Regardless of how well we drive and watch out for the other guy the chances are you will make a visit to a collision repair facility every 7 years. The good news in the last statement would be the fact that you make the visit to the collision center rather than the hospital or worse yet the morgue.
Most individuals have no idea what to do or how to react once an accident has taken place. Sure most of us realize we should call law enforcement and medical care if needed but what next? Do we call a repair facility, do we let the insurance company tell us where to take the vehicle or do we leave it up to the tow truck?
We suggest you locate the most reputable shop in your local area and let them create you an estimate. The vast majority of all estimates are created using similar software (3 major estiamting software programs are used). The differences in any estimate should be very slight unless your estimator is experienced and knows to look for hidden damage on the vehicle. The most common practice is to look over the vehicle, assess the damage and submit an estimate to you or your insurance carrier. Typically the carrier will have one of their field personnel go to the shop and look over the vehicle with the shop estimator. (Negotiations usually take place at this juncture)
Experienced shops and insurance field adjustors will know to look for hidden damage behind the main panels and underneath. Sometimes a supplemental claim will be filed once the hidden damage is discovered.
One important factor when deciding on a repair facility is the method in which you are treated at the shop. Were you greeted by friendly employees who were dressed properly for the job? (Example: clean polo or button up shirt with the facilities name embroidered on the left or a dirty t-shirt extolling the virtues of street pharmaceuticals or beer) One can generally tell the quality of the repair by the quality of the outer office and employees. Collision repair is a very professional and highly skilled job which requires a lot of capital investment and investment in human relations. Well run shops will often have a waiting room resembling a Dr’s office and there is good reason for this.
The vast majority of individuals involved in a motor vehicle accident have collision insurance. The insurance company by default is involved in our repair just as they are with our hospitalization. We have to make a co-pay (deductible) just like medical insurance and we expect the shop to eat the charges that exceed the allowable amount determined by the insurance carrier. The major difference would be that the shop has to repair the vehicle to our liking and keep it within the allowable amount of money as suggested by the insurance carrier.
Often there is much disagreement between the two parties as to what actually constitutes a quality repair. That is when we, as consumers, must get involved and demand a complete quality job. Again, choose the repair facility wisely and if there are discrepancies between what the shop wants to do versus what will be paid for by your insurance carrier you must get involved and demand a quality repair. You car is one of the largest investments you will make in your entire life. And your life depends on this vehicle performing properly and safely to protect you in case of an accident. It’s your car and your choice where you get it repaired. Don’t let any one tell you different.
Richard & Terry