A common question is, “Do I need more than one estimate?” Let me start by saying, in the state of California, an insurance company cannot require you to use any auto body shop that you don’t want to. That said, the insurance company may require you to go to a different body shop to get the initial estimate. This is just for the insurance company to start the process and to document your claim. This other body shop will have been trained and connected electronically with the insurance company. The body shop is doing the work for the possibility that you just choose them for convenience. After you’ve started your claim, the choice of the shop is 100% yours to make.
Now that we said you do get to choose, you may choose to visit more than one shop. The transaction of getting estimates is primarily price driven. There is an enormous difference in the quality of shops. You want to make sure and make the right choice to restore the value and safety of your car. Price should not be the leading decision maker.
When you are searching for a shop you need to look at more than price. Your car is a large investment and it’s important that you restore it to pre-accident condition to maintain its value and the safety. There are better ways to choose a shop verses price.
ASK A FRIEND
A good place to start when searching for an auto body shop is with friends and family. Often you’ll know someone who can give you a referral to a shop where they have had a good experience. The experience of others doesn’t guarantee your experience will be the same, but it’s a good start.
After you’ve had a good referral, it’s a good idea to check their on-line reputation. If a shop has a large number of positive reviews, it’s a good sign. Everyone gets some negative reviews. Look through the reviews. If there are a lot of good reviews and a few bad ones, they might have had an employee who was a problem, or some other market condition. Look to see what the majority of people say and get a feel for the experience you’ll likely have.
GET A FEEL FOR THE SHOP
Once, you got a short list of shops, you should go to the shop and look at the shop. Is it professional looking? Is it clean? Are the restrooms clean? You can learn a lot about the way your car will be treated by the condition of the shop.
LOOK FOR PROPER TRAINING
Now you have a feel for the shop and the experience you are going to have. It’s time that you ask some key questions. You’ll want to know if they are I-CAR certified. I-CAR is the leading industry certification of ongoing training. You might ask if they subscribe to the factory repair specifications. If the answer is no, you must find another shop. The importance of restoring your car back to the original factory specifications is the most important thing a body shop must do. This is quite literally a matter of life and death. It’s hard to believe, but as crazy as it seems, over 50% of the shops in this country do not have access to the factory repair specifications or even know that they need them. With the lightweight materials being used to improve gas mileage, the safety of your vehicle is largely in the way it absorbs the inertia of the accident. It’s critical that it be repaired correctly.
If you’ve receive a good referral, checked further for on-line reputation, visited the shop and verified their ability to repair your car, you’re pretty safe with the choice you are making. If at this time, you choose to shop price, it may make a difference.
If you are searching for a shop in Auburn, Chico, Paradise, Red Bluff or Woodland, stop by a Collision Pros and let us show you why we are a good choice to repair your vehicle.