Collision Repair Estimates & Insurance: 5 Things You Should Know
The complexity of navigating car collision insurance claims and getting a reliable repair estimate, added to the stress of being in a car accident, can make the collision repair process a nightmare.
But it doesn't have to be. Learning about what options are available to you is the best way to protect your vehicle investment and your rights as a collision insurance claimant. Also, not all auto collision repair shops offer the same services, so it's important to know what kind of services to ask for and how to navigate the collision estimate process.
1) Be safe - get professional collision repair. So your friend or neighbor does some auto body work in his spare time and is willing to cut you a great deal? When it comes to oil changes and decal jobs, there's nothing wrong with taking him up on his offer. Being in a car collision, however, means that serious damage may have been done to critical components in your vehicle's interior. While this damage may not be evident from the car's exterior, it could very likely pose serious safety problems. Scrimping on professional collision repair could endanger you, your family and other drivers on the road.
2) Auto insurance companies don't have to call the shots. Insurance companies often have preferred collision repair providers, and they can be pushy if you don't know your rights. After a collision, your insurance company may demand you visit their drive-in claims center before having it repaired. While this is an option to you, you may also leave your car at your preferred collision repair shop and ask your insurance company to inspect the vehicle there.
3) Insurance companies don't get to decide what collision repair shop you use. Insurance companies may not force you to use the services of their designated collision repair shop; choosing your own collision repair shop is your legal right. Additionally, you're not obligated by law to get multiple repair estimates, if you don't choose to do so.
4) Find out what is included in a collision repair estimate. It's very common for collision repair estimates to vary from shop to shop. This doesn't automatically mean that the shop providing the higher quote is trying to rip you off; on the contrary, a lower quote may not account for all the work necessary to make your vehicle 100% safe. Not all auto collision shops have the same equipment, either. Ask the shop manager how his or her quote differs from another quote you may have received, as well as what repairs are involved. Find out if the shop uses genuine OEM parts, and be sure to choose a collision repair facility that has UniBody frame straightening equipment, to ensure your vehicle will be safe on the road.
5) Let your auto collision repair center help you negotiate your insurance claim. Full service collision repair providers, like Southwest Collision, can help you file and navigate your collision insurance claim. Not only does this take much of the headache out of the whole collision insurance claim process, but it also ensures you have an advocate - someone who is on your side during what is so often a one-sided process. In many cases, your collision repair center can get you a better deal on your insurance claim than you would have gotten otherwise.
Have more questions about collision insurance claims or repair estimates? Browse more information on our website, or call us at 480-968-5915.