Getting into a car accident is a scary experience, and the moments after the accident are stressful. If your vehicle is damaged, you’ll need to file an insurance claim, but then what? You may assume you’re in for further headaches as you choose an auto body repair shop and work to get insurance reimbursement for the damages.
However, getting post-accident repairs doesn’t have to be difficult. Basically, you have two options. You can select an auto body shop from your insurance company’s list of approved shops, or you can find your own body shop to handle the repairs.
Keep in mind that the same technological advances that make your car better to drive may also make repairs more complicated. They could also make the repairs more expensive. Here are some things to consider when making this decision.
Ask Your Family and Friends
Most people have worked with an auto body shop at one time or another. That’s why asking your family, friends, coworkers, or acquaintances for referrals is a great place to start. If your friend is raving about the outstanding work a particular shop did on his car, it’s probably worth checking them out. Just be careful to still do your due diligence, ask plenty of questions, and look into your other options as well.
Consider Using an Insurance Company-Recommended Auto Body Repair Shop
Using a recommended body shop from your insurance company can have many benefits. While your insurance company is committed to fixing your vehicle after an accident, your situation will dictate the better option for you.
Saves You Time and Money
Opting to use an auto repair shop that your insurance company already approves can save you time and possibly money. That’s because you don’t have to search for the shop, get an estimate, or wait for an inspection. Your insurance company has already agreed to work with the shop. Because you save some time on the front end, working with a recommended shop also may help you get your car back sooner.
In addition to saving time, working with an approved shop can save you the hassle of filling out paperwork required by your insurance company. And, in most cases, insurance companies require their approved shops to guarantee the workmanship if there is a problem with the work down the road for as long as you own the vehicle. On the other hand, if you choose your own shop, you’ll have to deal with any future issues on your own.
When you use an auto repair shop recommended by your insurance carrier, they may offer a reduction in your deductible — the price you pay out of pocket for repairs. Such discounts can help when you’re already dealing with the stress of an auto accident and repairs. In fact, the option of using an approved shop is intended to help you avoid additional worries during a stressful time.
The body shop should provide an initial estimate, whether it’s an approved shop or not. However, if you select a shop that your insurance company recommends, the shop will be able to work directly with the insurance company to handle any additional costs that come up during the repairs. That way, you don’t have to pay upfront for other items that may arise and then wait for your insurer to reimburse you for those charges.
Rental Car Coverage
While your car is in the shop for repairs, you may need alternative transportation. Some insurance policies include rental car coverage for such situations. If you have chosen an approved repair shop and the repairs turn out to take longer than planned because of hidden damages, your insurance company often will work with you to extend your rental car agreement. Check your policy to determine exactly what it covers regarding rental cars during a repair.
Ask the Right Questions
Whether you use an auto shop approved by your insurance company or a self-selected shop, it’s important to make the selection carefully. When assessing your options, you may choose to have an independent shop or mechanic provide an estimate for the work to be done, so you can use it in making your decision.
To ensure that your vehicle is repaired properly and efficiently, you’ll need to ask a number of questions from your insurance company and the auto shop(s) you’re considering.
When you talk to your insurance company representatives, here are some questions you may want to ask:
- What information do I need to prepare to make a claim?
- What is covered, and how much is covered?
- Is a rental car available with my policy, and for how long?
- What do I need to do next?
- How does the process look from now until my car is made whole again?
- What shops in my area are approved by the insurance company?
When you evaluate an auto repair shop, consider asking the following questions:
- Are your technicians certified?
- Will you be using genuine manufacturer replacement parts?
- Do you offer a warranty on repairs?
- Your estimate is more/less expensive than another shop. Can you explain why? (Keep in mind that only one estimate is generally needed to determine damages, but if you choose to get more than one and they are quite different, this is a good question to ask.)
All body shops are not the same. That’s why choosing the right body shop is important. A reputable body shop employing trained, competent technicians, following recommended repair procedures, using the proper tools and equipment, and operating in an ethical manner can make a big difference not only in how your car is repaired but equally important, how you’ll feel about driving your car afterward.
To learn more about collision repair or find the shop nearest you, contact Wrektify Collision Repair in Madison. Our professional technicians will evaluate the damage and make the process as easy as possible.