After an accident, getting an estimate is the first step to having your car repaired. Some insurance companies may send out an adjustor to estimate damages and give you a check, or they may refer you to their preferred shop. Others request that you obtain estimates from several shops. Although you might be tempted to accept a quick resolution offered by your insurance company for you can have your car back, you have the right to have your car repaired to your satisfaction, so you should obtain comparative estimates from several sources. You may find your comparison-shopping eye-opening. |
4 Key Questions to Ask When Getting Estimates
Body shops have different approaches to fixing your car, which may be apparent as you obtain estimates. What you find out can help you determine whether your insurance company has made you a fair offer for the work that needs to be done. You should ask:
- What do you think is wrong with the car and how will you go about fixing it? Most shops use a line item approach to repairs, but there can be differences in what shops include in the number of steps they use to complete job. To repair a dented front quarter panel, for example, one shop might remove all adjacent parts to eliminate paint overspray, while another shop might tape off nearby parts -a less time-consuming process. This will impact your estimate, so make sure to ask about the process.
- How much do you charge per hour? Most body shops use a reference guide that estimates for the number of hours involved to make repairs, but hourly rates vary. A dealer might charge more than a neighborhood independent shop, just as a facility located in an expensive part of town and has a large staff may charge higher rates than a smaller operation that pays cheap rent and only has a handful of employees. You will have to decide whether it's worth paying more to go to a shop in a good location with a large staff.
- How do you handle unseen damage? Accidents often produce unseen damage that the repair shop might not be able to discern at the estimate stage. Make sure to ask how the shop handles damage uncovered during repair. Your insurance company will usually agree to pay additional costs, once they sign off on them.
- What kind of parts you use? Original equipment parts, refurbished parts, or third-party aftermarket parts may be able to do the job for you, but there is a large price difference. OEM parts are usually the best choice, although they are more expensive. Make sure to ask what type of parts the shop will be using so you do not get overcharged. At the estimate stage, tell the shop you want to see the old parts and be provided with evidence that other services you were charged for, such as straightening the frame, were performed.
Choosing the Right Body Shop
Unless you have had personal experience with a particular shop or a referral from a friend, you may have to base your decision on the facts provided to you, along with your gut reaction. Make sure to try to reconcile the two. The cheapest shop may cut corners, while the most expensive one might be trying to pay their overhead. After considering the recommendations of your insurance company, and getting an estimate from several places, ultimately the best shop to fix your car is the one you trust most.
Related Articles -
Auto Body Shop, Collision Repair, Auto Dent Removal, Bumper Repair, Auto Painting,