Let’s face it, San Diego auto body repair can be overwhelmingly expensive! In fact, even a seemingly minor accident can result in repair bills that take your breath away. That is why Benny’s Auto Body (Bennysautobody.com) has put together the following top seven recommendations which, if followed, can help to make the damage bearable.
Recommendation #1: Rethink Your Deductible.
It is SO tempting to raise your collisions deductible from $500 to $1,000. With the lower monthly premiums it is easy to think that you’d be able to save up a little extra in case the deductible came to more than that. However, when it comes right down to the wire, chances are that $1,000 is going to be looking like a pretty large sum, especially if the accident was your fault. If it was your fault you will be very grateful indeed that you opted for a lesser deductible, though you can probably plan to see your insurance rates soar once the dust has settled. So double check your insurance policy now and make sure that your deductible is set for the lowest amount that you can manage to make the blow less severe when the bill is handed to you.
Recommendation #2: Know Your Rights.
Most insurance companies will give you a list of “approved” auto body repair shops. However, know that the State of California allows the consumer to choose the auto body repair shop of their choice. Let me repeat that, you cannot be refused insurance for using an auto body repair shop other than one of those listed on the “approved” list by your insurance. In fact, many insurance companies are in league with various auto body shops. The shops promise to keep the costs low (using second hand parts or unauthorized labor) in order to keep the prices down so that they insurance company does not have to pay as much out of hand. This is unethical behavior, but unfortunately is quite common, especially with those companies that like to advertise that their rates are the lowest in any given area, for lower rates require that they not charge as much to their customers for repair bills.
Recommendation #3: Get a Second Opinion.
Just as you would ask for a second opinion from a doctor who gives you a diagnosis of cancer or some other terminal illness, make sure that you get a second opinion from another auto body repair shop. You have the right to ask for as many estimates as you feel are necessary in order to find a shop where you feel that you are getting the best end of the deal and whose work you can trust. Make sure that the estimates cover the same repairs, including all labor and parts and disposal fees. Go over the fine print with a fine tooth comb so as to ensure that there will not be any surprises hidden away when you are presented with the final bill.
Recommendation #4: Know Your Parts.
It helps tremendously if you familiarize yourself with the parts that are going to need to be ordered in order to do the work at hand. This way you can ensure that you get original equipment manufacturer parts instead of the salvage or generic replacement parts that some shops use in order to keep their costs down.
Recommendation #5: Know Your Shop.
Be prepared to do your homework when it comes to the auto body repair shop that you will be dealing with. Go to your local Better business Bureau site and plug in the company’s information in order to check the shop’s reputation and complaint history to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable company.
Recommendation #6: Check Your Car Rental Coverage
Auto body repairs can take a significant length of time to complete. Many times it may be necessary for you to take advantage of the built in policies many insurance companies have that allow you to pay a nominal monthly fee for rental-car insurance. If you opted out of this in order to save money, any car rental expenses may be coming out of your pocket, so check your policy now to make sure that you are covered, and for the size of car you will need for your work.
Recommendation #7: Don’t Settle for Anything Less Than a Signoff.
When it comes to starting the actual auto body work, make sure that the shop you will be working with understands that no work is to be done until you have authorized them to begin. When you are looking at the estimate, make certain that you clarify anything on it that you do not understand and get a clear and concise price range so that you will not be taken by surprise when the final bill is handed to you. Also, be sure to read the fine print at the end of the estimate before you sign. Sometimes hidden clauses will indicate that the shop is allowed to do a certain amount of work without authorization etc., and you don’t want the final bill to come as a nasty surprise. When you do receive the final bill, make certain that everything on it matches with the initial estimate. If anything unauthorized has been added, be sure to point it out.
At bennysautobody.com, we understand that integrity in service and honesty in pricing should be an integral part of any auto body shop’s credo, but since there are so many shops that will take advantage of those who need their services or who are in league with the large insurance companies, it pays to be wary and to take all the steps that may be necessary in order for you to protect yourself.
While these recommendations will not necessarily ensure that your bill remains low, adhering to them can definitely save you a considerable amount of time, effort and energy, not to mention money on your final San Diego Auto Body Repair bill.