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Don’t Let Stress from Auto Accident Cause Unnecessary Repair Expenses

Connecticut Better Business Bureau cautions it’s vital to get all the facts before saying ‘yes’ to towing and repair.

After the initial shock of a car accident, people often find themselves facing stress and confusion over how to get the damage fixed.

Connecticut Better Business Bureau cautions it’s vital to get all the facts before saying ‘yes’ to towing and repair, and offers these suggestions to help you make sound decisions following an accident:

Towing:
•Contact your insurance company from the accident scene.
•Never give permission to a tow operator who arrives unsolicited to take your vehicle.
•Do not provide a tow truck operator with personal lien holder information.
•Ensure the tow truck signage matches the name you called and is identical to any documentation the tow truck operator provides. 
•If the truck is not marked, ask for identification. 
•If in doubt, call the company back to ensure the operator is with the company.

Auto Repairs:
•The shop you select should have a good track record of resolving any complaints. Check the business’s BBB Business Review
•Look for a mechanic with experience working on the same automobile model and make as yours. Seek out a mechanic with good credentials, updated knowledge and skill. Some shops display certification, indicating the mechanic has met basic standards in a specific technical area.
•Talk to friends and family for recommendations. Ask for references from your auto insurance agent, auto parts salesperson, or other business people you know.
•Interview mechanics. Are they willing to answer your questions? Do they convey a positive, professional image? Ask if the technician or shop has experience working on the same model vehicle as yours.
•Do not pay in full until the repairs are complete.

For more information on finding a tow or car repair service you can trust, visit bbb.org.

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Michael Dinan July 26, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Good info in this post. I got rear-ended on the Merritt in May and here's something I learned: Before you rent a replacement car, even if the responsible party's insurer has agreed to pay for it, make sure you're dealing with a branch of the rental agency that is designated for handling auto accident claims. I went to the "wrong" Hertz branch initially (because the "right" one wasn't open on a Saturday) and ended up in a nightmare where my own card was charged $1,600 in rental fees.
Glen K Dunbar July 26, 2012 at 04:18 PM
That is terrible Mike. It was NOT your fault Why did You have to pay the rental fee. Tell them to bill the guy who rear ended you. Don't ask. DEMAND !! A car accident of any kind is so stressful. I would not wish that on my worse enemy. To find a good car repair place is hard to. They ALWAYS keep the car longer than they PROMISE initially. Not fair !! Moreover, the insurance company will either drop you or double your premium. Again...not fair GLEN
Michael Dinan July 26, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Glen: Thank you for your support. I should clarify: The charges eventually were reversed, but it was a huge inconvenience (waiting on hold for hours at a time, having the same conversation with people from the rental agency and insurance company) that put a strain on me, and it never should have happened. My own insurance was not affected at all, because I was not at fault. Thanks again.
Judge Crater July 26, 2012 at 08:00 PM
If you have an accident in New Canaan, the police may call a tow truck of their choice, not yours. This is called an involuntary tow. The tow truck may be operated by a body shop and you may get pressed immediately to sign a paper which authorizes all payments by the insurance company to the body shop which operates the tow truck. Don’t sign this paper unless you want this body shop to fix your car and you know you won’t change your mind or your insurance company has a preferred list of shops and you want to use one of the shops on this list. You will want to maintain your options. There may be storage charges in addition to towing charges, too. All charges for an involuntary tow are regulated by the state and you should ask what they are. Emily, it would be very helpful if you could get additional info from the NCPD on how a driver involved in an accident can control who tows the car. If you could also get the list of the state’s allowed charges for an involuntary tow, that would be helpful to New Canaan citizens. Thank you.

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