Most people that have dealt with a betterment charge in their auto claim think of it as “the other B word”. Working with customers in unfortunate circumstances like an accident is hard enough as it is, but explaining something like betterment on top of that is truly terrible – even more so because this charge is collected at the repair shop. This can put the repair shop in an awkward position, especially if the customer is less than understanding. So what, exactly, is betterment? It is a standard insurance cost, which can be applied to any wear and tear item that is replaced during the repairs of your vehicle due to an accident, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. While it may seem unfair, it makes sense from an insurance companies’ stand point. First, you have to understand that the insurance company only owes you “pre-accident condition” and they are very literal with that term. For example, if you have brand new tires on your car, then the insurance company owes you for those new tires. However, if you have some nearly bald older tires, then the insurance company pays you the amount those may be worth. Basically, they take the cost of the new tire, measure and compare the tread depths of the old and new tire, and charge accordingly to how they “bettered” your situation. Tires aren’t the only items where betterment is applied. As previously stated, the policy looks at ANY wear and tear item. This could include your car’s battery, muffler, struts or any suspension items, just to name a few. Even a convertible’s soft top can be included in betterment items. Educating yourself beforehand on what additional costs you may incur during an accident can help ease the blow should you ever find yourself in that situation. If there are any other questions that may arise, we at Cascade Collision are happy to discuss options and provide you with the needed answers.