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Airbags: we all see the little signs on the steering wheel, the dashboard, or the doors. Thankfully, airbags are a safety feature we’re never without in modern cars. How much do know about airbags?

When an airbag goes off, it can be painful.

Any crash that causes your airbags to go off is likely to be painful, if not from broken glass, loud noises, a sudden tight hug from your seatbelt, then from an airbag blowing up in your face. It can feel like being kicked in the face and chest by a very strong but fluffy bunny.

Airbags are meant to keep you from hitting the hardest parts of your car, like the steering wheel, dashboard, glass windows, or metal doors. But the force of hitting the airbag can cause (less serious) injuries from abrasions to broken bones.
If your airbags deploy, your car may be totalled.

Whether your car is totalled depends on the value of your car and the extent of your insurance policy. However, if your car crashed with enough force to set off the airbags, it’s likely that your car has suffered significant damage. Repairing or replacing just the dashboard and airbags can cost a few thousand dollars.

Airbags may smell smoky but there isn’t necessarily a fire.

Small explosives are used to deploy your airbags quickly. They may leave a smoky smell in the air but that doesn’t mean that your car is on fire. If you’re in an accident, the first few seconds and minutes can be disorienting.

Give yourself a moment and if your car really is on fire, focus on freeing yourself. It may be harder to get out of a car after the airbags are set off for several reasons. The body of your car may have bent, making it difficult (or impossible) to open the doors or windows. Your seatbelt might have locked into position in the accident to prevent you from moving out of your seat, and it may be tight and difficult to release.

Always have your car checked by a professional after a crash.

Fixing or replacing your airbags, or any other safety feature, is tricky business. Your safety depends on it! Whether your airbags were deployed in a crash or not, always have your car, especially airbags and computerized safety features, checked and scanned by a professional to make sure they’re functioning properly and can keep you safe.

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The holidays are over, winter is settling in, and we’re all in hibernation mode… unless we have to be out and about. In which case the last thing you want is a slippery crash in the parking lot!

Unfortunately, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), tens of thousands of crashes happen in parking lots and garage structures every year. Hundreds are killed and thousands are injured in these generally low speed crashes.

So, what can you do to avoid becoming one of these statistics for next year?

Skip the Distractions

We’ve all been told to pull over to the side of the road before using our phones or programing the GPS, and many of these devices require it. But that doesn’t mean we can stop paying attention in the parking lot – the car needs to actually be in park.

According to a NSC public opinion poll, at least 50 percent of American drivers said they’d text, use social media, use email, or watch videos in a parking lot.

The key to safety behind the wheel is to focus on driving and pay attention to our surroundings 100 percent of the time.

Don’t be Fooled into Complacency

Just because you’re in a parking lot and everyone is moving slowly doesn’t mean your safety is guaranteed. There are many more cars moving in different directions and pedestrians walking across the pavement, so following the rules is critical.

● Drive slowly.
● Follow the arrows, signs, and lines.
● Watch for drivers, especially reversing in and out of parking spaces.
● Triple check your surroundings when reversing.
● Pay attention to pedestrians, especially children and people in wheelchairs.

Keep your Car in Check

The most important thing to remember in a parking lot is to be aware of your surroundings in every direction.
If you are relying on things like backup cameras or blind spot notifications, remember that these systems are only as accurate as they are well maintained.

If you’ve hit a pothole recently, been in an accident, or simply haven’t washed your car, your sensors could be misaligned or your cameras could be covered in salt. It’s your job to keep cameras clean, have the computer systems scanned at your local repair shop, and trust yourself – look around your car instead of only at the narrow view of your reverse camera.

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There are certain topics that every car owner should know when having their vehicle repaired. Taking your car to the repair shop isn’t generally something people are familiar with (because hopefully it doesn’t happen all that often!) But, if you are in an accident, it’s important that you know your rights as a consumer.

These consumer rights can help you ensure that your car is repaired correctly, safely, quickly, and within your budget.

You have the right to choose your own repair shop.

In most cases, when your car is in an accident, you can choose the shop you want to repair it. Ask your friends, have a quick Google, and look for local shops!

You can ask your insurance company for suggestions but if they’re telling you that you only have a few options, don’t believe them. This is called steering and in most states, it’s illegal.

You have the right to choose your repair parts.

If parts of your car need to be replaced, you can have a say in which parts are used!

Usually, you can choose from three kinds of parts: OEM, non-OEM, or recycled parts. However, depending on your insurance policy, only certain kinds of parts may be covered. (This doesn’t mean that’s your only option!) Each kind of part has unique benefits and costs so if you’re not sure, ask your repair tech or do a little research.

In many states, if a shop is going to use anything other than OEM parts, they’ll need to notify you. To be proactive, ask your repair shop before the repair.

You have the right to a safely and correctly repaired car.

When you take your vehicle to be repaired, you are paying for a service and you can rightfully expect that your vehicle will be repaired correctly and when repairs are completed, it will be returned to you in a safe condition for driving.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you understand how your car is repaired, what is being repaired, what is being replaced, and what to expect. You can ask about your technicians and their qualifications or experience, what they’re doing and why, and what your options are.

Get involved!

The first step in successful collision repair is knowing your rights. The next step is to get involved! When you’re choosing your repair shop, don’t be afraid to ask questions. A great repair shop will answer them and help you understand.

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The required car insurance depends on the state in which you live and register your vehicle. Most states require insurance, and those that don’t still holds drivers financially responsible for damaging property and people in the case of an accident.

What does minimum car insurance cover?

Again, insurance coverage is different in each state, so it’s important to check the insurance commissioner for requirements. The purpose of car insurance, especially required car insurance, is to ensure that medical costs and property damage can be paid in the case of an accident.

The minimum insurance required in each state usually includes at least one of the following four types of coverage. It’s common to require only the first two. Each state may require coverage only up to a certain amount, but after reaching that limit you’ll still be responsible to cover the rest of the costs.

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

Usually, this coverage is designed to protect the person or people in the other car in the case of an accident. That way if you injure someone while you’re driving, you’re not left with a hefty medical bill.

You can also add protection for yourself and your passengers, but in a different part of your policy.

Property Damage Liability Coverage

This coverage is meant to cover the cost of property damage caused in an accident. This might include a building or signpost, another car, or something else. It is not intended to protect your own vehicle or cover the cost of your own vehicle repairs.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Unlike bodily injury liability protection, which only covers others involved in the accident, PIP covers the cost of injury or death for you, your passengers, or any pedestrians involved in the accident.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

When you’re in an accident with another person whose insurance is meant to cover your costs, but they either don’t have insurance or the funds to cover it, or their insurance limits don’t cover your costs, this portion of your policy can step up and cover the difference so you aren’t stuck with the bill.


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There are certain topics that every car owner should know when having their vehicle repaired. Taking your car to the repair shop isn’t generally something people are familiar with (because hopefully it doesn’t happen all that often!) But, if you are in an accident, it’s important that you know your rights as a consumer.

These consumer rights can help you ensure that your car is repaired correctly, safely, quickly, and within your budget.
You have the right to choose your own repair shop.

In most cases, when your car is in an accident, you can choose the shop you want to repair it. Ask your friends, have a quick Google, and look for local shops!

You can ask your insurance company for suggestions but if they’re telling you that you only have a few options, don’t believe them. This is called steering and in most states, it’s illegal.

You have the right to choose your repair parts.

If parts of your car need to be replaced, you can have a say in which parts are used!

Usually, you can choose from three kinds of parts: OEM, non-OEM, or recycled parts. However, depending on your insurance policy, only certain kinds of parts may be covered. (This doesn’t mean that’s your only option!) Each kind of part has unique benefits and costs so if you’re not sure, ask your repair tech or do a little research.

In many states, if a shop is going to use anything other than OEM parts, they’ll need to notify you. To be proactive, ask your repair shop before the repair.

You have the right to a safely and correctly repaired car.

When you take your vehicle to be repaired, you are paying for a service and you can rightfully expect that your vehicle will be repaired correctly and when repairs are completed, it will be returned to you in a safe condition for driving.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you understand how your car is repaired, what is being repaired, what is being replaced, and what to expect. You can ask about your technicians and their qualifications or experience, what they’re doing and why, and what your options are.

Get involved!

The first step in successful collision repair is knowing your rights. The next step is to get involved! When you’re choosing your repair shop, don’t be afraid to ask questions. A great repair shop will answer them and help you understand.

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With more people on the roads in the summer, it’s no surprise that car accidents increase during the warmer months too. Summer brings other challenges to drivers too: more road construction, longer days with sleepier drivers, and more drunk driving.

Taking a few minutes to review summer driving safety tips can make a big difference in knowing what to look out for and how to stay safe on the road.

Take Care of your Car

Regular maintenance is important! Keeping your car in tip-top shape helps prevent big things from going wrong whether you’re on your way to the grocery store or driving across the country.

● Check your fluids, including oil, fuel, windshield wiper fluid, and brake fluid.
● Check your tire pressure.
● Check your lights, including headlights, brights, turn signals, and hazards.
● Make sure your windshield wiper blades are in good condition.

Load your car Thoughtfully

Always make sure that children and pets are buckled in tightly and not running around in the car. Not only can they be distracting to the driver if they’re not buckled up, but if you are in an accident, their safety could be at risk. Don’t forget entertainment, water, and healthy snacks for everyone!

When you load your belongings into the back, keep the following in mind:

● Don’t block the driver’s view – this can be dangerous, especially with heavy traffic.
● Distribute the weight evenly to make maneuvering the vehicle easier.
● If you don’t need it, don’t bring it! Extra weight can affect mileage and isn’t good for your car.
● Don’t forget about the roof, especially if you’re entering a parking garage or going under a low bridge!

Take Regular Driving Breaks

If you have more than one driver, take turns driving! Everyone tires of driving after a while, and when we’re fatigued, our reaction times slow and we’re risking the safety of us, our passengers, and others on the road.

Children and pets will likely appreciate a break too! Rest stops along major U.S. highways are perfect for picnics, food, bathroom breaks, and walking.

Anticipate an Accident and be Prepared

If you are in an accident, things will go smoother if you’re prepared. Have an emergency kit for breakdowns and accidents that includes the following:

● Flashlight,
● Water and nonperishable food,
● Spare tire,
● Phone charger,
● Flares, and
● Jumper cables.

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After you’ve been in an accident, you have a lot going on. The last thing you need when you’re worried about getting your car repaired quickly, safely, and affordably is a bunch of confusing car insurance terms to work through! Check out our guide to auto insurance words you might hear in a collision repair shop.

Act of God

When something out of human control or influence happens (that damages a vehicle) it’s called an Act of God. Things like forest fires, tornadoes and other storms, earthquakes, floods, or a volcanic eruption fall into this category. Acts of God are generally covered under comprehensive coverage, not collision or liability.

Additional Insured or Additional Interest

A person other than the main insured person who is also covered on an insurance policy is an additional insured. For example, if your car is leased, your leasing company is likely an additional insured on your policy.

Carrier

The insurance company, or insurance carrier, is the entity that issues an insurance policy. It’s called a carrier because it carries certain risks in lieu of the main insured person.

Claim

Any request or demand for the carrier to pay according to the insurance policy is called a claim. The person who makes the claim is the claimant.

Coverage

The benefits and protections that are named in an insurance policy constitute the coverage. Each portion of the policy is subject to the terms and conditions of that specific policy, so your coverage may not be the same as your neighbor’s even if you use the same carrier.

No Fault Insurance

Some states require insurance companies to pay losses of their policyholders that are covered in the claims without regard to fault in an accident. This doesn’t mean they have to pay for everything, it just means that the policy kicks in when a covered accident happens and not when fault is determined.

Comparative Negligence

This legal principle is applicable in certain states and means that even when a driver is partly at fault for an accident, they’re still able to make a partial claim. The negligence of each party is compared to that of the other party and the claim depends on the percentage of responsibility.

Contributory Negligence

This legal principle is applicable in certain states and means that a driver who is at fault, even a little bit, is not able to make a claim on their insurance policy.

Deductible

Insurance policies include a deductible, or a set fee that the covered party is responsible to pay toward damages before the insurance can be paid out.

Exclusions

An exclusion is something that is not covered under an insurance policy. It may be a certain event, person, property, situation, or something else. For example, it’s unlikely that damage caused by drag racing is covered under an auto insurance policy, even if an accident occurs.

Loss

This is the amount the insurance company pays out on any given claim.

Steering

If an insurer tries to get a vehicle owner to use a certain repair shop, it’s called steering. Steering is illegal in most states and vehicle owners have the right to choose their own repair shop.

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Your car has been to the collision shop, it’s been repaired, made to look new, and you’ve taken it home. If it had a new paint job, your body shop technicians were meticulous in ensuring that the new paint matched the old paint. Paint is tasked with protecting your car from rust, so it’s up to you to keep it in shape.

Look for Flaws

As with any repair, if you notice something isn’t right, say something as soon as possible. This goes for paint too! One of the hardest parts about painting a car after a repair is matching the original paint.

  • Look at the color on a bright sunny day.
  • Check up close and from a distance.
  • Look for hairs, dirt and overspray.
  • The paint should be smooth and even.

Take Extra Care for 30-60 Days

When your car was new, you were probably extra careful with it, protecting its shiny new paint and treating it with some fragility. After a major repair, this is a great way to treat fresh paint! It needs time to cure and harden before it can truly protect your car. While new cars have time in a protected environment before they’re sold, a fresh repair is back out on the road ASAP. Make sure to give your paint a little extra love and care.

The following are some everyday things that can damage your paint.

Dirt Roads & Construction Zones

Loose gravel and dirt is on the road, it’s unavoidable. If you can avoid dirt roads and major construction zones while your paint is fresh, it will go a long way in protecting your paint, which is vulnerable to chips and scrapes from flying debris.

Scraping or Chipping at Snow or Ice

In winter (or long-lasting spring), chipping away at snow and ice on your windshield is necessary. Make sure you’re not scraping it from the paint too!

Splattered Bugs

Splattered bugs on the windshield are an obvious annoyance, but thanks to the acidity of bug splatter (ew!) they’re also damaging to your paint and can become permanently etched into the surface.

Bird Droppings

As gross as it is go find bird poop on your car, the droppings can also be full of acidic berries, hard seeds, and other grainy bits that can dull and scratch the paint on your car.

Tree Sap

Parking under a tree leaves your car vulnerable to more than damage from animals, it might leave your car covered in sap! Sticky and full of chemicals that aren’t meant to interact with car paint, it’s best to find another shady spot to leave your car.

Sunlight

Sunlight can also damage your paint. The UV rays cause paint to dull and fade, just like they can damage your skin.

Commercial Car Washes

Keeping your car clean is an important part of protecting the paint! It’s best to hand-wash new paint in cool water with mild soap with a soft sponge or cloth. Don’t use chemicals, avoid dish or laundry detergent, and make sure your water is clean and not full of dust and pebbles. Avoid leaving it to dry in the sun.

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