Following an Alabama car accident, there are a few courses of action to handle the damage to your vehicle. Your options include:

  • Replacing your vehicle with a new one
  • Driving your existing vehicle as-is
  • Getting your vehicle’s body damage repaired

The extent of the damage may limit your choice. However, if you decide to have the damage repaired, it is crucial that you do not allow a body shop to take advantage of you.

Auto Body Repair After an Accident

Unfortunately, some body shops in Alabama use drivers’ ignorance and naivety to take advantage of them. Here are five tips for ensuring your car’s bodywork is done professionally and at a fair price after your accident.

1. Obtain Several Estimates

Before you authorize any shop to do work on your vehicle, start by obtaining several estimates. Shop around and get estimates from at least three or four different car repair shops in your area. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples by looking for shops that are:

  • Authorized or trained to work on your vehicle
  • Using the same parts to repair your car
  • Legitimate businesses in the State of Alabama
  • Places you would actually consider taking your vehicle for body repair work

Have the shops you visit put their estimates into writing and explain their pricing. This will make it easy for you to compare the various estimates and make a more informed decision about who should repair your vehicle. If a shop will not give you a written estimate, stay away from that business.

Aim to visit at least three repair shops and get estimates from each one. Getting fewer than three estimates does not give you an appropriate amount of information to compare. Conversely, having too many estimates can be overwhelming and make it difficult to decide where to get your car fixed.

2. Examine the Details Closely

With the estimates in hand, sit down and closely examine each one. Although the total cost is important, the details are equally critical to consider. Specifically, look at each estimate and ask yourself these questions:

  • Are they using certified or genuine parts to repair my vehicle?
  • Is all the damage to my car addressed by this estimate?
  • How closely does this estimate mirror the others?
  • Is my insurance check enough to cover these costs?

Beware of repair shops that do not tell you where the parts they use come from. Some shops try to save costs by using parts not specifically designed for your car or parts pulled off vehicles in junkyards. These parts do not offer any guarantee against failure.

You should closely examine any estimates that differ significantly from the others or that are substantially higher than your insurance check. 

Insurance companies routinely write supplement checks when the repair costs exceed the initial claim settlement check. However, a shop that is charging an excessive amount may lead the insurer to refuse to pay the difference.

3. Do Your Homework on Each Shop

Look into each potential repair shop on your list. Find out whether the shop you are considering has certifications, awards, or other distinguishing characteristics. While online reviews can be helpful, do not be swayed solely by the number of five-star reviews a business has. 

Ask friends and family members if they have used any of the shops and, if so, what their impressions were. And do not neglect your gut feeling. If your visit to a certain repair shop did not leave you with a good impression, consider a different business.

4. Look for a Guarantee

The repair shop you choose should stand behind its work and the parts it uses. Do not use a shop that tries to claim that it is not its responsibility to guarantee its work. A reputable body repair shop will proudly use quality parts and stand behind its workmanship.

5. Make Your Own Decision

Armed with this information, you are well-equipped to decide where to take your vehicle for repairs. Do not listen to your insurance company if they claim you must have your car repaired at a specific business or facility. You are free to choose any repair shop you would like to make the body repairs to your vehicle.

When an insurance company recommends a particular shop or mechanic to fix your vehicle, understand that the shop may not be as qualified as the other shops you are considering. You still need to get an estimate and do your homework about the insurer’s recommended shop before making your final decision.

These are shops that the insurance company steers its customers to in exchange for a discount. While this arrangement is beneficial for the insurance company, it does not necessarily mean you will get a quality repair at a lower price. Exercise caution and make your own decision about what shop is best for handling your repair.

AlaWrek Is Now Seeking Auto Body Shop Service Providers

Consider joining AlaWreck’s mission to help Alabama drivers recover after car wrecks by becoming an affiliated service provider. If you are a body shop committed to treating drivers fairly, we want drivers to know about your business and its services. Fill out this form to become an AlaWreck service provider.

How AlaWreck Helps You and Other Drivers

At AlaWreck, we appreciate that a car accident can leave you with both practical concerns and emotional trauma. We can help you address some of the practical problems you have following a car wreck. This includes providing the assistance you need to get the damage to your car repaired.

In addition to providing you with knowledge and insights on what to do after a crash, we also offer Alabama car accident victims:

Trust AlaWreck to be your ally after a car accident. We make it our mission to help you get back on the road.

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