So you’ve got some car damage, and the insurance company has accepted your claim. Now they’re giving you a list of “approved” shops to work with for repairs. But you aren’t sure if going with the insurance pick is right for you…don’t stress, you aren’t alone. Plenty of vehicle owners want a second opinion on their car’s damage and repairs.
If you’re looking to find the best auto body repair shop for your situation, don’t worry. You can apply some of the following steps to help you find the perfect place for getting your car or truck back on the road for the right quality and price.
Understand the Insurance Agenda
A lot of people think they’re required to go with the insurance company’s pick for a collision repair shop. But, that isn’t the case. Insurance companies keep a list of “in-network” providers to suggest to their clients. These providers typically operate on an agreed-upon rate or discount for the insurance provider. Because the insurance is set up with the “in-network” provider already, it’s typically cheaper and faster for the insurance company to have you go to them.
But you do not have to choose these auto shops. Though in-network shops do come with some benefits, usually including some type of warranty on their work, sometimes faster service, and easier claims processing, that doesn’t mean they’re the best shop out there.
Remember, the insurance company’s prerogative is to save as much money as possible while still providing coverage to you under your claim. If they can work with a cheaper provider, they’ll push you to do it. Before choosing to work in or out of network, be sure and check out the other suggestions on this list to pick the best option for you.
Choose a Certified Shop
When looking to find an autobody mechanic for collision repair or any car service, always select a certified shop. There are many certifications an auto body shop can earn. Brand-certifications (i.e. Ford, Toyota, etc.) indicate that the auto collision specialists have worked with a manufacturer to gain certification from training. Others, like Aluminum Certified collision repair, meaning they are trained to handle specific materials. Investigate any certifications a shop may or may not have and decide what you think an auto shop should be certified in for you to pick them.
Remember the Reputation
Regardless of what the insurance company may think of an auto repair shop (remember, price matters more than customer service for insurance!), it’s a good idea to do some research on reviews for the auto body shops you have in mind. Internet reviews from third parties like Google or Yelp.com will usually give more honest reviews than anything on the shop’s website, where positive reviews tend to be shared by the company. Listen to the word of mouth, ask friends and families what shop they would recommend, and go from there!
Visit in Person Before Choosing
If you’ve done the research and narrowed down a couple of auto body shops, be sure to visit them in person. Visiting in person will give you a feel for their customer service, clientele, and general environment of the shop. Is the shop busy, or are there no cars on the lot? Do the customers seem happy and content with their service, or are there a lot of complaints going on about lateness? In-person visits will give you more realistic expectations for the type of service and environment you can expect during your repairs.
Choose Quality Over Fast & Cheap
It’s important to always choose quality work over fast and cheap work. Why? Quality work will last longer and is usually backed by an excellent warranty. Cheaper service means less-effective results. While it may save you a few bucks to go to a cheaper auto collision shop, for now, there’s a chance that a shoddy repair job will lead to more expensive repairs later on.
A solid bumper repair or good auto body paint job should last decades when done properly. It’s better to invest in your auto body repair than risk spending an arm and leg later to fix an improperly conducted repair again.
Additionally, be sure and find a collision center that can handle every aspect of the collision repair. A versatile collision specialist should offer a variety of services, from body kits, car paint restoration, and dent repairs. Be sure to pick an auto body shop that has the certifications, reputation, and environment that makes them worth the price!