Fix your Car after an Accident
You’ve had a fender bender. The insurance company has been contacted. Everyone is safe and hopefully uninjured. You are about to go on the “fix your car” journey. There are some things to look out for when repairing your car.
DO: Take your time
You want to fix your car a quickly as possible. There are likely more body repair shops in your area than you can count. So finding the best one to fit your needs and stay within your budget is something to consider. You can find body shops online and look at the ratings and feedback. Talk to friends and co-workers to find out about their experiences. Taking your time could save you headaches later.
DO: Be ready for sticker shock
Auto body repair is expensive. Make no mistake. Be prepared to be surprised at the estimate. Today’s cars have “crumple zones” built into the bodies. These zones are designed to “crumple” to absorb impact and keep you from serious injury. When they crumple, they are extremely expensive to repair or replace. Other parts are costly too. Some headlight bulbs can cost more than $100.
DO: Get more than one estimate
Prices vary widely among body shops. Most insurance companies have a list of approved businesses. These shops have an onsite estimator that the insurance company will probably approve. However, it does not hurt to check other shops, especially if you are paying for the entire repair. If you choose an unapproved shop, the insurance company will send an estimator to you. This service is usually free.
DON’T: Forget to ask questions
The shop is probably trustworthy. However, sometimes they forget details that may be important. When you are shown the estimate, ask if less expensive parts are available. Ask for a timeline for the repair. Ask if the estimate is a contract and if expenses could be added later. Asking questions can potentially save you big money.
DON’T: Forget about the rental car
Many insurance companies provide for a rental car even if the accident was your fault. You may have a co-pay, but it may not be very expensive. You will certainly need a car while yours is being repaired. It’s best to go with the least expensive car that will fit your needs. You will only be using it for a maximum of a few weeks.
DON’T: Let the shop fix something without your permission
Make sure the body shop knows that they have to have your permission to do any repair. Some unscrupulous businesses will repair something not related to the estimate and charge you extra for it when the final bill is presented. Make a sign off a requirement of your agreement. When you receive the bill; read it carefully. If there is a discrepancy, don’t be afraid to question it.
Minor accidents are a hassle. For the most part, the auto body industry is honest, reliable, and able to put your car back on the road quickly. However, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and even a lot of money if you put the above do’s and don’ts into practice. Finding the best shop make take some time, but it will be worth it.