If you have been involved in a collision or just have some minor exterior damage to your car from wear and tear, you will need to look into the various body shops in your area that can make the necessary repairs.
Estimates: Most body shops will offer free estimates for their work, and getting several quotes is the best way to avoid overcharges. Get all of the details in writing. Even though it’s just an estimate, you want to be able to compare apples to apples among different mechanics. In some cases, one mechanic may even try to match an estimate if they can.
Experience and reputation for repair work: Even in the digital age, nothing beats word-of-mouth recommendations. You can also check with your local consumer organizations to get a better understanding of their reputation. To narrow the field even further, you need to know the extent of the damage. If the damage is structural, make sure your choice has the experience needed to take care of all the repairs and not just the exterior issues.
Insurance company relationship: Most insurance companies have built up relationships with specific auto body shops. These contracts help the insurance provider save money because they have negotiated lower parts and labor rates. The business your insurance company recommends also meets certain training and certification requirements. This, however, is just a recommendation. If you do not feel completely comfortable and confident with their work, do not be afraid to tell the insurance representative that you want to go with another shop. In the end, they must respect your wishes. It’s the law.
Warranty: A reputable business should have no problem standing behind their work. There may be separate metalwork, painting, decal, and mechanical repair warranties, providing comprehensive coverage. Choose a shop that will guarantee their parts and service. Some will even provide a lifetime guarantee for certain services.
Other services: Ask what other services are included or available for an additional fee. While some may focus their work to structural and exterior detailing, other shops may be able to take care of your car’s inspection, oil change, or other maintenance measures.
Even though auto body shops are not needed until an accident happens, it pays to do a little research beforehand, so that when the time comes, you are prepared. Some auto body shops even offer 24/7 emergency towing services, which can be a lifesaver if your car is too damaged to drive. With some research, your car will be back in driving condition for a fair price.