You’re driving home from work, and all a sudden you find yourself in a car accident. We know exactly what you do first. You call a relative – your husband, wife, mom, dad – and then you call your insurance company. In an article on www.edmunds.com called “Confessions from the Auto Body Shop,”* three industry experts agree that people place a lot of trust in their insurance company, and assume the company has its consumer’s best interest at heart. We believe it is very important to understand that the insurance company may only be looking out for one thing – itself. As stated in the article, insurance companies try to “cut costs to the bone while still retaining policy holders.”
YOU are your own advocate. You have your best interests at heart, and to be able to get the best repairs for your vehicle there are questions you can ask the body shop. If you choose to read “Confessions from the Auto Body Shop,” you’ll read that there are body shops that may scam you, work for the best interest of the insurance company, only do mediocre work, etc. But there ARE good body shops out there, and sadly they have to operate against the impression of this bad rep that other body shops give to the industry. So to separate the good from the bad there are a couple things you can do.
- Make sure you understand their estimate. What kind of parts are they using – manufacture parts or aftermarket? Are they using quality paint? Are they disassembling your vehicle to paint the appropriate parts individually, or are they only patching what the eye can see? The paint my be shiny, but that doesn’t mean the repairs are quality.
- Find out if they are going to communicate with the insurance company, or with you. It’s your vehicle, so it is your responsibility. Body shops that communicate with you during the repair process usually have nothing to hide, but if you choose a shop who says it’ll work everything out with the insurance company for you, that may mean it’s willing to compromise on repairs behind your back.
- Never underestimate referrals. We stress that you ask around and see who actually has pleased customers. As the Edmund’s article states, no body shop wants to leave a customer with a bad experience, and most good body shops’ main method of advertising is through referrals from happy customers.
So with these things in mind, go forth and get the repairs you deserve. Ask the questions above. They will make the dishonest shop manager squirm and dodge eye contact and make the dependable shop manager beam with happiness that you want to be informed.
For a bigger list of questions to ask, click HERE.
*To read the article on www.edmunds.com and hear from three industry experts, visit this link: http://www.edmunds.com/car-care/confessions-from-the-auto-body-shop.html.