McQuiston: Choosing A Body Shop After Car Accident

By ALLEN MCQUISTON
The Jemez Agency

Getting into a car accident is a scary experience — and the moments after the accident are stressful. If your vehicle is damaged, you’ll need to file an insurance claim, but then what?

You may assume you’re in for further headaches as you choose a repair shop and work to get insurance reimbursement for the damages.

However, getting post-accident repairs made doesn’t have to be difficult.

Basically, you have two options: You can select an auto body shop from your insurance company’s list of approved shops or you can find your own body shop to handle the repairs.

While your insurance company is committed to fixing your vehicle after an accident, your particular situation will dictate which is the better option for you.

Keep in mind that the same technological advances that make your car better to drive also contribute to making repairs more complicated – and potentially, more expensive. Here are some things to consider when making this decision.

Why use an insurance company-recommended body shop?

In addition to saving time, working with an approved shop can save you the hassle of filling out paperwork required by your insurance company. And, in most cases, insurance companies require their approved shops to guarantee their workmanship if there is a problem with the work down the road, for as long as you own the vehicle. On the other hand, if you choose your own shop, you’ll have to deal with any future issues on your own .

Whether you choose an approved shop or choose your own, the body shop should provide an initial estimate and then  work directly with the insurance company to handle any additional costs that come up during the repairs. That way, you don’t have to pay up front for other items that may arise and then wait for your insurer to reimburse you for those charges.

While your car is in the shop for repairs, you may need alternative transportation. Some insurance policies include rental car coverage for such situations. Check your policy to find out exactly what it covers regarding rental cars during repair.

Opting to use an auto repair shop that’s already approved by your insurance company can save you time and possibly money. That’s because you don’t have to search for the shop, get an estimate, or wait for an inspection; your insurance company has already agreed to work with the shop. Because you save some time on the front end, working with a recommended shop also may help you get your car back sooner.

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