Comprehensive Auto Insurance and Mechanical Damage
Host: Robert, I think what you were saying is a lot of people don’t realize that if their vehicle is damaged on the road, let’s say something is in the road, you run over it, it comes up into the engine compartment, damages the drive train, that is something that an auto repair shop can handle and the auto insurance company will pay for it. Can you talk more about that?
Robert: Yeah. Mainly full coverage insurance. So, if you have your basic…can’t remember the term…
Host: It’s all right.
Robert: …your basic insurance isn’t going to cover it. But full coverage will.
Robert: Comprehensive. So, if you have comprehensive insurance, what’s gonna happen, say you’re driving down the road, and you’re in a situation where you have a truck on the side of you, another truck, or a guardrail on the other side, and there is a big stick in the road, a rock, something.
Something’s in the road and you just have to hit it and there’s nothing you can do, that’s one of those things where, if you hit it and it causes damage, you’re insurance, that’s what it’s there for. Your insurance will cover that. You may have a deductible, but your insurance will cover that.
Host: It’s probably a deductible. But I think when most people about that type of insurance, they’re thinking body repair. My car got dented, or somebody ran a shopping cart into it, or they backed into my vehicle in a parking lot. Something like that. But it actually covers what would be normally considered auto repair. The mechanical parts of the vehicle, right?
Robert: Right. Right, and what most people don’t understand is if they hit something and it goes underneath the engine, it may damage something that’s not going to show up for a few months.
Host: Not an obvious body…
Get Your Vehicle Inspected at a Full Service Auto Repair Shop
Robert: Correct. Not an obvious…it didn’t dent your bumper, it didn’t, you know, dent your hood or crack your windshield, but underneath, it most likely did something. And if you take it to a full-service shop like me, Doctor of Motors, bring me your paperwork, I go over it, we inspect the vehicle, and if we see physical damage, then that’s specifically something that insurance does cover.
Host: So, how does that work, though? Let’s say I had an incident like this. The normal inclination, probably even if I file a claim with the insurance company, is they would direct me to a body shop, most likely. Or, that’s probably what I would be thinking as well. Looks… There’s obviously, I’ve got a big dent in my car. I’ve got some kind of problem with the car that’s body damage. I go there first, do I then take it to Doctor of Motors to look underneath the vehicle, for example. Put it up on a lift?
Robert: If you take it to the auto body shop, they’re going to look at it and say, “You’re fine, there’s nothing wrong”. They’re not looking underneath and inspecting it like a full-service shop would.
Host: They don’t, right?
Robert: No. No.
Host: They’re just looking at the body work.
Robert: They’re just looking at the body work. So, if you bring it to an auto repair shop, like Doctor of Motors, we’re going to inspect it, and we’re going to look and see what was the damage that happened underneath? Because if you…if three months go down the road and you try to tell your insurance company, “Well I did hit a stick about three months ago,” they’re gonna say, “You didn’t tell us back then.
” So, they’re not going to cover it. But if you do it within a few days, you know, get it down here, we inspect it, we handle everything. So, we’ll talk to the insurance company on your behalf and we’ll make that happen.
Host: How does it work if there’s also some body damage, though? Do you work with a body repair shop?
Robert: We do. The way it works is we’ll handle the mechanical repair portion and then you would just take it over to a body shop of your choice and they’ll continue. And the insurance company is completely aware of this. They understand that is a normal procedure.
Host: So, not an issue with the insurance company to do that?
Robert: Not at all.
Host: I think very few people think about that.
Robert: The problem is, is not many people know about it, so when they hit something they go, “Oh, darn it.” They take it to the shop and they pay for it out of pocket, not understanding that they’ve already paid for this type of problem to be repaired through their insurance.
Host: So, in that case, they would only be out the deductible for the comprehensive insurance, as opposed to a potentially much more expensive repair?
Hidden Transmission Damage: True Scary Story
Robert: And, actually, you know what, speaking of, I have a transmission on order right now for a 2018… I shouldn’t have said this. Darn it.
Host: Okay, let’s say it again.
Robert: So, speaking of just what we were just talking about, someone, just the other day, they were driving down the road, down Esplanade here, right in front of the shop, they hit a stick, which you think, “Oh, it’s just a stick. It’s not that big of a deal.”
The stick hit the transmission pan and poked a hole in it. And the model car is a 2018 Dodge Charger, and that Dodge Challenger has a plastic transmission pan.
Host: Why would they do that?
Robert: Why would they do that? Well, I’ll tell you. Remember, they’re trying to get as much miles per gallon.
Host: So bring down the weight of the car.
Robert: So bring down the weight, and plus, plastic is cheaper than steel.
Host: And what could hit it, right?
Robert: And what could hit it? Right.
Host: Okay, so we’ve had some storms here recently in Chico, in the North Valley, and this is a stick that probably… a branch that broke off a tree.
Host: It was down and blown into the road.
Robert: And he couldn’t help it, he had to go over it.
Host: Sure, sure.
Robert: And it damaged some of the bumper. So it damaged the bumper, and it also damaged the transmission pan. Well, it damaged the transmission pan enough to where he was still able to drive, but he didn’t know that it was leaking. It leaked out enough to cause some damage to the internals of the transmission. This vehicle only has 3,000 miles on it.
Host: Brand-new vehicle?
Robert: Brand-new 2018 Dodge Challenger, hasn’t even had its first oil change, and it already needs a transmission.
Robert: But insurance, of course, they’re paying for it completely.
Host: So this is one of these perfect cases we just talked about, where there was a little bit of body damage, it sounds like, but in this case, the owner, because he was having trouble driving the vehicle, figured out there really was something wrong with the mechanical systems, and it turned out to be a transmission. So, in that case, is his comprehensive insurance covering it, with exception of the deductible?
Robert: Yeah. It’s an $8,000 transmission.
Host: $8,000 transmission.
Robert: And they are completely covering it.
Robert: And you know what he said? He said, “Oh, it was driving fine, so I was just going to not worry about it.” Good thing he did. Good thing he stopped in and had us check it out because…
Host: Why did he stop in? What prompted him stopping? Is it a little trouble?
Robert: He just said, you know, “It just, it hit pretty hard under there, but it still was driving.” So he decided, “Ah, you know, I might as well just get it checked out just to make sure.”
Robert: Smart, because if, you know, a month down the road, let’s say it lasted a month, the insurance company’s going to say, “No. No. No, we don’t believe you.” So you need to get it done as soon as possible.