Hopefully, choosing a collision repair shop isn’t something you’re too experienced with – we’d all rather avoid crashing or damaging our cars altogether! But, when it happens, choosing where to get your car repaired after an accident shouldn’t be a stressful process.
When you get advice from multiple sources, it can be tough to wade through it all and know whose advice is best!
Tips from your Manufacturer
Your manufacturer might suggest going to a dealer or to a shop that uses Original Equipment Manufacturer(OEM) replacement auto parts to ensure that any vehicle carrying their name will live up to the safety and performance standards they intended. In some cases, OEM parts are the right choice, but they’re not your only option!
Tips from your Insurance Company
Insurance companies might suggest going with a shop who is affiliated with their direct repair program (DRP). Usually, Insurance companies who facilitate these programs do so they have a network of pre-approved auto shops to recommend to customers. In order to be pre-approved, the shops meet certain requirements, like insurance-set quality standards, warranties or guarantees, and an organized repair and payment process.
Keep in mind that in order to meet these requirements, shops are working with your insurance company to keep costs low for the insurance company and move the process along faster by using their systems. This may or may not be in your best interest, so it’s up to you to ask the right questions.
Choosing a Shop on Your Own
Choose a repair shop that fits you and your vehicle! Consider the following factors:
● Your budget
● Your insurance policy and coverage
● Recommendations from friends and family
● Online reviews
● Compare estimates
● Follow your intuition
Auto Repair Certifications
Some shop and repair technicians have specific certifications, like ASE or I-CAR. There is no standard, but having a certification from a reputable facility (you should be able to google it) is a good idea.
If you are a woman, there are some shops that are certified female friendly, often by Ask Patty.
Cost of Auto Body Repair
If your insurance company is covering the cost of your repairs, let the repair shop know, but remember that your insurance company cannot legally tell you where to have your vehicle repaired.
If you’re covering the costs yourself, remember that the cost of labor and parts can vary. Consider that overhead costs can affect what you’re charged, and some locations are more expensive than others.
If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask! One sign of a great collision repair shop is that they’re willing to engage with you, answer questions, and explain what’s going on with your car.