Understanding Insurance Company Language

When you are involved in an accident and are getting a collision repair performed, it can be confusing understanding the rules and language used by insurance companies and collision shops. Below is a short glossary of terms which we have organized in the order of the repair sequence.

Insured: The person listed as the owner of the vehicle on the insurance policy.

Claimaint: A person who has been involved in an accident but was not a fault and is having their vehicle repaired by the other driver's insurance company.

Direct Repair Facility: A Collision Repair Shop that has been specially certified by an insurance company to develop estimates and supplements for the insurance company to approve and have been certified by the insurance company to approve to make repairs because of their customer satisfaction levels, quality, personnel training, equipment, tools, repair time, advanced computer systems, and cost effectiveness of repairs.

Drive-in Facility: A location the insurance company selects for customers to bring their vehicles into for insurance adjusters to evaluate their damage.

Third Party Adjusters: Independent local adjusters who are paid by the insurance company to develop estimates and supplements when an insurance company does not have a local agent.

Estimate: The original analysis by an adjuster, (either insurance personnel or direct repair personnel), documenting in detail the needed repairs for the specific accident, in parts, labor, paint, materials, tax, and hazardous waste disposal fees.

Customer repair approval: Insurance companies generally require that the customer sign a repair order approval before work can be started.

Totaled: When the repair of the vehicle exceeds the insurance company's maximum allowed as compared to the current market value of the vehicle. The insurance company will not repair the vehicle at this point, but rather will determine a paid amount to be paid to the customer based on the value of the vehicle and the insured's policy provisions.

Backordered Parts: Parts that are not currently available to purchase, as they are out of stock. These parts can be OEM, Competitive Make(non-OEM), or Used parts. Backordered parts can dramatically delay the repair of a vehicle.

OEM Parts: Parts that are manufactured and supplied by the Vehicle manufacturer, and are described as provided by the original equipment manufacturer. While these are the highest quality parts, they are also the most expensive.

Competitive Make (Non-OEM) or Aftermarket Parts: Parts that are manufactured and supplied by parts manufacturers who do not make vehicles. While these parts meet Insurance quality standards, they do not meet the Vehicle Manufacturers standards in all cases.

Used Parts: Parts that are supplied by salvage yards or are reconditioned parts from salvage yards from vehicles that have been salvaged.

Teardown: The disassembly of the affected areas to be repaired.

I-Car standards: The Insurance industry's required repair processes and training certifications. Collision repair shops are directed by the insurance company to repair the vehicle according to these known standards. These standards are coordinated by I-Car with each of the vehicle manufacturers. Shops meeting all standards in all areas are recognized at Gold Class. Individual collision technicians are certified individually by I-Car to meet stringent training and physical test requirements.

Frame Rack: The device that is used to straighten vehicle frames to I-Car standards.

Computerized Frame Measurement: The computerized measurement device that is used to measure multiple key points in the frame in all three dimensions, so that shops can verify that your straighten frame meets I-Car frame tolerance levels.

Alignment Rack: A computerized measurement device to measure the toe-in, caster, and camber tire and suspension measurements to the Manufacturer specifications.

Spray Booth: The booth with either downdraft or sidedraft air flow used when painting.

Oven: The heated oven booth where the paint is baked to dry on your vehicle.

Spoven: A combination spray booth and oven that performs the tasks of both. Most collision shops utilize this combination type of booth.

Supplement: A revision of the original estimate that occurs once the vehicle is disassembled to a point that hidden damage becomes evident by visual and technical measurements. Once a supplement is identified, it must be submitted in detail to the insurance company And must be approved before the work can be performed.

Safety Inspection: Your collision repairs on your vehicle must meet Missouri State Safety standards.

Deductible: The amount which the insured has to pay for the repairs for his vehicle or the claimant's vehicle to be repaired or totaled.

Betterment: The amount which the insurance company requires to be paid as a pro-rate when a part has to be replaced, which already shows significant wear, and the insurance company is only going to pay for the lost portion of its regular wear life. A good example is a worn tire that must be replaced.