Repair Advice From A Body Shop Owner

by Don Elliott on September 11, 2012

Rob Myshkoff, President of the Greenwood Collision Center in Wyckoff, NJ, advises his customers on what they should know before having their damaged car repaired. His advice makes his shop one that I would use if I had the need, but is good guidance for anyone who has been involved in an accident.

  1. Your car is the second biggest investment you are likely to make. Preserve its used car value and your safety by having it repaired professionally.
  2. Never drive a car that could be unsafe because of damages.
  3. Some insurance companies may want you to visit their drive-in claims center before a car repair service. You can do this, or you may leave your car at your collision repair center and ask that the insurance company inspect the car there.
  4. You are not required by law to obtain more than one estimate or appraisal.
  5. You have the right to go to the repair shop of your choice. Your insurance company cannot require you to go to a particular shop.
  6. 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 the shop manager.
  7. Choose a shop that has unibody repair equipment and certified technicians (by I-CAR or ASE, for example).
  8. Ask if the shop will be using genuine manufacturer (OEM) replacement parts.
  9. Ask if the shop offers a repair warranty.
  10. Let the collision repair shop you choose help you negotiate your claim with the insurance company. This often leads to a better deal.

The repair estimate should be the same whether your insurance company is paying for the repair or the insurance of the party at fault is making the settlement. The difference should be the amount of the deductible that you will need to pay if you are at fault.

Insurance companies assign designated repair shops (DRPs) where they would like you to take your car. Generally, these are quality repair facilities that cut a deal on costs with the insurance company so that they will get the insurance company’s referrals. Unfortunately, some of the deals make it difficult for the repair shop to make a profit causing some shops to cut corners to complete the work. As noted above, the insurance company cannot force you to go to one of their DRPs, but expect the larger insurance company to aggressively suggest where you should go!

Thank you, Rob Myshkoff, for sharing your wisdom gained from many years experience in the collision and auto repair business.

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