auto body & insurance terminology

  • Adjuster- insurance company representative that is responsible for coverage confirmation as well as the settlement of the claim.
  • Aftermarket Part- a new part not produced by the vehicles manufacturer. These parts are generally considered substandard to O.E.M. parts.
  • Appraiser- insurance company representative that does the appraisal or estimate of damages.
  • A.S.E.- national institute for automotive service excellence- a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through testing and certification of automotive technicians.
  • B.A.R.- Bureau of Automotive Repair.
  • Betterment- many insurance carriers will charge the customer for actually providing a part or assembly (usually a commonly replaced item subject to wear over the life expectancy of the vehicle) that is better than what the owner had at the time of loss. i.e. tires, battery
  • Blending- a painting method used to disperse color to adjacent panels in such a way that a mis-match in color is undectable. Once the color has been blended to adjacent panels, a clear coat is applied to the panel.
  • Claimant- person that reports a claim against another party’s insurance company. I.e. this person was not at fault, but hit by another party.
  • Color Sand & Polish- Color sand is the process of sanding a new finish to remove dust particles and other contaminants. Polishing painted surfaces by hand or with a machine is then used to eliminate surface scratches and restore gloss after the color sanding process.
  • Deductible- is the amount the customer must pay toward a claim before the insurance company begins to pay.
  • Diminished Value- the loss of market value that occurs when a vehicle is damaged and then repaired.
  • Direct Repair Program (D.R.P)- is an automobiles insurer’s group of preferred repair shops. To become a member of an insurer’s repair program, repair facilities typically must execute an "agreement" with the insurer. Some of the key standard provisions require the repairer to write all estimates using aftermarket or salvage parts. This type of shop has pre-negotiated with the insurer to repair your car using generic or salvage parts, and is required to identify and charge you for purported increases in value to your car, and has promised to insulate the insurer from liability for the work performed.
  • Estimate- a written inspection made by an estimator or appraiser to determine cost to restore a vehicle to pre-loss condition, usually done immediately after the incident without any teardown.
  • Frame- automobiles have three types of frame. Body Over Frame, Unibody, and Space Frame. Body Over Frame is a conventional frame design. The frame is completely seperate from the rest of the vehicle. Conventional frames are heavy, therefore the use of conventional frames are limited to heavier vehicles, such as pick up trucks and larger passenger cars.
  • Final Bill- the itemized invoice to document the repairs performed.
  • I-car- an international, non-profit training organization helping the automotive industry achieve a high level of technical training.
  • Insured- person that is insured by the covering insurance company.
  • LKQ- like, kind and quality. These parts are not produced by the original parts manufacturer, but an outside source.
  • Monocoque- see Unibody
  • O.E.M.- original equipment manufacturer. These parts are produced by the manufacturer of the vehicle.
  • Orange Peel Finish- a common paint condition on all production vehicles, a paint finish similar to the surface of an orange.
  • Prevailing Rates- set when insurance companies conduct a survey of auto repair shops, but the regulation is vaguely written and does not say what constitutes a valid sample. Therefore, high quality facilities with trained technicians account for the same amount of "votes" as a small "fly-by-night" facility.
  • Quality Recycled Part- a used part from a salvage yard.
  • Quality Replacement Part- a new part sold and manufactured by someone other than the original vehicle manufacturer.
  • R&I- remove and install. Usually need to gain access to a panel for paint or repair work. The part is removed from the vehicle, the repair/paint completed, and then the part is installed back on the vehicle.
  • Repair Order- written documentation of repairs completed to a vehicle.
  • Salvage Value- the amount that the salvage yard is willing to pay for your totaled vehicle.
  • Space Frame- the space frame vehicle is really a type of unibody. It features a body shell or cage which surrounds the passenger compartment. Outer panels are bolted on or bonded with adhesive to the space frame. The purpose of the outer panels is to provide a cosmetic shape to cover the vehicle.
  • Steering- Insurance companies forcing or persuading customers to have their vehicles repaired at a particular body shop. Claimants are frequently told that, while they are free to select any shop of their choosing, the insurer will only "guarantee" the repair work of a D.R.P. facility. The insurer’s "guarantee" is material to most claimants and has the effect of steering their work to DRP facilities and away from independant shops. So, whether the insurer insists you take your vehicle to a particular shop or lures you there with guarantee promises that sound as if you will get more than taking your car elsewhere, the end result is the same.
  • Subrogation- substitution of one person for another, giving the substitute the same legal rights as the original part. For example, an insurance company may have the right of subrogation to sue anyone whom the person it compensated had a right to sue.
  • Supplement- an additional amount paid to settle a claim. It is impossible to identify all damage to a vehicle until it’s been torn down. A supplement is an addition to the original estimate for damage found after repairs have started.
  • Total Loss- if the total cost of repair exceeds the value of the vehicle, it is a total loss. Most insurance companies will total a vehicle at 70-80% of value.
  • Unibody- or monocoque, a construction technique that utilizes the external skinning of an object to form most of the structure. This type of frame is used in the majority of vehicles today. Unibody vehicles have no conventional frame; instead it consists of rails welded to flat panels for strength and structural integrigy. The rails, rocker panels, pillars, and other structural components are welded together to become the main load bearing member of the vehicle.
  • Unit- a division of quantity accepted as a standard of measurement or exchange.
  • VIN- vehicle identification number, assigned to each vehicle by the manufacturer, identifies the year, make, model of the vehicle.
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