This months Kiplinger’s showed up the other day, and I found this particular article about auto body shops pretty interesting. They listed 7 things that you need to know, and I wanted to briefly mention them here along with my thoughts.
1. That minor fender bender will be a major expense.
Oh don’t I know this one all too well. Back in my spending days, I had a beautiful Audi A4 that was involved in a very minor accident with the rear end of an old beater pick up truck. Sure it was my fault, but there was no damage to the truck and the front end of my Audi was dinged pretty bad, even though it was only cosmetic. Total cost? $5,500. Yep, you read that right. My deductible was $1,000, but the total was over $5,000 for the repair. Ridiculous.
2. Approved shops are beholden to tight-fisted insurers.
For the above said accident, I was sent to an approved shop, and got the kind of service that comes along with going to a shop that has some kind of ties to the insurance company…delays, unreturned phone calls, mistakes in repairs, you name it. How I wish you could pick your own repair shop when you need to.
3. Not all replacement parts are created equal.
On my Audi, they were only allowed to use genuine Audi parts per Audi of North America, but I imagine on lower end cars the story is not the same. Picture those hubcaps and taillights sold at parts stores and thats probably what you would get on a less expensive cars. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with those parts, but they are not what the manufacturer might have put on the car at assembly.
4. The due date is most likely fiction.
See # 2 above. 5 weeks after my due date my car was ready. And what happened when I went to get it? They shut the hood down while the oil cap was sitting on the top of the engine, denting the brand new hood. Add 1 more week to that delay.
5. A rented car will cost you.
Any rented car will cost you as far as I know. But this is especially true if you do not have rental coverage or if the coverage you have only covers a compact tiny little thing…and you have a family of 5 to drive around.
6. Your car needs a shop that speaks its language.
Again, the Audi. Those guys were used to working on domestic cars and not German cars, which could have been part of the delay. A lot of European cars are just built differently than American cars, thus the mechanics and repair guys really should know how to fix both.
7. The insurer’s warranty isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Forget the insurance company’s warranty, you want the body shop’s warranty. That’s the one that matters and the only one you can count on when things go wrong. Insurance companies are out for one thing: money. Remember that.
The article did go in to a little depth on each one of these, but really the general idea is in the above bold sentences. Be careful out there when getting your car fixed – find someone you trust, ask for genuine parts, and remember – the more expensive the car, the more expensive that minor accident is going to be!