Getting in a car accident can be overwhelming and flustering. The events following an accident will include speaking with your car insurance, whether you are at fault for the accident or not. Another step is searching the internet for a “collision repair near me.”
The process of getting your car fixed after an accident can vary. It is likely that the police will be the first people to be at the scene of the accident and be the ones to inspect the accident. Then you will get an accident report that you can then take to your insurance. After you inform the insurance of the collision, some insurance companies want to send an inspector of their own, but other times they will leave it up to you to get an estimate of the damage. You may be wondering “how do I go about finding a shop to do collision repair near me?”
Use an insurance-recommended body shop
A convenient option that your insurance may offer is giving you a list of auto body shops to take your car for repairs following an accident. This is known as a direct repair program facility or DRP; these shops have a connection with insurance companies, so it comes with advantages:
- One-stop shop. Since direct repair programs have an affiliation with car insurance, you can take your car to one of these shops for an estimate, get it repaired, and receive a rental car in the meantime.
- Quick repairs and easy payments. You will be able to get your car fixed quickly and have less paperwork to complete.
- Quality standards. Insurance companies screen the DRP facilities to ensure they meet a certain level of quality for the customers.
On the other hand, getting your car repaired at an auto shop you know can be just as easy. If your car insurance is planning on covering the whole repair cost, you can easily receive an estimate, submit it to them, and they will send you a check to cover the cost of repair when you take it in.
Reasons to not choose a DRP facility
- Prior relationships. When you get in an accident and you know of a collision repair near me, you may not want to choose a shop that your insurance chooses and would rather choose one that you know you can trust.
- DRP facility shops will not use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. These shops often use aftermarket car parts to reduce the cost of repairs for the insurance company. You may want to choose a shop that will use parts designed specifically for your car.
How to know which auto body shop to choose
If you decide to take your car to an auto shop not recommended by your insurance, it’s important to know what to look for when choosing an body shop.
The biggest reason people typically choose the auto shop they do is because they either have had good experiences with the shop in the past or people they know have given good recommendations for the shop. If you are looking for a shop for collision repair near me, it’s important to do your research on their services.
- Get multiple estimates
Don’t settle for the first auto shop you find when searching “collision repair near me.” If you want to avoid an auto shop overcharging you for a repair, it’s smart to take your car to a few different shops to get a quote from each one.
You should not necessarily go for the cheapest one either. If an auto shop gives you a super cheap quote compared to the other shops, that may be a red flag that they are not going to fix it correctly. Be willing to spend money on the repair but not necessarily spend the most.
- Ask the necessary questions
When searching for a shop for “collision repair near me,” be sure to find out all of the necessary information regarding the work they will do.
- What kind of warranty comes with the repair work?
- How long will the warranty last and what will it cover?
- How long will the auto repair take?
- This will depend on the extent of the damage and if the auto body shop has the parts needed to repair the damage
- Does the auto body shop offer rental cars or loaner vehicles?
- If you are going to be without a car for an extended amount of time, you may want to ask if the shop has a rental facility on or near the property that they will arrange a rental for you.
- Is your car covered while it’s in the shop?
- Does the auto body shop carry fire and theft insurance in case your car is damaged, destroyed, stolen, or burglarized while it’s in the shop?
- Will the paint match the rest of your car?
- Cars usually have a paint code on a plate located in a door jam, under the hood, or in the trunk so you know the exact color if it needs to be repainted. Be sure the auto body shop has that color in stock and isn’t going to use one that is similar
- What is the payment policy?
- Are the technicians certified?
- If the shop has certifications, they often hang them framed in the waiting area. This can be a good sign that it’s a reputable auto body shop.
- Do you use aftermarket or original equipment manufacturer parts?
- Do you have experience working on this type of vehicle?
- Your estimate is more/less expensive than others. Can you explain why?