After a car accident, the most important thing is to make sure everyone is okay. If people have been injured, they need medical attention and time to heal. When you are one of the injured people, you do not need the added stress of figuring out how to find the collision repair shop to take care of the repairs needed for your vehicle. Even though an insurance company pays most of the bill for repairs, you should not just sit back and let them take care of everything. You need to have some input into the repair process to be sure you get the best work done at the best price. Here are a few tips to make sure your car is returned to its pre-crash condition.
Get Multiple Estimates
The insurance company sends an appraiser to inspect the vehicle and determine the amount of damage it received. They will then determine how much the repairs should cost. However, not all appraisers are equal. It is best to have different auto body repair shops look over the vehicle and give you an estimate on its repair. A high estimate does not mean more work will be done, or that it will be done better than any other facility. A low estimate does not mean something was overlooked or the work will be less than well done. Look over all the estimates and what work is included. You have the right to choose the repair shop of your choice. Choose the one with the estimate that seems to do the most work and has a good reputation.
Ask for OEM Parts
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are the parts made specifically for your vehicle. They were designed to fit perfectly and to operate efficiently. Unfortunately, these parts are generally more expensive than after-market parts. It is always best to ask for OEM parts when the insurance company foots the bill. The insurance company may feel the cost of OEM parts is not justified. You may elect to pay the difference in price between after-market parts and OEM parts. While OEM parts are always best, consider the overall condition of the vehicle and how much longer you expect to keep it before paying the extra when cash is tight.
Ask About Equipment and Personnel
The damage done to a vehicle in a crash is almost never strictly cosmetic. When the frame, suspension, or drivetrain parts are damaged, the repair shop needs to have the proper equipment to do the repairs. Ask if the shop has the equipment and if the equipment is up to date. Not all vehicles have a unibody frame like new models have. Make sure the equipment in the shop will work for your vehicle. In addition to the proper equipment, it is important to know that the mechanics who will be working on your vehicle are trained and certified to operate everything. If you are not sure what equipment is needed and if the equipment needs special training, you can ask the insurance appraiser.
Check the Warranty
While you hope the work will be well done and complete, accidents to happen. The insurance company is not responsible for paying for repairs due to faulty work or parts. Make sure the repair shop offers a warranty on the work done and the parts used so you do not end up paying more money to have your car restored. When you have been in a crash, contact Jim's Auto Body. We will gladly work with your insurance company so you don't have to worry about all the paperwork. If there is a discrepancy in the work to be done, we will negotiate that with the insurance company as well. We have the equipment and technicians to ensure your car returns to you in its pre-crash condition, or better.