Choosing a Repair Shop
You should look for a shop that takes pride in their appearance by keeping a clean, up-to-date and organized facility. Ask for recommendations from family and friends. Make sure the shop has modern technology with frame racks, electronic measuring systems and downdraft paint booths to cure the paint. Also make sure the shop has proper welding equipment (Mig welders and resistance spot welders). You can also ask for a tour of the shop to verify these things.
Choose a center that is certified by either the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) or the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Certification from one of these two organizations improves reliability and minimizes the possibility for shoddy workmanship.
Never choose a collision repair shop based on prices. Even if you have to pay a deductible, quality is more important in the long run, especially if the repairs needed are extensive or delicate.
Know Your Rights
You're Ultimately in Charge...Exercise Your Right to Choose
You have the right to go to the repair shop of your choice. No insurance company can require you to go to a particular shop.
You are not required by law to obtain more than one estimate or appraisal.
Some insurance companies may want you to visit their drive-in claims center before having your car repaired. You can do this, or you may leave your car at your collision repair shop and ask that the insurance company inspect the car there.
Never drive a car that could be unsafe because of damages.
Let the collision repair shop you choose help handle and negotiate your claim with the insurance company, this will lead to a better estimate and a quicker repair process.
Differences in repair estimates are common. A lower estimate may not include all necessary work. If you're not sure why one estimate is different from another you've received, ask your shop representative.
Choose a shop that has uni-body repair equipment and certified (by I-CAR or ASE, for example) technicians.
Ask if the shop will be using genuine, manufacturer (OEM) replacement parts.
Ask if the shop offers a repair warranty.
Your car is the second largest investment you're likely to make. Preserve its value and your safety by having it repaired professionally.