Know Your Rights: Choosing a Body Shop for Collision Repairs in California

Know Your Rights: Choosing a Body Shop for Collision Repairs in California

After getting in an accident, it’s not unusual for insurance companies to push you toward using their preferred body shops. Fortunately, as a consumer in California, you have the legal right to choose any body shop you want to handle your repairs. At Cline Collision Center, we understand the importance of these rights and go above and beyond to ensure you choose our shop with confidence. We work collaboratively with all insurance companies, including yours. 

Here’s a closer look at the consumer rights you hold in California regarding auto body repairs, so you can make the most informed decisions about where to take your vehicle. 

Understanding the California Motorists Bill of Rights

The California Motorists Bill of Rights outlines crucial rights and regulations for consumers who are doing business with an auto body repair facility. Here are some key provisions of the bill:

  • Right to Choose the Repair Facility: In California, you have the right to choose the repair facility of your choice, unless your insurance policy specifies otherwise. This allows you to select a reputable body shop that meets your needs and preferences.
  • Notification to Insurance Company: It’s important to notify your insurance company before proceeding with repairs. Insurance policies typically state that you must file a sworn proof of loss, present the damaged property, and submit it to examination under oath.
  • Obtaining Repair Estimates: Contrary to popular belief, you’re not obligated to contact multiple shops for repair estimates. California law mandates that you receive a written estimate from the shop of your choice before the repairs are performed.
  • Responsibility for Repair Costs: As the vehicle’s owner, you’re generally responsible for paying the repair costs directly to the chosen repair facility, unless otherwise specified by your insurance policy. Although your insurance company may cover the loss, deductibles or depreciation may be subtracted. For this reason, it’s crucial to understand the terms and conditions of your policy.
  • Repair Facility Accountability: The Automobile Repair Act of 1971 establishes that all repair dealers in California must be registered with the state, display a sign, and adhere to specific standards. If a repair facility fails to follow these regulations, it can lose its license to operate. The act also includes provisions related to providing accurate information, stating requested repairs in work orders, offering copies of signed documents, and maintaining trade standards.

Click here to read the Auto Body Repair Consumer Bill of Rights. 

Recourse for Consumer Disputes

Knowing where to seek recourse in case of difficulties or disputes is essential. Here are two avenues available to you:

  1. Consulting with Insurance Company: If you experience issues with your insurance company, it’s recommended you consult with your insurance agent or broker first. They may be able to provide guidance and address your concerns.
  • Department of Insurance: If the issue wasn’t resolved, you can reach out to the Department of Insurance, State of California by calling their toll-free line at 1-800-927-4357. The Department of Insurance ensures fair practices and can assist you in resolving disputes with your insurer.

Additional Rights and Considerations:

In addition to the rights discussed above, it’s important to be aware of the following:

  • Freedom to Choose a Repair Shop: Insurance companies cannot require, direct, suggest, or recommend a specific repair shop unless you expressly request it in writing. If an insurer elects a particular repair shop, they must ensure the vehicle is restored to its pre-loss condition at no additional cost to you, as stated in the policy or allowed by law.
  • Use of Non-OEM Replacement Parts: Insurers cannot require the use of non-original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement crash parts for repairs unless the parts are of equal quality, safety, fit, and performance as OEM parts. If non-OEM parts are specified, insurers must cover any necessary modifications and provide warranties equivalent to those of OEM parts.

Choose a Collision Repair Facility That Respects Your Rights

When it comes to auto body repairs in California, knowing and exercising your consumer rights is crucial. By law, you have the freedom to choose any auto body shop for your repairs. 

At Cline Collision Center, we’re dedicated to delivering high-quality auto body repair and refinishing services while prioritizing your safety and satisfaction. Our team upholds a strong code of ethics, emphasizing integrity, honesty, safety, and craftsmanship. We genuinely care about your experience and stand behind all our repairs for as long as you own your vehicle. Whether you need extensive collision damage repair or a minor fix, we’re here to assist you. 

For questions or concerns about your vehicle, or to schedule an appointment contact us today at (707) 591-9909

What You Should Know About Diminished Value Claims

What You Should Know About
Diminished Value Claims


Getting into an accident can be expensive, in more ways than one. Beyond the damage to your car, you may also need to pay for medical care or take time off work. In addition, collision damage also impacts your vehicle’s value, even after it’s been repaired. 

The good news is that auto insurance providers offer a variety of policies designed to cover the different types of losses you might encounter after an accident, including diminished value claims. These claims specifically address the decline in market value your car can suffer after being involved in an accident. 

What Are Diminished Value Claims?

With vehicle collisions, one driver will typically be considered at fault. In California, drivers are allowed to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to compensate for the diminished market value caused by the car accident.

Instead of covering the total value of the vehicle, diminished value claims cover a percentage of the car’s value. Typically, insurance companies limit such claims to 10% of the vehicle’s pre-accident appraised value. Therefore, the maximum payout you can expect to receive from this type of claim is 10% of your car’s value. However, insurers will adjust this percentage based on your vehicle’s mileage before the accident and how much damage it sustained. That means that even if your car has decreased in value by thousands of dollars, you may only receive a few hundred dollars. 

Essentially, these claims are a means of providing additional compensation to drivers who weren’t responsible for an accident but whose vehicles sustained damage. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will usually pay for the repair or make an offer to fix the not-at-fault driver’s damaged vehicle. 

If the not-at-fault driver believes the vehicle’s value will significantly depreciate after it’s repaired, they can file a diminished value claim to offset the cost of the loss. 

Understanding the 3 Types of Diminished Value Claims

In general, a car loses value in two ways after an accident. First, simply having a record of an accident on the car’s history decreases its value, regardless of the extent of the damage. Secondly, the quality of the repairs and replacement parts can decrease the value. 

Diminished value claims can be categorized into three types, depending on the timing and value of the collision repairs:

  • Immediate diminished value claim: applies to cars that haven’t been repaired yet. This type of claim considers the loss of value from the accident and the need for repairs. 
  • Inherent diminished value claim: made after repairs have been completed and focuses on the decrease in value due to the accident alone. Even if a car appears to be in better condition after the repairs, this type of claim can still award compensation for its inherent diminished value. 
  • Repair-related diminished value claim: compensates for the decrease in value resulting from the parts and repair methods used. For example, a car that’s repaired using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts is more valuable than one repaired using aftermarket parts. 

When Can You File a Diminished Value Claim? 

Certain conditions must be met to file a diminished value claim:

  • You must be deemed not at fault for the accident.
  • The other driver involved in the accident must have insurance. 
  • Your car must have had value before the accident. 
  • You must reside in a state that recognizes diminished value claims.

When insurance companies assign value to a car, they take several factors into account, including:

  • Mileage
  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Special features
  • Pre-accident condition

A 20-year-old car with 300,000 miles and missing parts before the accident is unlikely to qualify for a diminished value claim. In contrast, a car with only 8,000 miles in like-new condition before the accident is more likely to receive compensation through a diminished value claim.

Get a free estimate for the diminished value of your vehicle here

Filing a Claim

To file a diminished value claim, you’ll need to submit it to the at-fault driver’s insurance company; check their policies for submitting a claim. The insurance company will ask for specific information, such as a police report determining fault, pictures of the damage, and bills or estimates for repair. You may also need to get an appraisal to determine your car’s value.

If an insurance claim has already compensated you for necessary repairs, filing a diminished value claim can be cost-prohibitive, as the expense of gathering evidence may exceed the final payout. Nevertheless, diminished value claims can provide a safety net if you stand to lose a significant amount of your car’s value, even after repairs.

After an accident, it’s important to understand all of your options for recouping your losses, including diminished value claims. At Cline Collision Center, we understand the importance of OEM repairs and how they can impact the value of your vehicle. Our experienced team has completed training on OEM repair procedures and uses OEM parts to protect your car’s value and ensure its fully restored to its pre-accident condition. If you need repairs or have questions about filing a diminished value claim, contact us today at (707) 591-9909. 

How Does the Paint Job On Your Car Affect its Value?

How Does the Paint Job On Your Car
Affect its Value?


When selling your car, there are several factors that help determine its resale value. Although the make, model, and accident history are essential, the paint’s color and quality can also significantly affect how much someone is willing to pay for your vehicle. Here’s what you should know if you’re planning on selling your car.

How Does Paint Color Affect Resale Value?

According to a study of over 650,000 pre-owned car sales conducted by, common paint colors like white, black, beige, and silver don’t add to a car’s resale value; and in fact, beige may actually depreciate a car’s value at a faster rate than other colors.

On the other hand, less common colors don’t tend to depreciate as much. Yellow cars were found to depreciate at an average of 4.5% over a three-year ownership period, which is 70% less than vehicles painted in neutral colors. However, there are also other factors that come into play in determining resale value:

  • Type of vehicle: Neutral shades tend to have greater demand when it comes to more practical vehicles, like sedans, trucks, and SUVs. In contrast, muscle cars and convertibles in bright, unusual colors tend to have higher resale values. 
  • Production: The colors of vehicles produced can significantly impact their demand and popularity. A particular model might be manufactured in large numbers, but the availability of specific shades may vary. Rarer colors can attain collector status because they’re not widely available or stocked at all dealerships.  
  • Popularity: Just because a color is unusual doesn’t mean it will help a car’s resale value! Certain shades have decreased in popularity over time. According to iSee, brown, purple, and gold cars are less likely to retain their value than red, blue, green, yellow, or orange cars. 
  • Location: Resale value can vary depending on where a vehicle is sold and the trends in that region. Dealerships in one part of the country may experience higher demand for certain colors than others. For example, in warmer climates, white cars are favored (despite experiencing more depreciation) because they tend to stay cooler and hide scratches better. 

How Does Paint Quality Affect Resale Value?

Unsurprisingly, the quality of a car’s paint can affect resale value by a couple thousand dollars. It makes sense—car paint, beyond being aesthetically pleasing, is designed to protect the metal below from rust and other types of corrosion. The following factors can cause a car to have a lower resale value:

  • The vehicle wasn’t washed regularly
  • Scratches, dings, and swirls on the surface of the paint
  • Dings and scratches that have resulted in superficial rust
  • The car wasn’t detailed before putting it up for sale
  • Bumper stickers or other decorative additions to the exterior

Get Your Car Resale-Ready

If you’re thinking about selling your car, it’s a good idea to take a critical look at the paint. Whether you’d like to touch up a few spots or completely repaint your vehicle, Cline Collision Center is here to help! We offer flawless paint matching and painting services that will have your vehicle looking brand new in no time. Call us today at 707-591-9909 to get a free estimate or schedule an appointment. 

Getting Your Car Ready for a Spring Road Trip

Car on asphalt road in summer

Spring is nearly here, which means better weather and more opportunities to take road trips! However, before you hit the road, make sure your trip will be smooth and hassle-free. One of the best ways to do this is to perform a vehicle check-up and some basic maintenance before you leave. A little foresight and preventive care can go a long way in avoiding issues that can disrupt your plans!

These six tips will help you have a safe trip without any unwanted excitement—like breakdowns or accidents.

  1. Check Your Battery
    Your battery should be in good condition and able to hold a full charge while you’re on the road. If you have a battery tester at home, check the charge, or schedule a battery test at your mechanic or an auto parts store.
  1. Check Your Tire Tread and Air Pressure
    Flat tires and blowouts are two of the most common reasons for breakdowns on road trips. Before leaving, check the depth of your tire tread. For good traction, they should have at least 3/4 inch of tread. Use a tire pressure gauge to check your tire pressure; if it’s low, fill your tires to the recommended level listed near your driver’s side door. It’s also a good idea to make sure your spare tire is in good condition.
  1. Check Your Vehicle’s Fluid Levels
    Make sure all your automotive fluids are filled and in top condition. This includes the oil, coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and windshield wiper fluid. If any of them are low, top them off. If your car is due for an oil change, radiator flush, or other fluid exchanges, have these performed before you leave on your trip. Keep an eye out for leaks or signs of old, degraded fluid (such as dark brown or black oil) and schedule repairs or service as needed.
  1. Check Your Brakes
    It probably goes without saying, but faulty brakes are dangerous—especially on longer trips. If you’ve noticed unusual noises while braking, a spongey brake pedal, or that your brakes aren’t as responsive as normal, have them inspected before your trip.
  1. Check Your Electrical Equipment
    Sometimes the less thought-of features on your vehicle can lead to problems on the road. Your electrical equipment, like your lights, windshield wipers, windows, turn signals, and GPS or other connected devices should all be working properly. If any of these are having issues, have them professionally inspected.
  1. Take Care of Any Major Repairs
    If you’ve been putting off any major repairs, including suspension, frame, or bodywork, they should be performed before hitting the road. Vehicle damage can be a safety risk for you and your passengers, and it can increase the chances of experiencing a breakdown. However, make sure to schedule these repairs in advance of your trip to ensure they’ll be done on time.

For High-Quality Auto Body Repair, Visit Cline Collision Center

The last thing anyone wants is to be stressed out about their vehicle during a road trip! Performing these basic checks and routine vehicle maintenance will help you have a reliable ride and complete peace of mind.

If you need auto body repair before your trip—or your vehicle gets damaged during your road trip—Cline Collision Center is here to help. We offer comprehensive auto body repair, ADAS calibration, and headlight restoration to help you stay safe and sound on the road. Contact us at (707) 591-9909 for a free estimate or schedule an appointment online.

Will Auto Insurance Rates Increase in 2023?

Costs are rising in just about every industry right now—including auto insurance. With the end of pandemic-era premium decreases and reimbursements, millions of Americans may be in for sticker shock when they receive their 2023 statements.

What’s Causing Insurance Policy Rate Increases?

In its 2022 report on auto insurance trends, Insurify (an insurance comparison shopping website) found that the nationwide average cost of auto insurance increased by 9%; in 2023, Insurify predicts the average rate will increase an additional 7% based on the state of the industry and historical trends. So why are costs rising? Here are some of the main reasons for the predicted increases:

  • Americans are driving more now, which results in more accidents.
  • The cost of auto repairs is rising, which makes collision repair more expensive.
  • Inflation has contributed to cost increases in all goods and services.
  • Climate change increases the chances of vehicles being damaged by natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes.

Several states saw significant increases of more than 25% in auto insurance rates in 2022, including Maryland, Oregon, and Virginia. Although Michigan’s insurance rates stayed stagnant, the state continues to have the highest rates in the nation. California’s rates have actually dropped by about 15% on average, which is due (in part) to the pandemic-related rate increase restrictions put in place by the CA Department of Insurance.

How Can Drivers Save Money On Auto Insurance?

Insurify polled more than 1,800 drivers in July and November on how they were planning to save money on automotive expenses, including fuel, maintenance, and insurance; here’s what they found:

  • Due to decreases in gas costs, drivers were half as likely to consider purchasing a hybrid or all-electric vehicle in November as they were in July.
  • 35% of those polled were concerned about potential policy rate increases at the end of the year and were considering switching insurance providers.
  • 50% said they planned to drive less.
  • 47% had at least one increase in their insurance policy in 2022.
  • 19% had their insurance rate increased multiple times in 2022.

Dan Roccato, clinical professor of finance at the University of San Diego School of Business says future rate increases are largely dependent on the strength of the economy. “A recession, along with a weaker labor market, will take the pressure off rate increases. An economic slowdown means lower inflation. This should allow insurers to rein in costs and pass savings on to drivers,” he said.

According to financial author and podcaster Laura D. Adams, it’s a good idea for policyholders to shop around and do price comparisons on insurance quotes annually. Of the policyholders who changed providers in 2022, 92% reported that they saved money, with 26% reporting savings of $200 or more a year. She also recommends taking advantage of multiple vehicles, multi-line, and good student discounts. Bundling your car, home, and other insurance policies can also help cut costs.

Solera Vice President of Industry Relations and Vehicle Claims Bill Bower recommends considering adjustments to your deductible or co-pay—but keep in mind that this also means you take on more risk. User-based insurance is also an option. If you’re a good driver and are willing to allow the insurance company to track your driving behavior, you may be able to have your provider change the way your policy is rated. According to the Insurance Research Council, approximately 63% of drivers see drops in their policy rates after enrolling in the user-based program.

Taking steps to improve your credit score can also help; drivers with poor credit scores pay nearly 80% more for car insurance.

Some Insurance Providers Are Slow to Settle Claims

If you end up needing collision repair, it’s also important to keep in mind that some insurance providers are slow to settle claims—which, in some cases, could delay your repairs by months. This has caused some shops to stop accepting repairs that are covered by certain insurers.

Jim Collins, the owner of an auto body shop in Cincinnati said about Allstate, “In my 53 years in the industry, the body shop business, I have never seen anything like this. We’ve got vehicles that have been here for six months… The thing is when you have to deal, making 20-to-30 phone calls on one claim, then they have three, four, five different people contacting you over that claim, it [gets] frustrating, and it’s overwhelming. So, we are just not going to deal with the company.”

The Bottom Line

Between rising insurance rates and lengthy claim processing times, getting your vehicle repaired after an accident these days can come with unexpected costs and frustrations. At Cline Collision Center, we aim to be as transparent and helpful as possible. If you need a repair, we recommend contacting us first to determine whether we work with your provider, how long their typical claim process takes these days, and how long it will take to get the parts needed for your repairs. That way, there aren’t any surprises!

To schedule a repair or receive a free estimate, contact us today at (707) 591-9909.

10 Tips for Safe Driving in the Rain

Rain water splash flow from wheels of silver car moving fast in daylight city with selective focus. Car moving on asphalt road during heavy summer storm rain.

Each year, nearly 75% of weather-related car accidents occur on wet pavement, and 47% happen during rainfall. With lower light conditions and slippery surfaces, driving in the rain can be one of the most difficult and dangerous situations drivers encounter. With the rainy season on the way, here are 10 tips to help you stay safe on the roads.

1. Wait for the Weather to Improve.

If it’s not necessary to go out right away, postpone your trip or commute until the weather has improved. There’s no reason to unnecessarily put yourself at risk if you don’t need to!

2. Make sure your car’s equipment works.

Before driving in the rain, make sure your headlights, tail lights, and windshield wipers work well. These are all critical for good visibility! You should also check that you have sufficient tread on your tires. Bald tires have poor traction, even in the best road conditions—but they’re especially dangerous on slick roads. If you can see the wear bars or the tread is completely worn down, it’s time to get your tires replaced.

3. Drive slowly.

Although it’s always important to follow the speed limit, you should make a point to drive considerably slower than normal when it’s raining. In wet weather, it takes much longer to come to a complete stop. Hydroplaning is also more likely to occur. It’s especially important to go slower when it first starts raining because the fresh rain will bring out the oils on the road and make the surface even slicker.

4. Use your windshield wipers.

It might seem like common sense to use your windshield wipers, but it’s not uncommon for drivers to forget to turn them on in light rain. Your windshield wipers should clear raindrops from the glass in one swipe without smearing them or leaving streaks. If they don’t, or you can hear a scraping noise, it’s time to replace them. If a heavy downpour or storm is on the way, you may also want to consider applying water-repellent products on your windshield to help the water bead off.

5. Turn on your headlights.

If your windshield wipers are on, your headlights should be on, too—even if it’s misting. Headlights will significantly increase your visibility and make it easier for other vehicles to see you. Plus, it’s the law!

6. Keep your distance from other cars.

Since your car’s reaction and braking time are longer in wet conditions, you should always double the following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This will also help you avoid water being kicked onto your windshield by larger vehicles, which can affect your visibility.

7. Avoid heavy or abrupt braking.

Slow, gradual braking is best in the rain. As you approach a stop, take your foot off the accelerator sooner than you normally would when you’re preparing to slow down, allowing your car to coast. Then, brake gently and gradually. Avoid using cruise control, so you stay more connected with braking and accelerating your vehicle.

8. Keep an eye out for standing water.

Driving through standing water increases the risk of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning happens when your tires lose traction, and your car drives on the surface of the water rather than the surface of the road—and it can be very dangerous. If it’s safe, try to drive around areas where water has collected by changing lanes or steering around them.

9. Let up off the gas if you hydroplane.

Hydroplaning is one of the most common reasons for car accidents because it causes a loss of control. If your car starts to hydroplane, stay calm, take your foot off the gas pedal, and steer in the direction you want to go. Don’t make sudden turns or slam on your brakes, because this can cause you to lose even more control over your vehicle.

10. Ventilate your vehicle.

Rainy weather increases the humidity in your car, which is why the windows get foggy. Using the defroster will help get rid of some of the humidity, but you can help it clear the fog faster and more efficiently by cracking a window.

Accidents Can Still Happen in the Rain, Even with Safe Driving

Making a conscious effort to take these safety precautions is the best way to stay safe in wet weather. Simply remembering to reduce your speed and turn on your headlights are two of the most effective ways to avoid an accident. However, even the most skilled and cautious drivers can get into a collision in rainy conditions. If you do, Cline Collision Center is here to help with quality OEM repairs and complete insurance coordination. We hope you won’t need us, but if you do, we’ll do everything we can to make the repair process as streamlined and stress-free as possible. Stay safe out there!

Could Gas Prices Drop Soon?

Gasoline fuel nozzle and cash money. Gas price, tax, ethanol and fossil fuel concept

Gas prices reached an-all time national high this summer, reaching an average of up to $5.02/per gallon. In Sonoma County, we’ve seen prices over $6.00, nearing $7.00 a gallon… when will the price of gas get more affordable?

Soon, hopefully, if the recent drop in the national average is any indication. The national average is now $3.70/gallon, with one in ten gas stations across the country charging less than $3.00 a gallon.

What’s Caused National Gas Averages to Drop?

Several factors have led to lower gas prices around the country, including the lower cost of crude oil. Crude oil prices dropped below $90 a barrel in August—for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Another factor is that the demand for gas typically goes down after Labor Day—and gas prices are expected to continue to decrease. AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross stated, “Less expensive oil usually leads to less expensive gas for drivers. This trend has helped pump prices fall steadily for three straight months and, with fall approaching, more markets could soon see prices below $3 per gallon.” According to GasBuddy, we could see the nationwide average drop to $2.99 by the end of October.

However, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick de Haan, cautions about being overly optimistic. “While the recent drop in gas prices has been most welcomed, the issues that led to skyrocketing prices aren’t completely put to bed and could still lead prices to eventually climb back up, should something unexpected develop,” he said. “Hurricanes, unexpected issues that arise, E.U. sanctions on Russian energy, economic concerns, COVID in China, if demand in the U.S. doesn’t fall in autumn as it tends to do. There are so many different things that could change the outcome.”

In addition, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggested that the price of crude oil—which is responsible for more than half of the cost of consumer gasoline—could see sharp increases this winter due to new sanctions against Russia.

Why Has Gas Been So Expensive?

One of the most significant factors in the price of gas has been Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since the war began, the price of gas has risen more than $1.70 per gallon at its highest. While the U.S. doesn’t rely on Russia for very much of our crude oil, its price has affected the global market.

Another contributing factor is that gasoline producers are cautious about increasing their production due to the lingering supply and demand imbalance caused by the pandemic. President Biden has also claimed that many of the biggest oil companies, including Exxon Mobile, Chevron, and Shell, are profiteering to increase their profit margins.

What is the White House Doing to Help Lower Gas Prices?

Earlier this year, the White House started releasing 1 million barrels of oil a day from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was expected to lower the price of gas by 10 to 35 cents a gallon for six months. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency approved a cheaper, higher ethanol fuel (called E15) to be sold year-round. The U.S. has also been searching for other countries to purchase energy products from, including Venezuela and Iran.

How Can You Save Money at the Gas Pump?

Despite the nationwide average price of gas dropping, we continue to see significantly higher prices here in Sonoma County—and the Bay Area in general. It’s difficult to say when we’ll see them return to their pre-2022 prices. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to save money at the gas pump:

  • Cut down on non-essential trips
  • Use an app like GasBuddy or GasGuru to shop around for the best prices
  • Use an app like FuelLog to track your car’s gas mileage
  • Sign up for a gas station loyalty program or use credit cards that give you cash back for gas purchases
  • Choose gas stations that offer a discount for paying with cash
  • If you’re making multiple stops, map your route to find the most efficient way to get to each location
  • Make sure your vehicle is caught up on routine maintenance

While Cline Collision Center can’t do anything about gas prices, we can help you get your car back to its pre-accident condition after an accident. Whether you’ve been in a fender bender or simply need a headlight restoration for the dark winter days ahead, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today at (707) 591-9909 or book an appointment online.

The Shortage of Automotive Parts Continues

Prior to COVID-19, drivers could often look forward to short turnaround times for auto repairs. However, since the pandemic, dealerships, repair shops, and auto body shops have struggled to get parts. More recently, a consumer alert went out for vehicle owners warning of potentially long delays and higher prices for repairs.

Why Is there a Parts Shortage?

Chip shortage concept. Global shortage of semiconductor processors. Deficit chips. Abstract technology background, microchip. Printed circuit board, motherboard. Question mark. Vector illustration

At the start of the pandemic, parts were scarce due to factory and port shutdowns. This led to a worldwide supply chain disruption—the largest we’ve had since World War II. In addition, inflation is the highest it’s been in the last 40 years and the war in Ukraine has been a contributing factor. Many parts manufacturers have had trouble acquiring raw materials used in auto parts, like steel, foam, plastic, and silicon. Even additives in motor oil have been harder to get.

This shortage has caused dealerships and repair shops alike to find resourceful ways to stay competitive, including offering used and aftermarket parts as an alternative to OEM. In many cases, this is a perfectly safe option, as long as the part comes with a warranty. However, Cline Collision Center remains committed to using OEM parts—although, these may be even more scarce at this time. Regardless of the parts shortage, you have the right to choose how your car is repaired.

What Steps Can I Take?

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of good solutions for the parts shortage. If you don’t currently need collision repair or regular auto repairs, your best option is to drive safely, avoid accidents, and keep your car well-maintained. If you do need repairs, try to plan ahead and keep in mind that the timeframe for getting your repairs completed may be longer than you’re used to.

If you have any questions about repairs for your car, the parts shortage, or anything else, feel free to contact Cline Collision Center at (707) 591-9909!

If The Airbags in Your Car Deploy, Is Your Car Totaled?

Airbag exploded at a car accident,Car Crash air bag,Airbag work and illuminated

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.

Do You Need Supplemental Insurance for a Rental Car?

Sale agent  deal to agreement successful car loan contract with customer and sign agreement contract Insurance car concept.

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.

Comparing Coverage

Here’s a breakdown of how rental car company coverage compares with other types of coverage you may already have:

Rental Car Company PoliciesCar Insurance Policies
Supplemental liability insuranceBodily injury and property damage liability coverage
Collision damage waiver (CDW) and Loss damage waiver (LDW)Comprehensive collision coverage
Personal accident insurancePersonal injury protection and health insurance
Personal effects coverageHomeowners 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:

  • State Farm
  • Geico
  • Progressive
  • Allstate
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Travelers
  • Farmers
  • USAA
  • Nationwide
  • American Family

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.