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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I got hit yesterday. While waiting to get out of a shopping center an old man driving a Passat in front of me throws his car into reverse, looks up into his mirror, and then guns the gas, backing his car right into me. Now my front bumper has some damage (lots of scratches and chipped paint) and the mounts are messed up. My brakes held the car solid so the bumper absorbed most of the impact. His rear bumper is cracked pretty bad though.

Anyway, since I now need to get an estimate from a body shop I was wondering if there was a way to tell a good body shop from a bad one? I've only been in one accident requiring body work and for that one I was without a car for a good month and half and the repairs ended up costing over $3K (ripoff), only part of which was covered by insurance-- I would really like to avoid going through that again.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. :)
 

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If your insurance company has a local office, talk to one of the claims people who adjust auto damage claims. They should know who is good, and who to stay away from. I've worked for insurance companies for 25+ years, and I've always gone to the claims people when I needed a recommendation for a body shop, roofer, or other contractor, since the claims people deal with them regularly.
 

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Chances are, ones that charge a very high amount are good. :)

Seriously, the best way to find out is to look at some of their work. Most body shops will have cars they ust finished still there, or ones they're still working on.
 

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dsorgnzd said:
If your insurance company has a local office, talk to one of the claims people who adjust auto damage claims. They should know who is good, and who to stay away from. I've worked for insurance companies for 25+ years, and I've always gone to the claims people when I needed a recommendation for a body shop, roofer, or other contractor, since the claims people deal with them regularly.
I agree with that advice.

I also believe that the impression that they give when you get the estimate done means something. Customer service is important, especially when paying a large sum of money.

I went to one place and they were kinda rude. I regret taking my car there. They did POOR work.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input! :) I suppose I could ask the insurance company if they're willing to give me info off the record. The guy that hit me was really nice about it so I wanted to give him a chance to pay from his side so his rates don't skyrocket.

The shop I took my car to did a poor job. They didn't properly align my hood and the paint they used really didn't match the color of my car too well. It also sucked that the estimate they gave the insurance company was actually lower than what they charged me. :mad: I was so ticked off with them for keeping me without a car for so long that I didn't even bother going back to them.
 

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Your insurance agent should have a list of "recommended" shops that they use for damage claims. This can be good or bad because often times is like doctors and health insurance, it's the places the insurance company has made a "deal" with for the best price. Personally, I've had cars to 3 different body shops and had friends take vehicles to 4 others. After careful inspection of all of them, I'm still at a loss as to where my car will go to have the hood fixed now (had a flourescent light fall from the ceiling of my garage onto it :crazy: ). Maybe I'm just too anal, but I have yet to see work from a body shop I've been trully happy with. They always skimp over the real details.

As far as actually looking for one though, definitely ask to look at some cars on their lot that have work done to them. Ask to see the actual shop (most won't let you walk around it due to OSHA rules, but at least ask to look) you can tell a lot by how organized the shop area is. And finally, talk to people you work with etc. and get some word of mouth recommendations...
 

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When i got a little too close to a deer my insurance company had a list of shops they prefer. The shop i went to gurantees their work for life and didn't charge anymore than the rest of the shops my agent listed.
 
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