It’s not uncommon for car owners to leave an auto body shop and not understand what they just paid for. A responsible body shop will inform and educate its customers about the conditions of their vehicles, but not all companies share the same commitment to customer service. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, it’s important to get pertinent information about the condition of your vehicle and the reasons for its body repairs. Ask questions and insist on being part of the repair process—as the owner of the car, you always have that option. By taking command of the situation, you can avoid confusion and help ensure a positive experience.
If you need to get your car fixed after an accident and your insurance company is pressuring you to use a certain shop, be wary—California law stipulates that you get to decide where to take your car to be repaired, and your insurance company must pay regardless of the company you choose. “Some insurance companies send their clients to shops they’ve partnered with in order to save some money, but that doesn’t always make for the best results,” says Mike Ludeman, owner of Western Auto Body, Inc. in Sebastopol. “You should always choose a shop based on the quality of its work and customer service, not the advice of your insurance company.”
Although you may want your car to be fixed as quickly as possible, make sure your body shop doesn’t prioritize speed over quality. Some shops rush their work and leave numerous procedures and details unattended, which can lead to costly flaws, defects, re-repairs, and even potential safety hazards. In the long run, a low-quality body repair will cause more problems than the inconvenience of a few days without a car.
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