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Old 03-07-2010, 09:44 PM
 
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Can anyone recommend a good collision repair place in the New York City area? Is it advisable to go to one that is associated with your insurance company or go to an independent shop? Or does it just depend on the estimate and the shop itself? Thanks.
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Old 03-08-2010, 03:52 PM
 
Location: NYC & NJ
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All else being equal: go with an independent shop that has been recommended to you by objective 3rd parties (friends, coworkers, a mechanic or forums you trust, etc.)

I've been in a similar situation and my ins. so tried repeatedly to steer me towards their "preferred" shop. But think about it: they are looking for the lowest bill, so they will try to steer you towards the lowest bidder. Quality is an afterthought (does your ins co really care about the quality of work on your car?).

The BS about lifetime warranties (for as long as you own the car) doesn't do much for me: paint and bodywork, after a certain min quality, is very subjective: something may not "look right" to me, for instance the blending between fender and adjacent panels may not be great, but how do you "prove" that to a cheap bodyshop manager whose job is to say "It looks great!"

I've seen some body shops recommended on the car forums I check out. Such as this: need a reputable body shop in northern NJ...

I wouldn't go by the estimate unless you are paying for the repair out of pocket (yourself). Since you mention your ins co, there's no reason to go by the cheapest estimate.
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by G.Costanza View Post
...I've been in a similar situation and my ins. so tried repeatedly to steer me towards their "preferred" shop. But think about it: they are looking for the lowest bill, so they will try to steer you towards the lowest bidder. Quality is an afterthought (does your ins co really care about the quality of work on your car?).

Back in '05, l wrestled with the same dilemma. My wife was rear-ended in her Toyota and the insurance company obviously suggested their preferred shop. Just from the "no hassle" standpoint, I decided to go with the preferred shop (which is owned by a large Ford dealer). The insurance company had a full-time adjuster with a desk at the body shop....I just drove in, he handed me the keys to the rental car, and I drove out in about 5 minutes.

They did a very good job...perfectly matched paint and no water leaks in the trunk or rear doors. Five years later, still no leaks or paint problems....you can't tell it was ever wrecked.

Of course the insurance company is looking to control costs....but the body shop has an incentive to do good work. In return for doing good work at a reasonable price, they get a LOT of business from the insurance company. If the body shop does lousy work and generates lots of complaints to the insurance company...they get dumped. Plus, that on-site adjuster really holds their feet to the fire...when I picked the car up, it was missing an emblem on the trunk lid. The adjuster sent a tech to my work site to put it on a few days later.

So, unless you have an exotic car or something unusual, I'd give the preferred shop a look.
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:46 PM
 
758 posts, read 1,949,709 times
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G. Costanza and Car54-thank you. You both made a good case for opposite points of view. It makes sense that the the insurance company will work with a decent autobody shop. I did see it and they were eager for my business and showed me all the high priced cars they were working on (mine is a Corolla). But then there's the other side. Like Costanza says, they are looking for the lowest bidder.
Another question: I have a mechanic I love and he gave me an estimate which was a little higher by $150 than the insurance co.'s estimate. But there were a few things he did not include and the insurance company also didn't include. My mechanic does this kind of work but he's not an "auto body" shop or a collision specialist. Does that make a difference? I really am torn about this whole thing. What makes it hard is that I bought the car this past Jan. 2 and so it's basically a new car for me, even though it was certified used (an 09). so I want to have the job done correctly. Thanks.
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