When you are involved in an accident, after making sure that no one is injured, the first thing on everyone’s mind is repairing the damage to their vehicle.
Most people will contact their insurance company or the other parties insurance company, open a claim, have an adjuster visit them or take the vehicle to a claims office and have the damage assessed. At this point the insurance company will recommend a shop to them, usually a shop with whom the insurance company has an agreement. This agreement usually consists of the insurance company forwarding work to the shop in exchange for the shop giving the insurance company discounts on labor, parts and materials, and agreeing to repair the vehicle according to the insurance company’s guidelines. The insurance company will tell the customer that by using their reference shop they can streamline the payment process and receive consistent and guaranteed work. However, this is not always the case. Insurance companies are in the business of making money for themselves and their shareholders so they will have their adjusters write estimates which may not include all the correct parts and all of the labor necessary to return the car to it’s pre-accident condition.
In fact some insurance companies have changed the wording in what the finished product should be. The standard for repairs used to be that the vehicle was returned to pre-accident condition, now some companies state pre-accident APPEARANCE which allows them to use aftermarket parts or used parts which may have been damaged in the repair. They also will cut labor and refinish hours in the estimate by overriding the computer program for the estimate by making certain labor procedures “judgment” items.
By no means do all insurance companies and their adjusters do this, however those that do and the shops that work for them cut corners on the repairs and the customer is the one who suffers. You as a customer have the right to choose the shop you wish to repair your vehicle, but if you are not knowledgeable about repairs how do you choose one?
First, check with friends who have had repairs done on their vehicle and get their input. Was the shop knowledgeable, were they courteous, did they take the time to make you feel comfortable about the repair process, did they keep you informed daily on the progress of the car, were they willing to argue with the insurance company if necessary to get the parts and services necessary to do the job right, was the car repair done in a timely manner and was the car returned clean and free from overspray, compound ,dust and dirt?
Would they visit this shop again? Second, check online with sites like Yelp which post reviews of their clients and choose to visit the websites and the facilities in person to get a feel for them. Third bigger is not always better. Large multi site facilities may not have the personal attention to detail you may desire in a shop. Facilities with a turn over of 40-100 cars a month cannot possibly devote the time to making sure your job is always done right.
In the end your personal impressions of the shop owner and staff, coupled with referrals from friends and checking with sites like Yelp which post reviews will give you the ability to establish a good business and personal relationship with a shop which will last into the future.
Contact Auto Perfectionist Ltd today if you are in need of an auto body shop in California.