Being involved in a car accident is frustrating and stressful. Even if you do not sustain serious injuries, you must deal with the challenge of locating an auto body shop to perform auto collision repair. However, the process does not need to be difficult. Below are six tips for finding the right auto body shop after a car accident.
6 Tips for Finding the Right Auto Body Shop After a Car Accident
- Pay Attention to Auto Body Shop Reviews
- Obtain Several Auto Body Shop Estimates
- Choose an Auto Body Repair Shop That Works with Your Insurance Provider
- Find a Repair Facility That Specializes in Your Car’s Make
- Pay Close Attention to the Labor Costs
- Ask the Right Questions
At best, an automobile accident is an upsetting experience. The stress only gets worse as you are forced to deal with an expensive car repair. Trying to find a reliable auto body shop can seem like a daunting task. But if you follow these tips, you’ll be able to find the best business near you to handle the repairs.
1. Pay Attention to Auto Body Shop Reviews
A car repair facility can advertise that it specializes in car accident repairs, paintless dent repair, excellent services, and customer satisfaction. However, an impressive or clever advertising campaign does not always mean that the facility employs high-skilled auto repair professionals. You need to pay close attention to the reviews from prior customers to learn whether an auto body repair shop provides exceptional customer service.
Steps that you can take to research the reputation of a repair facility before you choose it to make car accident repairs include:
●Read online reviews, blogs, and posts.
●Ask friends and family members for recommendations.
●Check with the Better Business Bureau for workmanship and customer service complaints.
●Search Yelp, Google, Facebook, and other websites for reviews.
●Ask your insurance agent if they have had any problems with the auto body shop.
●Perform a “v” search online. Put a “v” in front of the name of the auto body shop in the search engine. This search will bring up lawsuits filed against the company.
2. Obtain Several Auto Body Shop Estimates
It may take more time and effort but obtaining multiple estimates for car accident repair work is strongly recommended. Obtaining several auto body shop estimates is the best way to avoid being overcharged for parts, labor, and service. In some cases, a reputable repair shop might match a dent repair estimate from another facility if they want your business.
However, be careful about choosing an auto body repair shop that has the lowest estimate. Repair technicians that tell you they can perform cheap accident repairs may be utilizing used car parts and people who are not trained to work in automotive repair shops. If you choose a car repair facility based solely on cost, it could result in major problems in the future–and you’ll be stuck with the bill. The insurance company will have already settled your claim by paying the cheap auto body shop and won’t pay for any problems that arise because the repair facility performed inadequate work.
Another benefit of obtaining multiple auto body shop estimates is that your vehicle is carefully and thoroughly inspected numerous times by several auto repair professionals. After you obtain the estimates, compare the detailed description of the damages and the work described. It is common for some repair facilities to rush through an inspection and miss some of the damage caused by the car accident. If you discover major discrepancies in the damages and work described in the auto body shop estimates, you may need to seek a highly skilled, certified auto collision repair technician to review the estimates and inspect your vehicle.
3. Choose an Auto Body Repair Shop That Works with Your Insurance Provider
Some insurance policies require that you use an auto body shop that your insurance company authorizes to make repairs. When another driver’s insurance company is liable for the car accident damages, you are typically free to use an auto body and collision repair facility you choose. However, there may be some advantages in using an auto body repair facility that is authorized by the insurance company.
Using an insurance company’s preferred provider may make it easier to find a repair shop that is insured and ASE certified. Insurance companies will usually only work with shops that are certified and insured. Also, if the repair shop finds additional damages, the shop deals directly with the insurance company to obtain approval for the repairs, thereby reducing the amount of stress and time you need to devote to dealing with the actual repairs.
Another reason to use a preferred auto body shop is that the insurance company may offer a better warranty. In addition to any guarantees offered by the auto and body shop, the insurance company may also offer a warranty if you use one of its preferred providers. You need to question the terms of the warranty so that you understand what is covered.
You do need to be cautious when using an insurance company’s preferred auto body shop for repairs. The shop may use salvaged parts to keep costs low for the insurance company. The shop could also skip over minor, cosmetic repairs to keep costs low. It is a good idea to ask about the parts used to make repairs and compare several estimates to ensure the auto body shop will properly restore your car or truck.
4. Find a Repair Facility That Specializes in Your Car’s Make
Some car repair shops specialize in certain vehicle brands. While it is not a requirement that you use an auto body shop that specializes in repairing your specific vehicle, it can be beneficial. A repair facility that specializes in repairing your brand of vehicle understands any differences or nuances in that brand that could make a significant difference in how the vehicle operates. With higher-end vehicles, it is generally best to search for an experienced, certified technician that has been trained to work on your specific brand of vehicle.
5. Pay Close Attention to the Labor Costs
Labor costs are a significant portion of a car repair bill after a car accident. However, the location of the auto body repair shop can have a significant impact on the cost of labor charged for repairs. In affluent neighborhoods, auto body shops may charge higher labor costs because customers near the shop can afford higher costs for labor.
On the other hand, a repair shop just 15 miles away may charge far less for labor costs because of the area where it is located. The shop may perform the same level of work or even superior work, but the labor costs are simply based on the location of the auto body shop. While it may seem more convenient to search for “auto body repair shop near me,” and simply choose the closest repair center, it may be less expensive to choose a body shop just a few extra miles away.
In addition, large repair shops typically have higher overhead compared to locally owned and operated repair shops. The overhead may result in higher than average labor costs or estimates that are padded with unnecessary work. Always examine the cost of labor on auto body shop estimates as close as you review the work to be performed.
6. Ask the Right Questions
Some of the important questions you want to ask when searching for an auto and body shop include:
Will the work void my existing manufacturer warranties?
Some manufacturer warranties may be voided if certain repairs are needed after a car accident. Make sure that the technician is not using aftermarket parts or used parts that would void the manufacturer’s warranty. If the insurance company is demanding the use of aftermarket parts, demand a written warranty that is identical to your manufacturer’s warranty from the insurance company. In most cases, the company will concede to paying for original parts.
Does the auto body shop offer a written warranty?
If so, what does the warranty cover? What is the term of the warranty? In many cases, the repair shop may offer limited warranties on some work and other work may have more extensive warranties.
Does the auto body shop carry insurance for fire and theft?
You are entrusting your vehicle to the shop while the technicians are making the car repairs. It is important to choose an auto and collision shop that carries full ensure for fire, theft, and other casualties.
What is the time frame for the repairs?
An insurance provider should pay the costs of towing the damaged vehicle and renting a car if their insured driver is responsible for causing the crash. However, if your insurance company is paying for the auto body repairs, the payment for a rental car may be limited. You may need to make additional arrangements for transportation if the vehicle repairs take a few weeks to complete. Make sure that the auto body shop understands that you need to be notified immediately of any anticipated delays.
Do you provide an itemized report of all repairs and parts used for repairs?
You may need an itemized report if you encounter problems in the future with the repairs after a car accident. The auto body shop should be able to provide you with a detailed report of everything they repaired, and the parts used (including serial numbers) to make the refinishing.
Can I see examples of your auto body work?
In addition to the mechanical repairs, you want to ensure that your vehicle will look like new after the car accident repairs are complete. An auto body and collision repair shop should be able to provide photographs of previous dent repair work, windshield replacement, wheel alignment, and color matching. Before and after pictures are always helpful in determining if the repair shop focuses on the finishing details or if it only cares about making the repairs that are necessary to receive payment from the insurance company.
What type of paint do you use?
High-quality paint costs more, but it also lasts longer and results in a better finish. If you did not cause the crash, you deserve to have your vehicle look at least as good as it did before the accident. Inferior paint can result in a poor-quality finish that chips and cracks within a few months to a year.
Can I see your business license?
A business should have its license displayed prominently for the public to view. If you do not see a business license, make sure that you ask about the license. A business that operates without a license may not be a wise choice for car accident repairs.
Choosing a Car Accident Attorney for Help Filing an Insurance Claim
Dealing with a car accident is a very stressful experience and finding the right auto body shop can be a daunting task. By researching online reviews, obtaining multiple estimates, working with the insurance company, and asking the right questions, you’ll have a better idea of where to take your car for repairs.
If you need legal assistance in dealing with your car accident, it’s a good idea to reach out to an attorney. The car accident lawyers of Acadia Law Group have years of experience handling insurance claims for repairs and injuries after a car accident. We can also help you file and settle a property damage claim and a personal injury claim when a negligent driver causes a wreck.
Contact our office for a free consultation by calling 1-800-653-4600 or begin your free case review online today.