Major Body work - Request for Advice

Hi: We were the victims of a hit and run by an Amazon Tractor-Trailer. The front passenger door unit was almost torn off, along with damage around the side of the car especially into the fender/pillar. Some damage to rear door as well. After a lot of hard work we have finally gotten the company to take responsibility. 2 different appraisers seem to think this is repairable, and now we are in the process of identifying a good body shop in our area (Fairfield County, CT).

Also pls keep in mind this car was brand new when we bought it (late 2017) with 11miles on it. We’ve taken very good care of it and it isn’t heavily used (20K miles at the time of the hit and run). Wanted to request advice from the community on a couple matters:

  1. So the appraisers seem to price a used car door unit for replacement of the current one. Since the whole door unit is required, the appraiser had suggested a used door. Are used or after market units of this kind still geniune Toyota parts? Or should we insist on new parts from Toyota?

  2. The appraiser assured us that the shop has full control on what goes into the car and if they have an issue they will bring it up with the appraiser. Is that the reality of how this works? At least 1 shop seemed to think that the goal should be to work inside the appraiser’s estimate.

  3. The appraiser also said that in CT there is no post-work certification offered by the appraiser. How do we vet or get a post-work eval of the Auto body’s work before we release the insurance company of its obligation?

  4. Any recommendations on auto body shops in Fairfield county, CT who would be good for this kind of pretty heavy duty (I think) Auto body work?

Thx so much for your thoughts and advice, Chitra

It is normal to use used or after market parts for collision damage . Item number 2 is the best bet . If the repair shop finds other problems they will contact the adjuster and go from there. Also having someone from Fairfield county see your post is unlikely. Just put it in the shop and after the repair you will have to sign that you are satisfied and the shop should have some kind of time for correction should you need it.

We had rear quarter damage to our Volvo 8 years ago and you can’t even tell it was ever repaired .

Will car have reported damage now? Accident history? Diminished value?

I’d rather have a used door, that pretty much guarantees it’s a factory part.

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I am assuming that since we have a claim on an insurance company that it would get reported right? We are negotiating for diminished value yes. Any thoughts on how we go about doing our own estimate of it just to have some data?

Can you advise what you mean by item no. 2 please?

Texases so your point is that a used door is coming off some other Toyota Camry? Should we not insist that it come from a Camry 2017 or newer? What do you think is the cost difference between brand new and used (if you happen to know)?

Since doors don’t wear out, they’ll fit a door that comes from a matching body style and paint color Camry, could be that year, a year older, a year newer, it should make no difference.


Thanks Texases. Does that same logic apply for stuff like pillars/rockers and that kind of thing? I mean clearly the issue is with part of the structure from reading the estimate but it appear repairable. One thing I didnt see in the estimate was stuff like damage to wheel/tire. I guess that kind of stuff will come up as the shop reviews the damage right?

For parts of the body that have to be cut out and replaced (unlike doors), I’d think they would be new parts. Here is where the issue of factory vs. 3rd party parts comes up.

thats very helpful. It is going to be hard to figure out who is trust worthy and has our interests at heart v those of the insurance company. So clearly decision of where to go is rather important.

Perhaps thing to do is to break it down into larger buckets and ask about sourcing by bucket. The issue is the shops dont want to talk about how they go about it. Give it to us and trust us they say. I trust but verify. Go figure.

The insurance company has shops they prefer to work with but you can get quotes from any body shop you want. When mom’s Prius needed a replacement door after a low speed parking lot incident where it was the same insurer for both parties the shop cared as much about putting the car back to the way it was and explained why they would need the time they did.

Part of it was matching and blending the Blizzard white paint. we’ve since sent others to this shop and unless you knew you couldn’t tell anything has been done to the car a few years after the fact.


I’ll just chime in. A used door is by definition an OEM door. A used one should be fine if there is no rust. Also it will have the original rust prevention coatings. If they are doing cutting and fitting of frame parts, I guess I’d want to be sure the shop is qualified for that. Maybe our resident former body shop manager will comment. The other thing would be paint quality and match. I don’t know how you can assure any of this except that it is a reasonably large and well equipped shop that you are dealing with.

Now being a newer car, you likely had collision coverage. Why did you wait to settle with Amazon? You could have just had it fixed under your own policy with your own company calling the shots and paid the deductible. Then they would subrogate against Amazon and pay you back the deductible if they ever were successful.


Because it was a hit and run in the state of NY which is a no fault state we were not happy with how our own insurance company was acting and believe that if it hadn’t been for our leg work we would certainly have been made whole but would also have seen our insurance rates go up. It’s a total racket if you ask me, and there is no substitute for us doing our own legwork. There is no free lunch either way :slight_smile:

Let them buy any parts they want, and inspect them before installation. The door will need paint, and you can inspect it with all the hardware removed to make sure it isn’t hiding rust inside the door. If there is rust and they is still on using it, find out how the rust will be removed and insist on inspecting it before they apply paint. Any 2011 through 2019 door is likely to fit since they are all in the same generation. Try to avoid older doors, which might have a little rust.

Also, if you don’t like your insurer, find another one. This won’t help you here, but might if there ever is another time you need them. I like my insurer, and have had them for about 45 years on my policy and another 10 or so on my parent’s policy.

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Not if it’s a used door in the same color as the car.

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A used door in the same color that matches? Really? I’m skeptical.

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I’ve seen it done several times on various car repair and restoration shows. I imagine the match is as good as one gets matching new paint to old.

I agree. The factory uses several different shades of the same color paint, so yeah the whole thing needs to be refinished and blended into the adjacent panels.