When a car is totaled or written off, it means that the cost of the damage exceeds the vehicle’s market value. If you have a comprehensive policy, the insurance company will pay the cash value of the car, minus deductibles, so you can purchase a new one.
A common question we hear is, “My airbags deployed during the accident. Will my car be totaled?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward. Airbag deployment doesn’t necessarily mean that your car will be totaled, but there are some cases where it might be. Here’s a look at what you should know.
Will My Car Be Considered a Total Loss?
Whether your car will be considered a total loss really depends on its value and the amount of damage it’s sustained. If you have a newer car or one that’s more expensive, there’s a better chance that you’ll be able to repair it. If you have an older car, however, it’s more likely it will be totaled. For example, if your car is worth $4,500 and it will cost $4,000 to repair it, your insurance company will likely consider it a total loss.
Airbags are essentially a “one-time use” part—after they deploy, they must be replaced. Replacements can be expensive, ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000 a piece, depending on your vehicle; this doesn’t include installation fees. If two airbags deploy during an accident, the costs can quickly add up. When you add on collision repair, it’s easy to see how an older vehicle with a lower value might end up being totaled.
Typically, insurance will cover airbag replacement if:
Your car isn’t totaled
You’re not at fault for the accident
You have collision insurance
If your car is totaled, your insurance provider will determine the replacement cost, then subtract the depreciation amount. Depreciation is figured out by looking at factors like the car’s mileage, wear and tear, dings on the doors, and faded paint.
Can I Appeal My Insurance Provider’s Decision?
If you don’t feel like your insurance provider’s decision on whether the car is totaled is correct, you can do your own research to determine its cash value and depreciation and ask them to reconsider. If you decide to do this, keep good notes on what you discover and be prepared to show proof of how you reached your conclusion. Or, you can get your car independently appraised.
Getting into an accident of any size is a hassle. However, safety should always be your top priority. If your vehicle isn’t totaled, it’s important to have your airbags replaced, along with the sensors, modules, and wiring. Whether you’ve been in an accident and the airbags deployed, or your airbag warning light is on, Cline Collision Center is here to help. We’ll assess the damage to your vehicle and work with your insurance company to coordinate the necessary repairs. Call us today at (707) 591-9909 to schedule an estimate appointment or book an appointment online.
If you get into an accident and need a rental car, will your car insurance cover the rental if it gets damaged? In most cases, your existing policy will apply to a rental car, so you likely won’t need to purchase additional coverage.
To help you decide whether your policy provides adequate coverage, here’s a look at the different types of protection rental companies offer in addition to what’s available from insurers, and the gap coverage you might need.
What Does My Personal Insurance Cover?
Most insurance policies for rental cars are identical or close to the coverage you’ll find on a regular car insurance policy—and most personal insurance policies translate to rental cars, too. For example, if you already have comprehensive insurance, including collision and liability, then you’ll already have the level of protection (up to the policy’s limits) that you’ll typically find at a rental car company.
Also, most homeowners or renters insurance will provide coverage for personal items stolen from your rental car. Before deciding to purchase additional coverage from a rental car company, check your existing insurance policies to see if supplemental insurance is actually needed.
Keep in mind that there may be some exclusions for each of these policies, which is why it’s always recommended to check your existing policies before declining coverage from the rental car company. Some policies may exclude certain types of vehicles, such as commercial vehicles, luxury vehicles, or business trip rentals.
Here’s a breakdown of how rental car company coverage compares with other types of coverage you may already have:
Rental Car Company Policies
Car Insurance Policies
Supplemental liability insurance
Bodily injury and property damage liability coverage
Collision damage waiver (CDW) and Loss damage waiver (LDW)
Comprehensive collision coverage
Personal accident insurance
Personal injury protection and health insurance
Personal effects coverage
Homeowners or rental insurance personal property coverage
Supplemental Liability Insurance vs. Personal Liability Insurance
Since liability for bodily injury and property damage is required in California, you should already have coverage. Car rental companies are also required to offer the state minimum coverage.
If you’re trying to decide whether to add on supplemental liability insurance, ask yourself the following questions:
Will I be driving more in an unfamiliar car?
Will I be driving on unfamiliar roads (if you’re using the rental on vacation, for example)?
In general, it’s recommended to have at least $25,000 of bodily liability insurance per person, as well as $50,000 of bodily liability per accident and $25,000 of property liability. This will ensure you’ll have enough coverage to cover the full costs if you get into a collision.
Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver vs. Comprehensive and Collision
Usually, this waiver can be declined if you already have personal collision and comprehensive coverage on your policy. However, you’ll want to make sure that the insurance limits can cover the actual cash value (ACV) of the rental car.
Luxury Vehicles – Collision or Loss Damage Waivers
Comprehensive and collision coverage is designed to cover the costs of repairing a car that’s comparable to your personal vehicle. This means that if you rent a more expensive vehicle, such as a luxury car, your policy may not cover the full repair costs of an accident.
With a collision or loss damage waiver, you won’t be held accountable for any damage to the rental car. It also eliminates the fee some rental companies charge for the time the vehicle is out of commission while it’s being repaired. Since collision and comprehensive policies often cover these costs, it’s best to check your policy before making a decision.
Personal Accident Insurance vs. Personal Injury Protection and Health Insurance
Personal Injury Protection and health insurance cover medical fees that might arise from an accident. If you already have no-fault or personal injury protection, medical payments, or good personal health insurance, you can feel comfortable declining the personal accident insurance offered by the rental company.
As an alternative, you can rely on your health insurance to cover any medical bills from an accident. However, since collision injuries could potentially amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, you’ll want to make sure you have adequate coverage available.
Personal Effects Coverage
Personal effects coverage will reimburse you if your personal items are stolen from your rental car. Most renters and homeowners insurance already cover personal items; if you have an existing policy, you can probably decline it.
Does My Insurance Cover Rental Cars?
Fortunately, most insurers include rental car coverage in their policies—but it’s best to check your policy or talk with an insurance agent to make sure you’re covered. Some of the biggest national insurers that offer rental car coverage include:
Credit Card Rental Insurance
Many major credit card companies also offer supplemental insurance coverage if you pay the full balance of the rental with your credit card. However, sometimes this insurance will only apply after your personal insurance plans are applied. There may be other restrictions, also, such as requiring you to decline a collision lost waiver.
Mastercard, for example, only provides coverage if the renter:
Declines the rental car collision loss waiver
The car is rented out for 15 days or less
All other insurance policies have been exhausted
Mastercard also excludes coverage for all trucks, full-size vans, and vintage vehicles, so make sure you understand your card’s benefits and exclusions.
When to Consider Rental Insurance
Even if you’re already covered by your regular insurance policy, there are some instances where you may want to purchase supplemental insurance. These include:
You have only liability insurance. In this case, it’s best to purchase a collision damage waiver (CDW). Although liability insurance will cover the damage to another vehicle, it won’t cover repairs for your rental car—which means you’d be responsible for covering the full repair costs and any loss-of-use fees, even if the other driver was responsible for the accident.
You have the minimum liability insurance coverage. If you have only basic liability coverage, you may want to consider purchasing supplemental liability insurance from the rental company to help cover the costs of damaging another vehicle or injuring its passengers. This will help cover any gaps in your personal liability insurance coverage.
Your personal insurance policy has a high deductible. If you have high deductibles on your personal auto insurance policies, you may want to consider a collision damage waiver. That way, if your rental car gets scratched, dinged, or otherwise damaged, you won’t be responsible for the repairs. Before purchasing a CDW, however, make sure it doesn’t come with a high deductible as well.
You’re an at-risk driver or you want to protect your existing insurance policy premiums. If you’re worried about your driving record or what a collision might do to your insurance premiums, you may want to purchase a CDW, liability, or personal accident insurance—especially if you’ve already had an at-fault claim within the past three years and don’t want your premium to increase. Successive claims within a three-year period can make premiums rise rapidly; in contrast, a supplemental insurance claim wouldn’t affect your personal insurance premium.
You have low limits on your existing collision or comprehensive plan. If your personal vehicle isn’t worth as much as your rental car, your collision and comprehensive policy may not provide enough coverage for your rental car. If your rental is more valuable than your personal vehicle, it’s recommended to purchase a CDW.
As you can see, whether you need supplemental insurance is dependent on several factors, including the type of coverage you have on your personal vehicle. As coverage needs can change over time, it’s always a good idea to review your existing insurance policy from time to time to make sure you have the protection you need.
At Cline Collision Center, we offer complete insurance coordination and can help you determine whether you might qualify for a free rental car, even if you don’t have rental car coverage in your policy. Contact us today at (707) 591-9909 or schedule a free estimate appointment online.
Have you ever heard that you’re supposed to warm up your engine before you start driving? Or that red cars are more expensive to insure? Most of us have heard similar auto tips, but as it turns out, many of them aren’t true. Some of these tips are outdated in relation to newer vehicles, while others have always been downright false. For the purpose of education (and fun!) here’s a look at 12 common car myths.
You Should Warm Up Your Engine Before Driving, Especially in the Winter Out of all car myths, this one is probably the most widespread. Although it does take time for an engine to warm up to its optimal temperature, letting it idle while it warms up is unnecessary. Technological advances in modern cars allow engines to warm themselves up as they drive; within seconds, a newer vehicle is ready to hit highway speeds. Some experts recommend you let your car idle for up to 30 seconds before you start driving—any longer, and you’re wasting fuel.
Red Cars Are More Expensive to Insure Approximately 44% of Americans believe red cars are more expensive to insure than any other color. Fortunately for red car owners, this isn’t the case. Insurance companies use several factors to calculate rates, including the make of the car, the driver’s age, and their insurance record—just to name a few. Car color, however, isn’t factored in.
All SUVs Perform Well Off-Road SUVs were originally designed to perform well on the road or off; in many ways, they were the mid-point between standard road-driving cars and off-road vehicles. That’s not the case with most SUVs today. As manufacturers stopped focusing on off-road capabilities and more on passenger comfort, the wheels became smaller and the cabins became outfitted with all kinds of gadgets and amenities. This isn’t to say that there aren’t any new SUVs that can go off-road, though; the Mercedes G class, for example, is rugged enough to brave sand, mud, or snow.
Convertibles Aren’t Safe in a Collision It makes sense to think that a vehicle without a roof would be less sound in an accident, but automakers have taken extra measures to ensure convertibles are just as safe as any hard-top vehicle. For example, convertibles have a stiffer chassis, reinforced pillars, and special roll hoops behind the seats to protect drivers in the event of a rollover. Some models even include an active roll bar system that’s automatically activated if the car flips.
Muscle Cars Can’t Corner Old-school American muscle cars used to be infamous for their poor handling, but thankfully, this is no longer the case. Newer muscle cars handle very well, regardless of whether they’re driving in a straight line or navigating a turn.
SUVs Are Safer Than Smaller Cars This myth has been circulating for years, and it’s easy to see why. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “a bigger, heavier vehicle provides better crash protection than a smaller, lighter one, assuming no other differences.” While this is true, SUVs have a higher center of gravity that makes them more likely to roll over—especially during a collision or when navigating a tight turn. They also need a longer braking distance than smaller cars. Fortunately, automakers continue to improve the safety features of SUVs.
Electric Cars Are More Likely to Catch on Fire Electric car fires have been featured on international news over the last couple of years, which has kept this myth alive. Even though a damaged lithium-ion battery can generate enough heat to start a fire, gasoline is more flammable and likely to cause a car fire.
It’s OK to Wash Your Car with Dish Soap Washing your car with dish soap may help you save money in the short term, but it’s abrasive. Over time, it can damage the paint and give the car a dull appearance; dish soap can also be tough on rubber components. Cars with paint damage should be repainted to prevent further damage to the body; rather than spending the money to repaint your vehicle it’s much more cost-effective to invest a little more in the proper car wash products!
Aluminum isn’t as Safe as Steel Steel and aluminum have different densities; if the same amount of aluminum was used to replace steel, it would make a car unsafe. However, automakers factor this in and use more aluminum to increase the thickness. An aluminum body is actually safer than a steel body because it absorbs more energy in a collision and provides bigger crush zones.
ABS Always Reduces Braking Distance This myth is true, in part. The anti-lock braking system (ABS) prevents your wheels from locking when you have to brake suddenly; this is to ensure you stay in control of the vehicle. However, it wasn’t designed to reduce braking distance. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that braking distance is 14% shorter in wet conditions for cars equipped with ABS versus vehicles without ABS. In dry conditions, the braking distance for both ABS-equipped and non-ABS vehicles is essentially the same.
You Don’t Need to Wear a Seat Belt if You Have Airbags This may sound silly, but some drivers really do believe they don’t need to wear a seat belt since they have airbags. Obviously, this isn’t the case! Airbags are designed to supplement the protection of seat belts—and their efficacy relies on the position that seat belts keep passengers in. If you’re not wearing a seat belt, there’s a good chance a collision could cause you to slide under the airbag or completely miss it when it deploys—which could lead to injuries from hitting the dashboard or even being ejected from your car.
4WD and AWD Vehicles Have a Shorter Braking Distance Than 2WD This is a common misconception, but a 4WD or AWD vehicle does not have a shorter braking distance than a 2WD. The braking distance is largely dependent on whether the vehicle is equipped with adequate tires.
Safety First: OEM Repairs Offer the Best Protection After a Collision
As you may have noticed, many of the most common car myths revolve around safety. At Cline Collision Center, we make safety the focus of every repair we perform. That’s why we’ve invested in OEM factory training and use only OEM parts on all repairs. Today’s vehicles are more complex than ever, with specialized parts and systems specifically designed for each make and model. Using an aftermarket part can mean the part doesn’t fit or function as it should, and in some cases, it can even cause an entire system to not work properly. This is especially crucial when it comes to ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) features, like Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Anti-lock Brakes, and Lane Departure Warning.
If you’ve been in an accident, OEM repairs offer the best protection for you and your family. They’re also the only way to truly restore your vehicle back to factory specifications. So, don’t settle for anything less! Give Cline Collision Center a call today at 707-591-9909 or request an appointment online.
Accidents happen. But these days, it’s taking a lot longer to get repairs.
From dealerships to collision repair, supply chain issues continue to affect the automotive industry. In some cases, it can take months to get parts, forcing many repair shops and parts distributors to find creative ways around the issue.
There are a few factors for this frustrating problem. First, there continues to be a labor shortage at both the plants and ports, leading to delays in production, as well as shipping. A significant amount of collision repair parts are manufactured in Taiwan, where many of the docks and ports are backed up. A larger issue is that auto suppliers have prioritized manufacturing parts for newer vehicles while slowing down production on aftermarket parts for older vehicles.
Since automakers’ focus is on getting production for new vehicles back up and running, it’s likely the issue won’t be getting better anytime soon. Over the past year, automakers have struggled to keep up with the demand for these parts because of the global shortage of microchips that are used in vehicles. These microchips are used to power everything from heated seats to infotainment systems.
Some collision repair shops have found ways around the supply chain issues by finding rebuilt and re-manufactured parts to help their customers back on the road quicker. Unfortunately, even these parts have started to become more difficult to find. Cline Collision Center remains committed to using only OEM parts, which in some cases may be even more scarce.
Another thing to keep in mind is that supply chain issues have led to price increases. The Consumer Price Index on motor vehicle parts rose 10% from November 2020 to November 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics.
It’s not clear exactly when these issues will be resolved. Some experts predict the microchip shortage should start to recover mid-2022; others say the parts shortage issue as a whole may last into 2023.
What Should You Do if You Need Collision Repair?
Understandably, this isn’t great news if you need repairs. However, depending on your make and model, you may still be able to get repairs for your car. The best thing to do is to contact us and see if we’re able to get in the parts you need before you schedule your repairs. If you haven’t been in a collision, stay alert and practice safe driving. No one ever wants to get into an accident, but with supply chain issues, repairs could take longer—especially if you have an older vehicle.
At Cline Collision Center, we realize how inconvenient it is to have to wait for your repairs. If you have questions or concerns about your auto body repairs or supply chain issues, we’re here to help! Give us a call at (707) 591-9909 or send us a message online.
Since the start of the pandemic, there’s been a significant increase in auto theft and break-ins. In 2020 alone, there were 880,595 vehicle thefts nationwide (approximately one vehicle stolen every 36 seconds), up from 794,019 in 2019. According to David Glawe, president and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), there are several reasons for this uptick: the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, the realignment of law enforcement, and depleted social programs—but the most significant factor is owner complacency.
Although it’s not possible to prevent all car thefts and break-ins, there are several easy steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim. Here are some proactive tips to help you avoid auto theft in Santa Rosa Ca and beyond.
Keep Your Vehicle Secure
Whenever you’re not in your vehicle—whether it’s in your driveway or at the store, you should always make sure it’s secure. Roll up your windows, close your sunroof, lock your doors, and take the keys or key fob with you. Thieves are often on the lookout for vehicles that have easy entry, so they can strike quickly and keep a low profile. If a would-be thief can’t quickly gain entry to your car, there’s a good chance they’ll just move on. Some people keep a spare key in their glove box, but many thieves know to look there; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends taking all keys with you when you leave your car. Even though it’s a pain to get locked out of your vehicle, it’s less of a hassle than having your car stolen!
Park in Well-Lit Areas Near Security Cameras
Be cautious about where you’re parking your car. Whenever possible, it’s best to park in a secure garage that doesn’t have public access, such as your own garage or a company garage that requires a fob to access. If you have to park outside, park in well-lit areas to deter thieves. If you see a security camera nearby, try to park in its view; sometimes, just the idea of being caught on camera can be enough to make thieves decide to move on.
Always Hide Your Valuables
Although it seems like common sense, many people have their cars broken into because they left valuables in plain sight while running errands, pumping gas, or even parking in their driveways. If it’s not something you need, leave it at home. Valuables like cell phones, wallets, purses, shopping bags, backpacks, luggage, laptop bags, gifts, and portable media players should always be taken with you or locked inside the glove compartment, center console, or trunk. If you have a cargo area in your truck or SUV, you may also want to consider using a cargo cover.
If Your Car is Running, Don’t Leave It Unattended
Leaving your car running and unattended puts your car at greater risk of theft. Car thieves will often keep an eye out for unattended vehicles at places where drivers think they’ll only be gone for a moment, like gas stations, post offices, and convenience stores—or even warming up their car in the driveway. When you’re not driving, turn off the engine and make sure your vehicle is secure, even if you’re making a quick stop.
Use a Car Alarm or Other Anti-Theft Devices
These days, many new models come with a built-in alarm system that’s triggered by someone opening the car door or attempting to run the car while the alarm is activated. Since most thieves like to stay as low-profile as possible, the sound of the alarm can be an excellent deterrent. If your car doesn’t have an alarm, consider having an aftermarket alarm installed. Visible anti-theft devices, like steering wheel locks, VIN number window etching, or the alarm system’s flashing light, may also deter thieves looking for a quick and easy target.
Consider a Vehicle Immobilizer
Most cars manufactured in the last 20 years have a built-in car immobilizer system, which prevents thieves from being able to hot-wire a vehicle. You can find out if your car has an immobilizer by checking your owner’s manual—or you can visit your regular mechanic and they should be able to tell you. If you don’t have an immobilizer, consider installing one.
Install a Tracking System
While a tracking system won’t prevent theft, it can help you recover your stolen car faster. Tracking system devices are often GPS and cellular-based, and you can generally access the information on your smartphone. As a bonus, a tracking system can also help you find your car easier in the parking lot!
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
When parking your car, always be aware of your surroundings. If you see anything suspicious, such as a person who looks like they’re casing vehicles, don’t park your car there. Walk with your head up and make eye contact with people around you. Thieves often target people who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings or are looking down. Always have your keys ready to enter your vehicle.
Avoid Purchasing Commonly Stolen Vehicles
Each year, the NICB releases its “Hot Wheels” list featuring the 10 most commonly stolen vehicles in America. If you’re considering a new car purchase in the future, you may want to review the list and avoid purchasing one of the commonly stolen models. Some vehicles that are less likely to be targeted are domestic sedans, minivans, and other sensible vehicles. High-performance vehicles, full-size Ford or Chevy pickup trucks, and common foreign sedans, like the Honda Civic, are more likely to be targeted.
Keep Your Investment Protected
For many people, their car is among the biggest investments they’ll make. By being proactive, you can help protect your investment. Although thieves can be tenacious, they’re often on the lookout for a vehicle they can steal or break into quickly—so don’t make it easy for them!
Whether you’ve had your car windows broken by a thief or smashed in a collision, Cline Collision Center is here to help. From high-quality OEM repairs to complete insurance coordination, we make the repair process as smooth as possible. Call us today at (707) 591-9909 or book an appointment online.
Your car’s paint is one of the most important factors in determining its value. Although vehicle paint is designed brave the elements, the sun’s UV harsh rays can affect the pigment over time, causing it to break down and oxidize. This can leave the paint visibly dull and rough—and in more extreme cases, it may even flake off in patches. Different colors of paint are also more susceptible to sun damage than others, such as black, dark blue, and dark greys, but the fading in brighter colors is often just as noticeable.
The good news is that faded paint can often be restored, depending on the severity of the damage and your vehicle’s overall condition. There are also several things you can do to prevent UV damage and keep your paint looking its best for many years.
Wash Your Car Often
Dirt and grime on the surface of the paint can oxidize in the sun and speed up fading. To prevent this, keep your car as clean as possible by washing it regularly. Make sure you’re washing it in the shade, and use only soft washcloths and gentle cleaners designed for vehicles. While washing your car, use gentle strokes to remove the accumulated grime. If you have any areas that are tough to clean, like bird droppings or bugs, you can use a salt-free seltzer to remove them. Once you’re done, rinse your car thoroughly to get rid of any chemical residues.
Your wash schedule may vary depending on your driving habits, but in general, it’s recommended to wash your car weekly if it spends more than five days a week in the sun. It’s also a good idea to wash your car after it rains to remove mineral deposits, road grime, and pollutants.
Hand Dry Your Car
After you’re finished washing your car, hand-dry the exterior using a soft, absorbent cloth. This will help to remove any chemical residues that may cause your paint to fade faster.
Wax Your Car
Waxing is an excellent way to add a protective layer to your vehicle’s paint and give it a beautiful shine. You can think of it a bit like sunscreen for your car. Wax protects against UV rays and prevents the paint from collecting dirt and debris.
There are different formulas of wax to choose from, and each has a slightly different process in how they’re applied. For example, you can use pastes, liquids, sprays, and wipe on/wipe off waxes. Regardless of the type you choose, make sure to follow the directions closely. Waxing your car every three months or so will help increase the longevity of your paint, but don’t overdo it! This can cause a buildup on the paint’s surface.
Use a Car Cover
Parking your car in the garage is an ideal way to keep your paint protected. If you don’t have a garage, though, consider investing in a high-quality car cover. This won’t completely block the sun’s UV rays, but it will significantly reduce the impact on your vehicle’s paint.
However, make sure you’re not covering your vehicle when it’s wet or using a wet cover. This can cause mold to grow on the exterior if the moisture gets trapped inside for too long. It’s also a good idea to take the cover off for a few minutes each day to give your vehicle the chance to “breathe”.
Park in the Shade When You Can
It’s difficult to avoid the sun when you’re out and about, but parking in the shade as much as possible will go a long way in keeping your paint protected. Find areas of covered parking, like parking garages or carports, or park under trees if covered parking isn’t available. If you do park under a tree, keep an eye out for bird droppings or sap. Clean them off as soon as possible, as they can damage your paint.
Damaged Paint? Visit Cline Collision Center!
Whether you have a practical daily commuter or a luxury vehicle, these easy tips will help you keep your factory finish in excellent shape. A pristine paint job isn’t just about maintaining your cat’s value and aesthetics, either—it also helps protect the metal body from structural problems and corrosion that could affect your vehicle’s safety in a collision.
Have you ever heard that your car will be totaled if your airbags deploy during a collision? Fortunately, this is a bit of a misconception. While it’s true an accident that causes the airbag to go off will often result in damage that renders the car a total loss, this isn’t always the case. Here’s a closer look at why airbags can total a car and what you can expect from the repair process.
What Does It Mean When a Vehicle is Totaled?
Many people think a car is totaled if the cost of repairs is more than what the vehicle is worth. In general, this is true. To be more exact, the typical guideline is that a vehicle is totaled if the cost of repairs is more than 70% of its value. For example, if your vehicle has a cash value of $5,000, it would be considered totaled once the repair threshold reached $3,500 or more.
We consider several factors when determining whether your car is repairable or a total loss. Likewise, insurance companies and claims adjusters have their own procedures and requirements to take into account. To determine the cost of repairs, everything (including parts, materials, paint, and labor) needs to be factored in, including the cost of airbag replacement. Even though the cost of the replacement airbag likely won’t make your car a total loss, it can significantly increase the total repair cost—which could push your vehicle closer to being considered totaled, especially if you have an older vehicle.
Typically, insurance will cover airbag replacement if:
Your car isn’t totaled
You’re not at fault for the accident
You have collision insurance, which pays for collision damage regardless of who’s at fault
Will I Have to Replace My Airbags After an Accident?
If you were involved in an accident, the airbag sensors were likely triggered, and the airbags may have inflated. Depending on the model of your vehicle, you may only need to have your airbags and the airbag sensor reset. In other cases, you may need a complete replacement. If your airbags need to be replaced, it’s best to have this done as soon as possible; if you’re involved in another accident in the future and you don’t have functional airbags, you risk severe injury or even death.
The Process for Resetting or Repairing Airbags
Here’s an overview of the steps needed to get your airbags repaired and functioning again:
Resetting the airbag warning light The airbag sensors can be triggered even if the airbags didn’t deploy. Most cars have a warning light that indicates there’s an issue with the airbags; if the light is on, or your airbags went off, you’ll need to have the airbag sensor reset, otherwise the airbags won’t inflate correctly if you get into another accident.
Resetting the airbags In some models, the airbags can simply be reset after they’ve deployed, as long as they’re not damaged. Resetting the airbags involves putting the airbags back into the airbag module and then resetting the airbag light. However, many newer vehicles don’t allow for the airbags to be reset; your only option is replacement.
Airbag replacement If the airbags were damaged or the vehicle doesn’t allow them to be reset, you’ll need to have them replaced. This involves removing the entire airbag module and replacing it with a new one. If the airbag was in your steering wheel, you may also need to replace the entire wheel and steering column. Once everything has been installed, the airbag sensor will need to be reset.
After an Accident, Call Cline Collision Center
Getting into an accident is a hassle, even when the damage is minor—but safety should always be your top priority. If the vehicle hasn’t been totaled, it’s well worth it to get your airbags reset or replaced, even if it seems unnecessary.
If you’ve been in an accident and the airbags deployed, or your airbag warning light is on, call Cline Collision Center. We can assess the damage to your vehicle, as well as whether you’ll need to have your airbags reset or replaced. Call us today at (707) 591-9909 to schedule an estimate appointment, or use our convenient online scheduling.
At Cline Collision Center, we like to make things as easy as possible for our clients. After an accident, the last thing you need is more stress when handling your repairs! That’s why we offer easy estimate appointments, complete insurance coordination, and a repair status tool on our website. We’ll also help you determine if you might qualify for a free rental car, even if you don’t have rental car coverage in your policy. Beyond providing top-quality OEM repairs, we want the entire experience to be hassle-free.
AAA Insurance Aligns with Our Commitment to Hassle-Free Repairs
This is also why we enjoy working with AAA insurance when coordinating repairs. They have an easy claims process compared to other insurance companies, and they usually don’t question our expertise when discussing what’s needed for repairs. In short, they tend to do what they can to make your collision repair as simple as possible.
Beyond the standard auto insurance coverage, they also have some additional coverage options and benefits that can be very helpful, like:
Gap insurance to cover the difference in cost between a car’s replacement cost and the amount remaining on your lease or loan.
Rental car reimbursement, which covers the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.
Rental car coverage, which covers you if you get into an accident in a rental car.
Nonowner’s insurance, which provides liability coverage for those who drive other people’s cars but don’t have their own.
Pet coverage, which pays for the cost of a pet’s medical care if they’re injured in an accident.
Accident forgiveness, which keeps an accident from increasing your premium if you have a history of being an otherwise safe driver.
All Insurance is Welcome
Despite the ease of working with AAA, we’re happy to work with all insurance companies to help you get the repairs you need! However, if you’re shopping around for a new provider, we can say that we’ve had a great experience with AAA.
Regardless of which insurance provider you have, it’s always a good idea to take a look at your policy from time to time to make sure you have the right coverage. After all, your needs can change, so it’s always best to be prepared with the right coverage for your driving habits and lifestyle.
Driving in the rain, whether a light sprinkle or a heavy downpour, is one of the most challenging conditions drivers face. Rain affects visibility, friction on the pavement, vehicle performance, and reaction times. Heavy downpours can make it difficult to see ahead of your vehicle, which can be especially dangerous. Rain also tends to slow traffic, which can lead to backups or stop-and-go traffic that increases the risk of rear-end collisions. Fortunately, if you understand how rain affects all these factors, you can take steps to protect yourself and others on the road.
Here are some simple tips to keep you and your loved ones safe this rainy season:
Prepare Your Vehicle Ready for Rainy Weather
It’s always recommended to get your vehicle ready for the rainy season before it begins to ensure everything is in proper working order. You should:
Inspect and replace your windshield wiper blades. Good visibility is one of the most critical factors for driving safely; when your blades are worn, they can smear water across your windshield, rather than clear it. This can distort your vision and make it more difficult to see obstacles while driving. Check your windshield wiper blades for signs of wear and damage, and replace them if needed. If they look ok, you can also test them to see how well they work. If the blades are causing streaks or they aren’t clearing the water away in one swipe, it’s time to replace them.
Check all lights and turn signals to make sure they’re working. Not only will your lights help your own visibility, but they’ll make your vehicle visible to other drivers. They’ll also warn other drivers if you’re slowing down or making a turn.
Check your tire pressure and tread. A good amount of tread and proper tire pressure will give your tires better traction and help them grip the road. When your tread is low, your tires have more difficulty resisting hydroplaning, which is when your tires ride on the surface of standing water rather than the road. This can be very dangerous – and contrary to what many drivers believe, it can happen even when the roads are slightly damp. If your tires have low tread, they should be replaced.
Check your brakes. If your brakes have been squealing, grinding, or vibrating when you push the pedal down, it’s a good idea to have them serviced before wet weather hits. Brake issues can make it more difficult to stop, even in dry conditions, but they can be even more hazardous in the rain.
Whether you’re caught in a rainstorm or just a drizzle, it helps to drive slowly. This is because it takes longer to slow down and come to a complete stop when the roads are wet. In addition, the faster you drive, the harder it is for your tire tread to displace the water from your tires. Driving slowly helps reduce the risk of hydroplaning, plus it gives you more time to react to any hazards or obstacles you might encounter. A good rule to follow is to reduce your driving speed by about 1/3 in wet conditions.
Turn on Your Lights
Even if it’s relatively bright outside, turning on your headlights will make your vehicle more visible to other drivers. Having your lights on during adverse weather is also required by California law, so make sure to flick them on when it’s raining, even if you have good visibility.
Know Your Route
Checking maps or adjusting your route while you’re driving can be distracting and increase the risk of getting into an accident. Knowing your route ahead of time is much safer—and less stressful!
Double Your Following Distance
The more distance you leave between your vehicle and the car in front of you, the more time you have to react. Driving distance is important in all weather conditions, but it can make a significant difference in wet weather when stopping distances are longer. The recommended distance while driving in the rain is six seconds, or double what you would normally allow for on a dry, sunny day.
Follow the Path of the Car Ahead of You
When driving behind another car, try to follow its path. The tracks its tires make on the road have already been cleared of some of the water, so you’ll have better traction and a reduced risk of hydroplaning.
Keep Your Windows Clear
Fogged-up windows can reduce visibility just as much as the heaviest downpour, so make sure you’re using your defroster or air conditioning to reduce any fog that builds up. If you find your defroster isn’t working as well as you like, you can also roll down your windows, which will help to balance out the temperature difference.
Keep an Eye on Brake Lights
A good rule of thumb for all driving conditions is to keep an eye on the brake lights in front of you, especially if you can see a few cars ahead. This can alert you to quick slowdowns and give you plenty of time to decelerate if you need to.
Be Cautious Around Pooled Water
If you can’t tell how deep pooled water in the road is, be sure to approach it with caution. Drive through it slowly so you can assess how deep it is. If the puddle is deep enough, it can damage your vehicle’s electrical components and may cause a breakdown.
Be Cautious While Braking
One common reason vehicles collide in rainy weather is drivers slamming on their brakes. Wet roads can cause cars to slide forward—often into the rear end of another car, so make sure you’re braking gently and early. This will prevent you from skidding ahead, and it will alert the driver behind you that traffic is slowing down.
Wait It Out
The first 15 minutes of rain is typically the most dangerous time to drive. This is because the water mixes with oil on the road, making conditions extra slick. After about 15 minutes, the oil starts to get rinsed away. If you’re already en route when it starts to rain and you have the time, you may want to consider stopping for 15 minutes or so before you start driving again. If you haven’t left yet (and it works with your schedule) consider waiting for about 15 minutes or so before heading out.
Go Slow, Be Alert, Stay Safe
No one wants to be involved in an accident. However, staying safe in rainy conditions is easier when you keep your speed low, stay alert to road and traffic conditions, and make an effort to drive safely. Keep plenty of room between you and the car in front of you, and make sure you’re doing what you can to keep your visibility as high as possible.
We hope you never get into an accident, but if you do, we can help! From high-quality OEM repairs to complete insurance coordination, we make your repairs as convenient and stress-free as possible. Contact Cline Collision Center today at (707) 591-9909 or request an appointment online. Stay safe out there!
When you need auto body repairs, you’ll have different options depending on the parts you need and the shop you visit. Typically, you’ll have a choice between original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts and aftermarket parts. Is one better than the other? Here’s a look at how these two types of parts differ and how you can make the best decision for your vehicle.
What are OEM and Aftermarket Parts?
OEM parts are made by your vehicle’s manufacturer. This means they match the exact parts that came with your car and are of the same quality. OEM parts are designed specifically for your exact make and model by the people who know it best. In terms of cost, OEM is the most expensive choice.
Aftermarket parts are made by other manufacturers (not automakers) and are often designed to fit more than one kind of vehicle. In some cases, parts may need to be modified to fit a vehicle properly. Since they’re a more universal part, they tend to be cheaper in quality and price.
Choosing Between Aftermarket and OEM Parts
Depending on the auto body shop you choose and the nature of your repairs, you may have a choice between OEM and aftermarket parts.
Although some aftermarket parts may be alright for auto body repairs, others won’t be as good as there tends to be a lot of variation in the quality of the parts. Many aftermarket parts don’t have the same level of rustproofing as OEM, for example, or they have other quality issues. The fit and finish may not match your vehicle, or the panels may not align properly.
In contrast, OEM parts ensure your vehicle looks and functions exactly as it did before the accident. Everything will be aligned properly, fit properly, and match the rest of your vehicle. OEM parts also have the benefit of being crash-tested, unlike many aftermarket parts.
Another important consideration is that aftermarket parts can interfere with ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) safety features. ADAS controls a variety of features like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, and more. These systems use a series of sensitive sensors and video cameras, which are designed to work with the original parts that came with your vehicle. An ill-fitting part could potentially lead to a blocked sensor or other issues that could prevent the ADAS system from working as it should.
Since aftermarket parts are cheaper, many insurance companies will push for drivers and shops to use them. If you’re set on OEM, however, you can ask to pay the difference.
Depending on the age of the vehicle, you may also have the option of used parts. Used parts usually come from a salvage yard and they can be significantly cheaper than OEM or aftermarket. The issue with used parts is that they may come with wear and tear, so it’s important that they’re inspected and warrantied.
Ultimately, your decision will depend on your budget and the level of quality you’re looking for in a repair. Regardless of whether you choose OEM, aftermarket, or even a used part, it’s best to get parts that come with a warranty, on the off chance that they fail.
Where Can I Get OEM Repairs?
Here at Cline Collision Center, we use OEM parts exclusively because we feel these offer the highest-quality repairs and are ultimately the safest parts for your vehicle. We also hold OEM certifications for Nissan, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, Honda, Acura, Ford, Hyundai, Infiniti, and Kia. This means we’ve not only been acknowledged to use only factory-approved parts, but that our facility has the correct equipment for these makes and uses only factory-approved repair procedures.
In addition, our technicians carry the highest level of training, including certification through Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (II-CAR), the gold standard of auto body certifications!