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Let's start with some

Basic FAQs

General Questions

Can I get my car repaired wherever I want?
Absolutely, it's your car! You have the legal right to have your car repaired by the shop of your choice, and insurers are required to inform you of this right. They may still try to convince you otherwise, so it's good to know the whole story when insurance is involved.

Should I be driving my car if it's damaged?
Many folks don't realize that if their car is not safely drivable, most collision coverage will also pay for towing, which we can easily arrange.  You also may be  immediately eligible for a rental car, so give us a call!

Insurance Advice

Damaged VehicleMy insurance says you're not one of their "approved" shops. Why not?
We don't want to be on the insurer's approved list, we want to be on yours!  For a body shop to be approved by an insurance company, the shop must join the insurer's Direct Repair Program , which means they're working for the insurer. We want to work for you!

What if the insurer tells me I have to go to one of their approved (DRP) shops to get an estimate?
It may seem like a waste of time to get an estimate from a shop you're not going to use, but some insurers still require this to initiate the claim. In some cases we can help get this requirement waived, so call us for advice.  Also, many insurers are now using "Shop of Choice " programs which are much more consumer friendly.

What is the "insurer's warranty" they offer if I use their shop?
Part of the DRP contract that "approved" shops have with insurers requires the shop to give the consumer a lifetime warranty (just like we've been doing since 1980).  Also, California law requires the insurer to guarantee the work of their DRP shops, so if you have a legitimate problem the DRP shop won't take care of, the insurer is supposed to step in.  But the insurance company can't redo work, the shop has to!  Of course, if you choose a reputable shop you shouldn't need that guarantee.

Should I even make an insurance claim?
On smaller claims, most folks are concerned about rate increases, but every insurance company and each situation is different. Comprehensive  losses usually will not affect your rates, while at-fault collision losses may. Many folks don't know that when they damage someone else's car, they don't owe their deductible. For more information, see our In-Depth About Insurance FAQs

Estimating Procedure

Repaired VehicleHow do I get an estimate?
If you are looking for a ballpark price, use our Ballpark Price Browser; for a written estimate by email or in person, visit How Do I Get an Estimate.  If you want an in-person estimate, please call us before you drop by so we can help you the best way possible.

Do I have to get several estimates?
By law, when your insurance company or a third party is paying, you only need one estimate-from the shop of your choice.  If you're paying out of pocket, then you may want to price shop...but make sure you compare the estimates.  

Repair Phase

Am I entitled to Genuine Factory parts?
Whether you are at fault or not, the answer is usually NO--unless you have extra coverage known as an OEM Parts Endorsement .  Fender Mender recommends Genuine Factory Parts because we know they will restore your car to pre-accident condition to the highest degree possible.  

What is your warranty?
Our warranty is lifetime* on workmanship & paint, parts are guaranteed by their specific manufacturers for at least one year and often more.  Chances are that you will never need it, as our redo rate is well under 1%.

How long will it take to fix?
There are a multitude of variables that affect repair time, but a rule of thumb formula is 1 day for every 4 units of labor on the estimate.  Anything that requires painting is a three day minimum, but in some cases we may use a process called "FastTrack" which can cut that down to one day or less.

Have More Questions?

Try our In-Depth FAQs here.

*lifetime is limited to as long as you own the car. 
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