Many of us have taken part in one end of the other of a collision, and if not yet, statistically the likelihood is high that one will occur in which we’re involved. With that being said, most people never really think about what to expect after an accident in regards to the auto body repair that will more than likely be involved. It’s one of those out of sight, out of mind events that no one really thinks about until it happens. With that said, and thanks in part to some insights from Laura T. Coffey over at today.com, we have put together a list of tips to keep in mind before having the auto body repair work done.
- Be prepared to actually see what you signed up for in your insurance policy. Unless your an avid accident causer, most of us don’t fully realize what our insurance covers until it’s time to use it. With that being said, you may be in for a surprise, starting with the deductible. While many of us end up grabbing a higher deductible to lessen our insurance, this is where is may come into play. The average deductible is $500, which means you have to pay that amount first before the insurance can/will begin to cover repair costs. For some, the deductible is much higher due to wanting a smaller premium. Take a look at your policy and see where it stands. Also to note, that if you have caused the accident, you will need to confirm whether you even have collision coverage to pay for the repairs. If you went for a lower premium, there’s a good chance you may have removed collision from the coverage.
- If you’re using insurance and want them to coverage the collision repairs, it’s important to know, understand, and follow the system. Realize that the insurance company will often want to direct you as to whom to go to in order to get quotes and may even have recommended or approved repair shops. Be aware that when working within their network, you are still best off doing your own research. See what kind of reviews the shop has, how long they’ve been in business and even a gallery of their work if possible.
- Always get more than one estimate. This will benefit you in several ways. It will allow you to see a healthy cross-section of what the repair costs truly can be. If you go with just one estimate, you won’t know if it’s the highest, lowest, or somewhere in between. It will also be beneficial to see different opinions on the repair work that will be needed to be done. Some shops may recommend going further while others may recommend only touching what is absolutely necessary.
- Choosing the repair shop. You should always have at least a little bit of choice as to whom you use to do the repairs. Even if you must stay within the insurance companies list of approved repair shops, they’ll usually have several to choose from and some insurance companies will allow you to choose your own. With this in mind, keep the following criteria on a checklist:
- Replacement parts. Are the OEM (original-equipment manufacturer) parts? Are they salvaged or generic parts. What do you prefer and what do they use?
- How does the repair shop rate in the area. Do they have strong reviews with a history of great work or are they a brand new company that looks a little shady? Check into their reputation and complaint history and with the internet, this can easily be done from home.
- Do they specialize in your type of vehicle – especially if you have a European auto. They will often need specialized tools and procedures to work on foreign automobiles and it’s important to note whether they are certified to do so or whether they are just piecing the tools together to “make” something work.
- Do they offer a rental car or is that something you need to try and obtain through your insurance company? Some auto body repair shops with offer you a rental car at their expense (often written into the quote) and others have no such option, but be sure you know how you will get around while your car is in the shop.
- Ask them how accurate their estimation of the timeframe of the repair is and how often they meet that estimation. This can help save you a lot of headache if they consistently over promise on the timeframe, you don’t need to be so locked into what they say. Rather you can plan additional time if they tend to consistently miss their mark.
- What kind of warranty do they offer? Salt Lake City collision repair shop Go-Collision offers a lifetime warranty on all collision work for as long as you own the vehicle. Some shops over limited warranties, while others offer no warranty. Obviously, we would recommend finding a shop that offers a long and strong warranty and that has been in business long enough to have serviced that type of warranty.
If you’ve done the research right and followed the above tips, your auto body repair should come out looking like new. When done right, you should even be able to tell that there was ever any damage and your vehicle should run like new. When done wrong….. well just follow the tips and focus on getting it done right by knowing what to expect.