If these occur, our Service Managers will do their best to keep you informed.
The Repair Process
There are many steps involved with the repair process. As a general rule, the more damage caused in the accident, the more complex the repair process is. Listed below are the necessary steps for an "average" collision repair. Please keep in mind collision repair is not an exact science and because of this we are not always able to give you an exact date when your vehicle will be ready.
- Administrative: After the estimate has been written, the approvals are obtained from the owner and the insurance company. NYS Law prevents a repair facility from beginning any repair to a vehicle until all the proper authorizations are received. Depending on your specific situation, different authorizations may or may not be needed. T.A.C.S. Service Manager’s will explain which authorizations are needed for your situation. Please, keep in mind the sooner we receive all the authorizations the sooner we can order parts and begin your repair.
- Parts: We order the necessary parts, based on your initial estimate, to repair your vehicle before we begin to “tear down” your vehicle. Insurance companies are only able to cover parts in their first estimate that they can “physically” see are damaged on your vehicle. Most of the time, because of this insurance procedure, additional damage is discovered during the tear down process. At that point, we will contact your insurance company to come and inspect the additional damage. By law, insurance companies have 48 hours to send an adjuster to our facility to review the additional damage. Once they approve the additional damage, we can order the rest of the parts and continue with your repair. Please keep in mind; this may lengthen the time to repair your vehicle. This is considered the supplemental damage.
- Tear-Down: Your car is assigned to a technician to begin the repair process. At that time they “tear-down” the damaged area of the vehicle and remove all damaged parts. A complete list of any additional hidden damage that is found is made and given to the T.A.C.S. Service Manager. The Service Manager then contacts the Insurance Company for them to come and inspect the new damage. NYS Law allows Insurance Adjusters 48 hours from the time we contact them with the additional damage list to arrive at our facility.
- Revised Estimate: The Service Manager revises the estimate to include the additional parts and labor that are necessary to complete the repair of your vehicle. This information is then forwarded to your insurance company for approval. We also will contact you with this information.
- Structural Repairs: If there is damage to the inner structure of your vehicle we are able to repair the damage on our frame machine. We also have a computerized frame measuring system that will allow us to bring your frame back to manufacturer’s specifications.
- Cosmetic Repairs: Once the structural damage is repaired, sheet metal repair and replacement operations are performed.
- Refinish Process:
- All parts of your vehicle that need to be refinished go through a thorough preparation process.
- The exterior finish is applied on site in our paint booth
- We offer a 30 day wax and buff on the newly painted panels as a finishing process to remove any imperfections in the paint.
- Re-assembling your vehicle: After the finish is complete, the technician that has worked on your vehicle reassembles your vehicle, attaches trim, door handles, mirrors and other various parts that had to be removed to complete the repair.
- Mechanical Repairs: If needed T.A.C.S. has the equipment and expertise to handle most mechanical repairs. Keep in mind mechanical repairs often need resets, alignments, or other tests to ensure the system is working properly.
- Detailing After the repairs are complete we detail the vehicle inside and out. This is a FREE service we offer on all of our repairs.
- Quality Control: Our quality control experts check each and every part that was repaired to make sure that all work was completed properly before you pick up your vehicle. In addition, most vehicles are road tested. We have a complete checklist that is part of our process before delivery that includes instrumentation, locks, windows, and other items. If something that does not work is found and it is not related to the damage from your accident, we will make sure that you are informed.
- Customer Contact: You are welcome to contact us anytime while we are working on your vehicle to find out about the status of the repairs. We make every effort to have your car ready on time, but additional damage, revised estimates, parts delivery and insurance response time are sometimes out of our control.
Frequently Asked Questions
- May I go to the repair shop of my choice? YES! According to New York State Insurance Regulation 64 you have the right to go to the repair shop of your choice. Your insurance company cannot dictate the facility where you repair your vehicle.
- Will it cost more to have my vehicle repaired at T.A.C.S. No. We use a standardized system for all of our estimates called CCC Pathways. This is used by the majority of collision repair shops and insurance companies.
- Do I have to get multiple estimates? No. You can select the repair shop that is most convenient for you. T.A.C.S. has programs with several insurance companies that allow us to write the estimates for your vehicle's damage. For other companies, the insurance company will come to T.A.C.S. facility and appraise your vehicles damage provide us with a copy of the estimate.
- Will my new car warranty be voided depending on the repair shop I choose? No. You are protected by law. Your manufacturer cannot void your warranty just because they did not perform the repair work.
- When do I pay my deductible? You will pay T.A.C.S. at the time you pick up your vehicle.
- Can T.A.C.S. save my deductible? No. The deductible is an amount that is previously set by your insurance company when you purchased your policy. Insurance companies will issue the check for the repairs less the deductible amount.
- Will my insurance rates go up if I put in a claim? You will need to ask your insurance company directly about the impact of a claim to repair your vehicle. This can vary a great deal depending on many circumstances.
- Will I have to pay for towing? This will depend on your insurance coverage as well as the circumstances of your repairs. Our managers can explain this in detail when you speak to them.
- What if I don’t know if my vehicle is safe to drive? If you have any doubt about whether it is safe to drive your vehicle after an accident, always have it towed. This will avoid the chance of additional damage and the cost of the tow is generally covered under your auto insurance policy.
- Can my car be repaired if the frame is bent? Yes! Frame damage occurs in many accidents. Modern equipment is capable of properly repairing even badly damaged frames. We have the equipment and the technical expertise to repair frame damage.
- What if there is more damage found than what the original estimate covered? This is very common during the “Tear-down” process. If additional accident related damage is found, T.A.C.S. Service Managers will contact and work with your insurance company to have any additional damages appraised before proceeding with the repair.
- Will my car be like it was before the accident? Yes. T.A.C.S. will repair your vehicle to pre-accident conditions. This is based on all manufacturers’ specifications and recommendations.
- Will the new paint match? Yes. We use a computerized paint mixing system which uses a “V.I.N. dictator” to match your cars exact color. This code matches the new paint to the manufacturers’ original factory color.
- How long will my repairs take? The exact amount of time depends on the damage to your vehicle and the availability of parts needed. Some repairs may take as little as one day while others may take much longer.
Contact Us Today
PO Box 265, 525 Route 9W, Glenmont NY 12077, Phone: (518) 462-3977 Fax: (518) 462-1035