You’ve been in an accident. But before you call your insurance company – you may want to know how to find a good body shop. One thing is for sure – the moment you call the 800 claims number on the back of your insurance card, you are at a psychological disadvantage… and that is 100% on purpose! The insurance company may tell you that you can take your car anywhere you want, but they will always follow that up with the promise of a faster repair if you decide to take your car to one of their ‘preferred’ shops. (That’s how they control the repair, and only have to pay for the cheapest parts and labor.)
Fear not, however! We’re here to help you when you’re looking find a good body shop. What the average driver isn’t aware of is that not all body shops are created equal. Many shops are in a direct relationship with the insurance companies. And while that may seem like a good thing… in reality, it can reduce the shop’s ability to perform complete or correct repairs because they answer to the insurance company’s adjusters – who are first and foremost looking after their own financial interests.
We’ve put together a list of several criteria that make up what you should look for when trying to find a good body shop. This may not be a comprehensive list, but it will absolutely point you in the right direction – and possibly save you the frustration of being steered by your insurance company to a shop that doesn’t have your best interests in mind.
Word of Mouth Matters
It is very easy to understand why so many people take their cars to big brand body shops for repair. The most recognizable brands are in direct repair partnerships with the largest insurance companies, and they have millions – even billions of dollars in advertising out there. But does the big brand name always equate with the best, or even the correct repair? Not so fast!
Before taking your car to ANY body shop, you would be wise to check the online reviews about the work that they do. We live in a web-review based society these days, and people are all too happy to let you know whether they were treated well, or not so well. A good Google search might include, “how to find a good body shop near me”. And don’t just read the reviews off of one site. Look for them in multiple places in order to get a cross section of opinions that might help you build a level of trust.
Never Take Advice From Someone Who Owes You Money
On the topic of trust, when searching out how to find a good body shop, it’s important to ask about the shop’s relationship(s) with your insurance company. If you were told that you’d get better or faster service if you take your car to the insurance company’s ‘preferred’ shop, one might wish to slow down and ask the question, “why?” The response is always related to money. (The insurance company’s… not yours.)
Independent body shops are often likely to tell you a more complete story when it comes to your vehicle’s repair plan. They work for you – and not the insurance company. It’s important to have someone actually advocating on your behalf – and when a shop is in a direct repair relationship with the insurance company, their loyalty must go to the insurance company first. When that happens, there’s no room for discussion about what constitutes the correct repair. The cheapest repair is always what’s on that menu.
Look For Certifications
When searching out how to find a good body shop, you might want to start by looking for shops that hold manufacturer’s certifications for your brand of vehicle. Getting certified involves much more than simply paying for a plaque on the wall. Shops that hold certifications have qualified in multiple ways, including – but not limited to having the right equipment and correctly trained staff. They’ve put in many hours of very specific OEM training for each manufacturer’s vehicles, and they are invested in maintaining those certifications by performing the proper repairs, using the proper parts.
Trust Your Gut
In the end, if you’re going to find a good body shop, you should be willing to listen to that still, small voice deep within yourself. If you feel like you’re being ‘sold’, or railroaded, or even rushed to choose a particular body shop… chances are the alarms are starting to go off in your head. Listen to those alarms.
There are great body shops all over America. And it’s not even that difficult to find one that will serve your best interests. But after you’ve done all your research, we encourage you to go with your gut. It almost always guides you in the right direction.
The professional staff at Vince’s Autobody, Inc. stand ready and willing to answer all of your questions. Feel free to contact us directly any time you need help.