HIT AND RUN: WHAT DO I DO??

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It’s bad enough being in a car accident, but when you become the victim of a hit-and-run accident the confusion and uncertainty is much greater. For example, most drivers pull over after an accident to make sure everyone is safe and exchange information. But, when the other driver high-tails it down the road, who do you talk to and what do you do? If this unfortunate situation happens to you, here’s what you need to know.

Many people think of hit-and-run car accidents as those involving serious injury to a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or another vehicle. However, a hit-and-run is really any accident in which one of the drivers intentionally leaves the scene without providing contact information.

For example, suppose a car sideswipes you and speeds off without stopping. Or, someone hits your unattended car without leaving any contact information or making an attempt to get in touch with you. Both situations are considered hit-and-run accidents. In fact, any time an accident occurs and the other driver flees the scene, it’s a hit-and-run.

As with any auto accident, the first step is to check yourself and any passengers in the car for injuries. If someone is seriously injured, don’t attempt to move them. Instead, immediately call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance. If nobody is hurt, stay calm, move your car to a safe place, and take the following steps.

1. Document the scene of the hit-and-run.

The more information you can provide the police, the better their chances of catching the hit-and-run driver. Start by writing down the time and date of the hit-and-run car accident and the extent of the damage. Then document as much information as you can about the car that hit you, including make, model, color, license plate number, and the direction in which it was heading. Be sure to note anything unusual about the car, such as raised wheels, unique detailing, visible damage or anything else that might make it easy to identify.

If you happened to get a glimpse of the hit-and-run driver, write down what you can recall about them: sex, race, and approximate age – anything that can help identify the person who damaged your car and then drove away.

2. Identify witnesses.

Look around to see if anyone saw the accident. This could be someone standing on the sidewalk, sitting on a bench waiting for the bus, or another driver who stopped to see if you were okay.  Ask them to relate what they saw regarding the accident and/or driver, and if you didn’t get it, whether they noticed the license plate of the other car.

Gather contact information for each witness, including names, phone numbers, home or work address, and email address (some people might not be willing to give some of these details). If you can’t find any obvious witnesses, go into nearby stores or businesses to inquire whether anyone saw the hit-and-run accident.

If the accident occurred in a commercial parking lot (at a mall, for example), check to see if there are any security cameras that may have caught the accident. If not, find the mall security office and ask if they have cameras anywhere else on the premises that might have caught the hit-and-run driver leaving the scene.

3. Take pictures of your damaged vehicle.

Photos are important for documenting the extent of the damage and where it happened. Take close-ups and landscape pictures that show your car at the scene of the accident. These will help explain what happened.

4. File a police report.

Once you have gathered as much information as possible, call the police to file a police report. Provide all the information you have written down, including the names and contact information of any witnesses. Even if the police fail to locate the hit-and-run driver, filing a report can speed up the insurance claims process and provide an official document of the events of the accident. If the accident was minor with no injuries, the police may take the report over the phone or ask you to come into the station. If the police don’t show up, some states will allow you to fill out a driver report. Visit your state’s DMV web site to access the proper form.

Above all, never leave the scene in an attempt to chase and confront the other driver. If you’re angry, as many people would be, take a few minutes to calm down and then proceed with the recommended steps. Turn the information you have over to the police and let them handle it. Then contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

And remember, if your car needs professional repairs due to a hit-and-run accident or any other type of collision, Apex Auto Center Inc. will be there for you with professional auto body repair services to get your car back on the road safely and promptly.

-Apex Auto Center Inc.
(5-14-2018)

How to Fix My Faded Headlights?

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Many of you have probably at some point noticed someone’s headlamps that are faded, yellowed, or old looking. This is actually very common and can start happening to any lenses that are plastic (which are most of them) after years of exposure in direct sunlight. 

It’s a common problem, and usually can be fixed fairly easily and inexpensively. There are a lot of headlight restoration kits on the market now for all you do-it-yourselfers that you can buy at auto parts stores and even at Walmart and Target.

The kits range from polishes that you wipe on and off — which don’t last quite as long — to actual sand and polish kits that take a little longer but have better results. 

Headlights can range anywhere from $75 to thousands of dollars each to replace them.  These days you have to buy the whole light as an assembly, you cannot buy just the lens, which is why it is much less expensive just to repair them. 

It takes about an hour to do both sides, which includes masking them up, sanding them with a fine grit sandpaper, and then polishing them afterwards to get that new glossy look.  If you don’t feel like taking this project on yourself, we will gladly help you out...FOR FREE!  Just stop by Apex Auto Center Inc. and we can do a headlight clean up for you right on the spot.

-Apex Auto Center Inc.
(5-7-2018)

Can a Minor Car Accident Cause Major Damage?

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Fender benders are the most common kind of accident, and generally, they don’t cause much damage. Most of the time, it’s a good idea to go to the doctor anyway to get yourself checked out because sometimes things, like whiplash, don’t show outward signs immediately.

But what about your car?

Sometimes, even small things caused by a minor car accident can lead to big things under the hood that you may not notice right away. It’s important to keep an eye on things, even after a small accident. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it may be time to have your car checked out, and make sure to mention the details of the accident when you do. Always have the other party’s insurance and contact information, just in case!

If your battery is rapidly losing energy…

Whether your battery dies suddenly, your car won’t start, or you notice your lights are dimmer than before, your battery issues may have been caused by a minor collision. Even a small impact can be enough to shift your battery out of position and make it work overtime or cause it to short, meaning you’ll need to replace it much sooner than you would have otherwise.

If your check engine light flickers…

Your check engine light is there as a warning that something is wrong with your engine and it’s never a good idea to ignore it. Small issues may be symptoms of larger ones, or, they can expand and morph into big issues when ignored. Have your vehicle examined if you notice your check engine light is illuminated or flickering.

If you notice the alignment is off…

Alignment is another issue that can start small and quickly spiral out of control. If, however, your alignment is noticeably off following a minor crash, have it checked out so you don’t cause unnecessary wear on your tires, suspension, and brakes.

If you notice a new leak under your car…

Sometimes the smallest accidents can happen in just the right place and nick the oil line, the radiator, or the air conditioner… Cars are not meant to leak liquids – they need them to run properly! If you notice a leak, have your car inspected to find the source.

Be proactive and get the vehicle checked out to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.  Here at Apex Auto Center Inc. we are happy to take a look at your accident and give our insight.  Dont wait until its too late! 

-Apex Auto Center Inc.
(4-30-2018)

Tips to Help You Save On Car Leasing Turn-In Fees!

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Leasing a car is nice for a lot of reasons. However, one of the major drawbacks to leasing is that if you turn it in with what’s considered more than normal wear and tear, you could REALLY wind up paying for it. Some of these things might include scratches, dents and other vehicle body issues. Getting a bill in the mail weeks after you turned your lease in can be, to put it mildly, frustrating!

So what can you do to avoid or save on turn-in fees with your lease? Here’s a look at a few tips:

  1.  Know your lease policy: It pays to review the lease terms prior to turning it in. For instance, in many cases, dents and scratches are considered to be normal wear and tear. Knowing this will help you appeal any charges you’re hit with after turning the vehicle in.
  2.  Keep records of your maintenance: It’s common to be charged for balding tires or other issues. On this note, make sure that you have records of all of your maintenance, like oil changes and tire rotations. This way, you can prove that you had the vehicle maintained per the manufacturer recommendations and fight back against any unreasonable charges.
  3.  Be proactive: If your car has a broken windshield or dents that you know won’t pass for normal wear and tear, be proactive and get it fixed. Doing so before turning it in will likely save you money based on what the automaker will charge you. Thats where we come in to help you here at Apex Auto Center Inc.

For more information on having dents, scratches and dings repaired to your lease, dont hesitate to contact Apex Auto Center Inc. You can get a free online estimate or set up an appointment for service today. Contact us today for more information.

-Apex Auto Center Inc.
(04-23-2018)

Car Insurance: Myth or Truth?

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Car insurance can be complicated and confusing for a lot of vehicle owners. We hear a lot of stories from customers about what they’ve been told by their insurance companies, information relayed from friends and relatives, and — of course — the internet!

Many of the “facts” we hear are simply untrue — complete myths that have no basis in reality whatsoever. Below are four of the most common myths we hear being presented as facts:

1) The color of a car affects insurance rates
Absolute myth! Somewhere along the way people got this crazy idea that cars or specific colors were targeted more often for speeding and the like, which thus raised insurance rates on those colored cars.

That is not true at all. The myth probably got started because sports cars are typically seen in red and yellow, and thus people assumed those colors were more at risk and thus had higher rates. The fact of the matter is that sports cars have higher rates, but the color has nothing to do with it.

2) All new cars are automatically added to the insurance that is already in a persons name
Myth! Car insurance companies do not have a crystal ball so you will need to inform them when you purchase a new car.

In some states, like New York, a car can not be registered without insurance, but the owner of the car and insurance must still call the company to get the car insured.

3) Males under 25 pay more for car insurance, no matter what!
Technically this is a myth with some truth behind it. Males in the under 25 bracket have a tendency to be more dangerous drivers, so insurance rates can be higher.

However, the group as a whole does not penalize the individual driver. A driver with insurance for several years and a clean record will pay less than someone without an insurance record or with a blemished record, period. It depends on the person, not only the age.

There is some truth to this, but its not an insurers rule to charge more, each person is considered on an individual basis.

4) Minimum coverage is good enough and will cover theft or other issues.
This a a big myth and a costly one at that. Minimum coverage only covers accidents while driving, it does not cover theft, vandalism or acts of god.

In order to be safeguarded against theft, vandalism, or a random falling — tree full coverage is necessary. Even then it is necessary to read through the contract to see what is and is not covered.

-Apex Auto Center Inc.
(04-16-2018)

Auto Insurance Deductible when you are NOT at fault

The deductible is the amount that you must pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage applies.  Some common amounts for a deductible are $500 and $1000.  The deductible is taken from the total value of the repairs to your vehicle.  For example, if the cost to repair your vehicle is $3,500 and you have a $500 deductible, you will pay $500 and your insurance will cover the remaining $3,000.

Now what if you were not at fault for the accident, do you still need to pay your deductible?  Deductibles generally apply when the damage to your vehicle is your own fault.  If the accident was caused by another identifiable driver who is insured, their coverage will pay for your vehicle's damages.  In this case you will NOT need to pay your deductible.  For this to occur the driver at fault must be identifiable, meaning a hit-and-run will still require you to pay your deductible.  The same goes for vandalized claims or any case where the at fault is not identifiable.  

Here at Apex Auto Center we try our best to provide the best services possible, including helping out with answering any of these questions that you have and if you need to pay your deductible in full.  An inconvenience that we can help you resolve.

-Apex Auto Center Inc.
(06-10-2017)

Setting up an Insurance Claim

It's a simple process but takes some patience.  It can be done here at the shop or even by yourself.

To begin this process, you are going to need to contact your insurance company and report the accident that occurred.  Have your registration in hand because it will help you answer the specific questions about your vehicle.  They will ask time of the accident, date of occurrence, location of where it took place, driver involved as well as passengers, and if the car is still drivable.  It's a call we can do right here from the Marlborough office in case they need more information.  During this call you notify them that your car will be repaired at Apex Auto Center (we work with all insurance companies). 
After setting up your claim contact us directly and we will help you with rental, drop or and pick up, and with any other questions or concerns you have.  
We have an amazing relationship with all insurance companies, making this a simple and convenient processes for you.  

I really hope this helped and if you have any further questions feel free to contact us!  Doing what we can to be the best auto body shop around

-Apex Auto Center Inc.
(06-03-2017)

"I need a Rental Car!"

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You got hit by a car and you don't have rental on your own policy...what now?

Being in an accident is always hectic.  You need to worry about your health, the health of the others involved in the accident, the cars and what to do next.  You finally get around to brining your car to the best shop in town and then you realize you need a rental.  As a victim in an accident due, to another person's negligence, you have the right to recoup the costs associated with fixing the disruption you experience.

"So does that mean their insurance will pay for me to have a rental?"
Yes!  As a victim it is your right to compensate the costs. Including all of the costs of renting a vehicle while your own vehicle is being repaired. 

-Apex Auto Center Inc.
(5-26-2017)