“I’m so embarrassed. Who hits their own garage door? But I managed, and put a nice big dent in my trunk,” Thom said. “This isn’t something I’m willing to report to my car insurance company – don’t want those rates to go up any higher than they already are! – but I also don’t want to spend a fortune getting the bodywork done. What do I need to know?”
When paying for bodywork out of pocket, it’s a really good idea to know exactly what you need done, how well you need it done, and who you’re going to have do it. In Thom’s situation, the question is relatively straightforward: he needs his trunk repaired and the paint job fixed. In other situations, where there may be mechanical damage that impacts the safety and functionality of your vehicle, it’s important to choose a collision repair shop that can inspect your vehicle to identify and perform all necessary repairs.
Not all car owners are alike. Some would like to have their vehicles restored to pristine showroom conditions after a fender bender, while others don’t care what the vehicle looks like, as long as it can be driven safely. Most people fall at some point in between. If you’re in this situation, ask the collision repair center you’re considering if they offer a tier of service options. The Good-Better-Best system allows you to pick the level of repair that makes you feel comfortable while honoring your budget.
It’s a good idea to be up front with the collision shop about your budget and expectations. Times have been really hard for everyone, especially with the pandemic. The best collision repair shops are not going to pressure you into having work done you don’t need and can’t afford. You have to be willing to advocate for yourself. Don’t be afraid to research your options first. Sometimes a little investigation can save you lots of money!