Need help in choosing collision repair shop


#1

Someone ran into my car while it was parked. Pretty sure there will be no contest as to who’s at fault. Adjuster has not evaluated damage yet nor assessed ACV. Right passenger front fender completely crumpled, don’t know what internal damage done. Rest of drivers side cosmetic only. Honda Civic hybrid, 2005. Millions of collision shops around here. How to find the least expensive that will also do quality work and help me with other guy’s insurance company estimate, which is sure to be lowballed? Already asked friends and neighbors, not many enthusiastic suggestions.


#2

If the other persons insurance is taking care of this then you don’t do anything. Let them take it where ever they use and when you pick it up just look it over before you sign for it. Also there is a time period that if a problem shows up after repair just contact the insurance company that did the repair.


#3

Actually, I meant to say they will overestimate repair costs and lowball car value, and therefore call it a total loss.


#4

Totaling a 13 year old car is not unreasonable, retail price is $3,000 or less depending on where you are and condition. The car is probably worth a lot more to you, but welcome to the difficult world of dealing with insurance companies. If they do total it they will cut you a check, see if you can then buy it from them and arrange the repairs yourself.


#5

13 year old hybrid with a chance of being totaled . I would almost prefer that than have mechanical problems later on. Sure, it would be better to keep on driving it but that is life so sometimes it is better just to move on.


#6

True. But what I’m hoping for is to find a collision shop who will give me a low repair estimate that I can get the insurance to cover. Car was in perfect condition before this…had under 100,000 miles.


#7

Sorry, but it does not work that way . The adjuster will give you a print out and you can ask for a review if you do not feel it is enough. If they decide to repair then the shop will contact the insurance if they find other things that were not spotted on the initial estimate.


#8

Why would a shop do that ? If they got the work and found out that lowball estimate would only cover 90% of the repair then they have the problem of finding a way to get paid for the rest of the work.


#9

They would do that if their prices were more reasonable than the high priced places with higher overhead and greater profit expectations. There is a lot of variation in repair estimates, as I’m sure you’re aware.


#10

And anyway, if I’m lucky enough to get a check covering 90% of the repairs I’d gladly pay the rest out off pocket, since the ACV of the car, being 13 years old, is not huge.

If I knew the car were driveable, all this would not be an issue. But the car is going to have to be towed someplace most likely, and I’m going to need it to be towed to the place it’s definitely going to be fixed, IF it’s gong to fixed, unless the adjuster can somehow confirm it’s safe to drive and I can then shop around. That’s why I’m looking for the most economical place.


#11

Do realize that if it totaled and you buy it from the insurance company you will have a vehicle with a salvage title. You could have problems getting insurance coverage but definitely have a vehicle greatly reduced value.


#12

I know that it would have a salvage title, which doesn’t bother me as car is not very valuable to begin with and I plan to drive it as long as I can. But I didn’t realize that I could have a problem with insurance. Thank you for pointing that out. I’ll check with my insurance co tomorrow.

And actually, the whole point of this post is to get it fixed for what the insurance co will pay so as to NOT have it declared salvage.


#13

“Consumer Checkbook” is a non-profit that has reviews of local businesses in big cities. Do a search and see if it exists in your area, then search for their ratings of body shops.

You do need to talk with an experienced mechanic or professional at a body shop to determine whether severe damage to the frame and drive system of your car has happened to the point where repair is just not a good, safe idea. Pretty much everything that runs the car is in the front.

You can decide whether you want to fix the car or not after you know if it is safely fixable, and what the cost will be.


#14

If it can be fixed they will do that. If they call it totaled then it will be and you have to buy it from them and it will have a salvage title. There are no gray areas in these type of settlements.


#15

I think you’ll need to pick one but not both at the same time. On a 13 year old car though, you might slide a little on the quality such as OEM parts, and paint match. Paint can range anywhere from $100 to $400 a gallon depending on the quality, so good body work is not cheap.


#16

Thank you, good point. I really don’t care about the cosmetics of the car. Just want a car that drives will and is safe.


#17

Thank you. Excellent advice.


#18

That might not be the description of a salvage titled vehicle.


#19

Actually, I’ve just done quite a bit of digging and it seems in NY state, where I live, they only brand titles Salvage for cars less than 8 years old or less having damage of at least 75% of ACV. At least that’s what I understand from reading the state DMV website and several other informational sites. Anybody else have any information to contrary?


#20

I just checked out Consumer Checkbook and it is an excellent site. Unfortunately, mine is not one of the metropolitan areas it covers (New York City) but its articles offer very useful advice. Thanks for the tip!