An important step in moving forward after a car accident is getting a repair estimate that you and your insurance company can accept. An adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money, so you must be your own advocate to make sure you get good repair work and every penny from your insurance company that you deserve. Here are some tips for getting your repair estimate following a car crash.
Get Several Estimates
If the car is drivable, there may be no rush to get repairs. Get written estimates from several shops. Look for reliable, meticulous auto body repair shops with clean, modern facilities and friendly staff. Make sure they examine the vehicle carefully to find hidden damage before offering an estimate. If the car isn’t driveable, getting several estimates is more difficult. Still, if you don’t feel good about a repair shop, have the car moved to a shop that makes you feel more comfortable.
Prod Your Insurance Company
Insurance adjusters may have dozens of cases on their books and can be slow to act. Call frequently to follow up about your assessment. If your insurance company has a drive-through assessment center in your area, that may be the quickest option. If your car has been sitting for more than a week without being examined, you may be able to go ahead with repairs and get reimbursed later, as long as you have at least two written estimates. In this case, be prepared for the adjuster to accept the lowest estimate even if you pay more.
Question Low-Ball Estimates
Insurance adjusters sometimes direct clients to low-end repair shops that provide low-ball estimates. Be wary. Shops recommended by insurance companies may offer low bids in exchange for other compensation from the insurance company, which is often illegal. You don’t have to use the shop your insurance company recommends and should always get multiple estimates from unrelated repair shops, even if you like the first one.
Choose Experience and Certification
When deciding which shops to visit for an estimate and which one will ultimately repair your vehicle, select experience and certification. An experienced shop has been in business many years and is a recognized name in the neighborhood. You will get the best work when you select a shop with mechanics and technicians that are certified to work on your brand of vehicle. This is especially important for luxury, hybrid, or electric vehicles, which can be harder to work with.
Getting auto repair estimates after a car accident is a hassle, but it’s possible to get accurate estimates as well as fair treatment from your insurance company when you’re diligent, thorough, and careful. A little extra time and effort now will help make sure that you can enjoy and rely on your repaired car when you get it back.