Why You Should Choose Your Own Long Island Collision Center
If you’ve been in an accident, you have the right by law to choose where to get your vehicle repaired. Car insurance companies typically refer their insured to a list of preferred collision centers with whom they have a working relationship. These preferred shops are selected based on a number of factors, not all of which may be in your best interest. To be certain that your vehicle is being cared for to your own satisfaction, you should choose your own collision center.
Are You Being Served?
An insurance company may recommend a repair shop because of its low prices. That shop may use cheaper replacement parts in place of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts in order to stay competitively priced. Likewise, a shop under contract with an insurer may be under pressure to make repairs with fast turnarounds to reduce costs and get more claims, which in turn could compromise the quality of the repair work.
For an auto body repair shop to retain its status as an insurance provider’s preferred collision center, it must adhere to strict limitations on how it may bill its customers. While that may seem to be only a good thing for you, it could also prompt unethical shops to cut corners to stay within their insurer-prescribed budgets. Estimates should reflect accurate appraisals of the cost of doing quality repairs, and not based on pre-determined limits set by the insurer.
Insurance companies are businesses after all, and businesses need to make money to stay in business. When you agree to have your car repaired at a collision center of your insurance company’s choosing, you’re relinquishing control and trusting them to look out for you.
Taking Control of the Process
When you choose your own collision center, you can use your own criteria based on factors that matter most to you. Have you already got a repair shop you can trust? If not, which shops are conveniently located? Whose work is recommended by friends or associates? Preferred status with an insurance company notwithstanding, what is the shop’s reputation within the community?
If you’ve got a shop who is familiar with your car, he or she is more likely to be able to make an accurate estimate on repair costs. A shop whom you know will be your advocate when dealing with the insurance company instead of the other way around.
Keep in mind that a reputable repair shop will be well accustomed to working with insurers, filing claims and getting estimates approved for repair work. You don’t have to limit your choices to shops whose budgets are likewise limited by your insurance company.
More Than Just a Number
A good collision center will offer free estimates for you and your claims adjuster so you’ll have a clear understanding of the time and cost of the repairs needed to get your vehicle back to original condition. You want more than just the bottom line, you want someone who will explain the process and answer your questions.
Be aware, however, that estimates can vary widely in many cases, depending on the quality of the parts and labor that a collision center uses for its repair work. Be sure to choose a shop that will take the time to describe in detail their repair process, and justify their estimate to you and your insurer.
No auto body repair at any price has any real value if it isn’t done with the best workmanship money can buy. You and your vehicle deserve nothing less. A quality collision center should back their work with strong warranty. At Tier 1 Collision Center, we offer a lifetime guarantee on all repairs. Know you’re in good hands for as long as you own your car.
What to Know Before You Decide
If you haven’t already established a relationship with a collision center near you, it’s important that you select one that you can trust, a service center that knows how to work with all insurance providers.
Most insurance companies will handle claims for you when the work is being done at preferred shop. Conversely, it may be left for you to handle it yourself when you opt for your own repair center. Choose a collision center that knows the ropes and will take care of your claim as well as your car.
Check with your provider to be clear on what is and isn’t covered under your policy when you choose your own repair shop. Choose a repair shop that will provide detailed estimates and claims to expedite the repair process. Make sure you’re dealing with a collision center that offers deductible assistance.
If your insurer limits your coverage for a rental car, or you’re not covered for it, be sure that your repair shop offers rental car or courtesy shuttle service.
Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to someone else’s preferences when it comes to your car, truck or SUV. At Tier 1 Collision, we know how much your vehicle means to you. We know how to take care of you, your car and your insurance claim.