When Looking for a Facility...
Know it is not in your best interests to seek or consider an estimate or damage report from a repair facility you believe will not meet your expectations. As a consumer, you have a financial interest to protect. The ultimate choice is yours.
Price Isn't Everything or "cheap can be expensive"
Sometimes consumers make the mistake of believing one collision repair facility is like any other. They believe price should be the prime consideration. However, nothing could be further from the truth, and if you select the estimate that was cheapest, it can often turn out to be a mistake.
The Damage Report
The written damage report is a signal a collision repair facility holds itself to high standards. All facilities do not write damage reports- many of them write estimates- and there is an important difference between the two. Estimates do not contain the detail of a damage report, which is completed during careful examination of your vehicle. This examination may require putting your vehicle on a lift or partial disassembly. In any case, an itemized, carefully rendered damage report - the blueprint for repairing your vehicle-can only be created with an investment of time and effort.
Your first impression of a facility is a significant one. Make sure the facility you consider makes an initial impact that is positive. The staff should be courteous, knowledgeable and take a real interest in your vehicle. As the service representative prepares your damage report, he or she should take the time to explain what needs to be done and why. The front office should be orderly and reflect the atmosphere of a professional business. An honest effort toward cleanliness should be evident.
Choosing a collision repair facility is an important decision. If one seems not to meet your basic standards, don't feel obligated to have your vehicle
Or you may...
Request a Shop Tour
Unibody vehicles require sophisticated measuring equipment, metal inert gas (MIG) welders, and a dust -free environment for spraying factory-type paint finishes. See that the repair facility of your choice is similarly equipped. Ask to take a tour of the facility, and while doing so, observe a repair similar to the one needed on your vehicle. You may also request to see a factory specification chart for your vehicle make and model.
Painting Is Important
At the factory most vehicles are painted with a two-or three-stage paint system that includes a clear coat. These are premium systems that require skilled technicians and proper equipment for application. They also ensure your vehicle will be returned to factory texture and gloss for a maximum number of years. Inquire about the type of paint system used by the facility you select.
Ask About Parts- Imitation or Original Equipment?
What parts should be used to repair your vehicle? Only those equal to the original equipment manufacturers' or those originally on your vehicle. The use of imitation parts could void a portion of your warranty or devalue your vehicle. Inquire what parts policy a facility uses during repairs.
Training and Industry Involvement
When you enter a collision repair facility look for certificates declaring participation in professional and fraternal organizations. Equally important are certificates from technical training courses. This is evidence the business is active in the industry, involved in the community and up-to-date on repair techniques.
Each insurance company had its own claims handling procedure. Collision repair facilities deal with different insurance companies. When you choose a collision repair facility to repair your vehicle, give them all the claims information they request and let them help you deal with your insurance company. In New York State a Designated Representative form should be filled out to allow your repair shop to negotiate the claim on your behalf.
The best collision repair facilities provide written warranties on collision repair and refinishing. Find out what your facility offers.
Thank you to Liabra for providing us with this great information!