The good wrecks
Nov 15, 12 | by: Bruce Smith
GREAT WRECK UPGRADES
How to make front-end collision damage work to your benefit; insurance companies help defray cost of performance upgrades
By Bruce W. Smith
Company owners and fleet mangers cringe when one of their heavy-duty diesel pickups comes into the shop on the bed of a rollback with the front bumper rolled up and fenders caved in.
Wrecks are nothing but lost revenue through vehicle downtime, paying the insurance deductible, and the potential bump in annual insurance rates.
Not good for small business or large.
But there’s a bright side to front-end collisions: It’s a great opportunity to add diesel performance upgrades because the insurance company pays for the installation labor and a healthy portion of the parts.
Usually when a company truck is in a big accident the insurance company is Johnny on the spot, working quickly to get the estimate of repairs handled with the auto body shop.
The list of replacement parts to bring the truck back to “pre-accident condition” is usually long and includes aftermarket or “refurbished” parts equivalent to OEM.
“Wrecks like this are typical of what I see every week, “says Warren Spears, the owner of Spears Auto Repair, in Long Beach, Mississippi.
“The insurance adjuster and I go over every inch of the vehicle to see what’s damaged. Then the adjuster will write it up, print out the parts list (with prices) and labor involved to fix it up. The owner pays the deductible and the insurance company covers the rest.”
Making The Best of a Bad Situation
Here’s the twist.
Instead of staying standingly idly by while the repair shop replaces damaged parts with “factory-like” parts sourced from the local GM dealer or auto parts repair outlets, have them install a few choice aftermarket specialty parts that will make your pickup run better–especialyl when towing.
Let’s say your wrecked truck is a 2009 Chevy Silverado 3500 dually with a damaged intercooler, air intake and other items subject to breakage during a front-end collision.
In this instance you’d probably pay less than $800 for the BD performance parts while the labor to install them is covered under the insurance.
That’s a potential savings of more than $1,800 had the upgrades been done when the truck was perfectly fine.
That’s because the insurance company is paying for all the installation labor – and more than half the cost of the high-end aftermarket parts.
Know Your Insurance Rights
According to Bill Davis, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute (www.iii.com), the vehicle owner has the right to select the source of parts (OEM, refurbished, salvage or aftermarket) used in the repairs as long as that’s how the insurance policy is written.