1. Do I have the right to choose a body shop?
Yes, the vehicle owner has the right of choice and be sure to look for a lifetime written warranty when choosing.
Remember, insurance companies cannot insist on a particular shop. Keep in mind you don’t need three estimates as any body shop can work with any insurance company, but be sure that the shop works for you and not the insurance company. According to Nevada Revised Statute 690B.016, you not only have the legal right to choose the shop that repairs your vehicle, but your insurance company is required by law to notify you of that right.
Your insurance company cannot insist that you use a particular shop nor require you to get more than one estimate. Ultimately choose a shop that you feel comfortable doing business with. Your vehicle, your choice.
2. How do I choose a collision repair shop?
Look for shops that take pride in their appearance by keeping a clean, up to date, and organized facility. Make sure the shop has modern technology in the form of frame racks with measuring systems, downdraft paint booths with smart cure baking cycles to cure the paint, and the proper welding equipment (MIG welders and pro spotters). Be sure to ask for a tour of the shop to verify these things as well as the shop’s certifications and license.
3. Why do estimates vary?
Reasons can be the amount of time spent on an estimate, type of parts used (new factory, aftermarket, and or used) as well as the fact that some shops prefer to mask off trim items when painting while the higher quality shops will remove them which gives it a factory look when completed.
An estimate is actually the “blueprint” for repair, so it should be very specific as to what will be done to the car. Always ask the estimator to explain, in detail, what damage was done and how it will be repaired. This explanation should match your estimate.
4. What is the truth regarding deductible waivers?
Some shops have been advertising that they will waive the deductible if you select their shop. Be very careful, there are two potential problems with this practice:
1. Although it is not prohibited by state law, waiving the deductible may be a violation of your contract agreement with your insurance company. Always check with your company before accepting any offers to waive your deductible. If the violation is detected, your insurance company may bill you for the deductible.
2. According to a recent article by an Officer of Nevada Attorney General’s office, companies that waive deductible have a tendency to fall into the temptation of padding their bill, take shortcuts on repairs, and use inappropriate parts to make up the difference. How else are they suppose to recoup the lost income from waiving the deductible?
5. Do I have to settle for aftermarket body parts as my insurance may have estimated for?
Your policy may include their option to use these parts. They may tell you up front if you want original manufacturer parts you will have to pay the difference. However, if these aftermarket body parts are used and they don’t meet factory specs for your car, the insurance is obligated to pay for original parts at that point, as promise to return your car to as close as pre-loss condition as possible.
6. How should I inspect my vehicle after repairs?
First, ask the shop for the current copy of the repair bill listing all parts (including the type of part) installed and labor performed, a copy of their warranty, and any specs sheets documenting the frame or wheel alignments if applicable.
Next, check all electronic accessories, pay attention to details such as making sure the doors, hood, and trunk open and close smoothly. In daylight, check all freshly painted areas for good color match, in the shade check for any dust or imperfections in the new paint, and check the door openings for any overspray. Be sure to check all moldings, and body trim for overspray as well.
While driving home, listen for any unusual noises and test the handling. If you’re not satisfied, report it to the repair facility immediately. If you feel they’re not cooperating fully, bring your dissatisfactions to the attention of your insurance company or Better Business Bureau. You’re not in this alone.