Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance.
You've just had an accident and go to a body shop for an estimate. Unless they explain all the lines to you, it is likely there will be things you do not understand listed there. Please do not be afraid to ask them to go through it with you so you understand everything…if they don’t want to do this, you can always come to us and we will be happy to help you understand it.
Here at Quality Paint & Body we write most of our estimates with OEM “Original Equipment Manufacturer” parts. These parts typically fit and perform best as they are made by the manufacturer of your vehicle. Aftermarket parts are generic parts produced by independent manufacturers who manufacture replacement crash parts and sell them cheaper than the original equipment manufacturer. A “used” part is just that, a part taken off a usually totaled vehicle. A lot of insurance companies will only pay for the cheaper parts to save money…even on newer vehicles…you can either pay the difference yourself, accept the non OEM parts and have no additional out of pocket, or try to argue with the insurance company to use OEM parts. Sometimes these parts are just fine to use. If you have concerns, please bring them up to your estimator and discuss them. They will know what parts are best to use.
There are MANY different factors that go into an estimate…labor rates, different estimating systems with different labor allowances, and repairing something vs. replacing it. Not every shop is run the exact same way or charges the exact same times and amounts for labor. If you would like to know why your estimates are different feel free to ask. I am sure the estimator would be happy to explain it to you. Remember, cheaper is usually not better.
This unfortunately is a tough question to answer. There are so many variables that can go into a repair such as finding hidden damages at teardown…having to order additional parts and not knowing how long they will take to arrive…many different factors can affect the length of your repair. They should already be doing this but ask them to keep you updated every couple days. The more communication you have with your shop, the better you will feel about your repair and will be more informed of how long your vehicle will be there.
Do I have the right to select the shop of my choice to do the repairs?
YES! YOU decide where to have your vehicle repaired. Sometimes insurance companies try to "steer" a customer to one of their DRP (Direct Repair Program) preferred shops for repairs. This is illegal! Insurance company preferred shops make up a network that is similar to a medical HMO. When these preferred shops are used, the insurance company may receive labor concessions, require lower labor rates, or insist on the use of inferior parts to save money. These HMO type networks may ultimately lower the cost of the repair but at what cost in quality and safety? Quality Paint & Body does not participate in any DRP relationships, keeping our focus on you, the vehicle owner. We feel that you deserve the best and safest possible repair, not the cheapest. We will not sacrifice quality for a quick repair, and we will not cut corners to satisfy any insurance company guidelines.Insurance companies also can not require you to get more than one estimate. You can get one estimate from the shop of your choice and submit that to your insurance company. They can negotiate with your repair facility. Know your rights! Do not let your insurance company bully you. We can assist you with your insurance claims process after your estimate is completed. Feel free to contact us! 715-356-3889 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Estimates for Collision Repair Can Cost You Time,
Money and Even Your Own Safety
Most likely, you have seen ads for auto insurance apps on TV promoting photo based estimates. All you need to do is take a picture on your phone and send it to your insurance company! These companies tout that this saves you so much time since you are not waiting for an appraiser to assess your damage and you get your check quicker…therein lies the problem: a photo can only show so much. While you may be happy about getting a settlement sooner, it almost always increases the time it takes to make repairs and it canpotentially keep you from getting full payment.
Auto Damages are Almost Always More than Skin Deep
Let’s say you’re involved in an accident.The insurance company tells you to take a photo or two and send it to them.They write an estimate based off only what they can see in your pictures which is usually surface damage only. Cars are getting more and more complicated and there are so many components underneath these panels that can not be seen in a simple photo. We have found nearly all these estimates are poorly written and when your vehicle is torn down and further inspected there is almost always much more extensive damages and costs involved. Which leads us to the next point…
When additional damages are discovered, we must prepare what is called a supplement and send that to your insurance company for approval. They take a few days to get back to us, we almost always need to negotiate with them, THEN we can finally order additional parts if needed, which take a few days to get to us and then we cancontinue your job. So, an average repair that should have taken a few days could stretch out into a week or more doing things this way leaving you without a car longer than expected and increased cycle times for the shop. Taking yourvehicle to an auto body shop for a professional, thorough estimate can avoid most of these problems.
What if the damage doesn’t look that bad, and you decide to pocket the insurance check? Whether you decide not to repair the vehicle or do the repair yourself, this still leaves less obvious damage unrepaired: lights and sensors may not be working; or wheel, brake,frame or suspension damage could make your car handle unpredictably. If there are hidden damages and you pocket that check that was paid to you based on a photo only estimate you are also potentially not getting the full amount you deserve for your damages. Often, they write these photo estimates with lower labor rates, leave out additional items needed to complete your repair and can write it with inferior parts such as aftermarket or used so the estimate will be lower, banking on you just pocketing that check and they are off the hookfor the rest.
Taking your car to a professional autobody repair center for an accurate estimate can save you from dealing with all these problems. Your trusted shop will also fight on your behalf to ensure you get a proper repair done to your vehicle and bring it back to pre-accident condition.