Accidents are never fun, you have to take the time out of your day to get your vehicle to the shop, and play the middle man between your insurance and the body shop. You take the time to bring your car around the city to two separate body shops, and then have to send in two estimates on the damages. So, what happens after you’ve had that additional estimate done?
What most people outside the industry don’t know is that the body shop doesn’t dictate what is done to your vehicle, your insurance does. We create an estimate based on what we believe will be required to repair the car, but that doesn’t mean that the insurance company will pay it. A body shop can give you an estimate on what they know to be damage done during an accident, but they must go off of what your insurance approves for the vehicle. In the state of Minnesota, we are fortunate to be able to approve or decline the use of aftermarket parts, but that’s the extent of control you have over repairs.
Once your vehicle is brought into the shop, the technicians will perform a teardown, and pull all the pieces off of your vehicle to see if there’s any additional hidden damage. This phase is referred to as the blueprinting of the vehicle. It allows the body shop to write a preliminary supplement for the insurance to look over and approve. The insurance has three options. They can have a representative from their company inspect the disassembled vehicle through photos or in person, they can have one of our employees do it for them, or they hire an outside company to approve these supplements. These processes can take weeks, depending on how well established the relationship between the insurance adjuster and the body shop is.
Your insurance, or the other parties insurance, often dictates the hourly rates, the markup on parts, and the number of hours that can be charged for a certain repair. We have to make sure that we’re getting enough money to do the work, so you can imagine where the back and forth could take additional time while repairing your vehicle. Best case scenario, you find a body shop that’s direct repair with your insurance. State Farm for example has direct repair programs with many body shops across the nation, and this simply means they trust the body shop to write an estimate that meets all of State Farms compliance requirements. This keeps the repair time on the vehicle at a minimum, so you can get your car back quicker than going to a non direct repair facility.
We are at the mercy of your insurance, and cannot work on a car if they’re not informing us of the work needed to be done. We do our best to keep our customers, employees and insurance companies happy, but we have to work with each insurance to establish a unique repair process for every vehicle that comes through our doors. Keep tabs on your repair, by working with us to get all the necessary information prior to bringing your vehicle into the shop, and remember to keep in contact with your agent to ensure you’re back in your vehicle as soon as possible!