When an insurance company prepares an estimate on the damage to your car it is a “visible damage estimate” including only those things that the adjuster can see without taking the car apart. The insurance company is not trying to short change you, and once additional repairs can be substantiated they will pay for them. This involves a procedure called a “Supplement”. The Body Shop is suppose to represent you during the supplement procedure and insure that all damages and the proper repair procedures are included in the supplement request.
Modern cars have many sophisticated system, air bags, anti-lock brakes, electronic suspension controls, and traction controls that take special repair procedures and tools. The Shop of your choice must have the training and equipment to diagnoses and service the high tech vehicle you drive. The insurance company will pay for these procedures, if the shop knows to request them.
How do you know if the shop you choose can do what is needed on your car? Here are a few things to look for when picking a Body Shop.
- Look for the I-CAR certification, preferably an I-CAR Gold Class Shop. I-CAR is the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair. This is a cooperative venture by the manufacturers, insurance companies and repair industry to set training and repair procedures for collision repair.
- Because there are so many high tech systems to deal with on the car look for a shop that has ASE Certified technicians on staff. The National Institute for Auto Service Excellence certifies auto repair technicians, not body shop personnel. You will need a qualified technician to diagnoses and repair any high tech computer systems damaged in the accident.
- Make sure that the shop you choose has insurance in case something goes wrong. There is no requirement in Texas that an auto repair business actually carries insurance to protect you. If the shop is on any of the insurance company “direct repair programs” they are required to carry insurance. Ask the shop manager or estimator and look him in the eye when he answers. If in doubt ask for his agents name and verify that they are covered. If their business ethics do not include protecting their customers with insurance…. well it would make me wonder.