Why DON'T You Need Multiple Collision Repair Estimates?
If you drive a car you love, it can be painful to see the results of a severe accident, especially when it's not your fault. Watching something you've carefully maintained and cared for damaged because of someone else's action is never fun, but it doesn't have to be the end for your trusty transportation. In most cases, a collision repair shop can fix even severe damage.
However, it's also natural to want to become as involved in this process as possible. After all, you want to make sure your car comes out looking as good as new, and you probably want to save some money along the way. Despite this, the modern collision repair process (especially when using insurance) can be surprisingly hands-off.
What Shouldn't You Be Doing?
You've probably seen the standard advice that you should start your collision repair journey by receiving multiple estimates from multiple shops. While this approach can have some advantages when paying for a repair yourself, it also has some notable disadvantages. In particular, it's often challenging or even impossible to determine the extent of a vehicle's damage just from a visual inspection.
Collision shops typically need sophisticated equipment to measure your car's frame and check for underlying structural damage. Still, this equipment can't reveal mechanical problems or other issues hidden under the surface. As a result, it's not uncommon for initial quotes to underestimate the overall cost of the repair.
In other words, shopping around and trying to use multiple estimates to negotiate with an insurance company can be counterproductive. Instead, it's common for auto body shops to work directly with insurers. As the shop finds more damage, they will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure they fully cover your collision damage.
What Should You Be Doing?
Instead of quote shopping, spend time researching local collision shops and choosing one with the right experience and qualifications. You can also call these shops, ask for references or pictures of past work, or inquire about their experience with your vehicle's make and model. You aren't required to use your insurer's auto body shop, and these questions can help you choose the best one in your area.
You can also discuss other options for your repair, such as if you're willing to use aftermarket or used parts. Laws vary from state to state, so you'll want to check your local laws to determine if an insurer can force you to use non-genuine parts for your repair. Even if they can, you can still discuss alternatives with your chosen auto body shop or pay out of pocket for new factory parts.
These two steps will help ensure a long-lasting, quality repair for your car, and they're far more valuable than shopping for different estimates. By taking this hands-off approach and leaving the price details to your insurance company, you'll focus on the things that matter rather than wasting time driving or towing your damaged vehicle to multiple shops.
For more information, contact an automotive collision repair service near you.