If you are reading this guide to plan ahead for the possibility of a collision, you have time to read this paragraph. If, however, you have just been involved in an accident, you may want to skip immediately to Part II. Accidents do happen, but, as a careful consumer, there are some things you can do which may help you to avoid or minimize injury and loss:
Our first recommendation is to check out our Shop Finder Index to locate a quality collision repair facility in your area.
If, as a consumer, you are doing business with an insurance company with a recognized Direct Repair Program, you have the option of using their "preferred" shop or a shop of your own choosing. Often the "preferred" shop through the insurer will offer a warranty program backed by the insurer. As with any program, the vehicle owner should make a choice of shop based on the reputation of the shop, including ASE certification of technicians and I-CAR training.
Many insurers today are requiring that shops chosen for their programs both meet the Collision Industry Conference definition of a Class A Shop, and have I-CAR Gold certification.
Some insurers have negotiated discounts for parts and labor with their "preferred" shops on the basis of providing them with incremental sales volume.
The vast majority of the typical collision repair shop's business comes from repeat and referral business from past customers. Ask friends and relatives for recommendations on shops that have performed quality work for them in the past. Also, check for signs of participation in advanced technician training such as the I-CAR Gold certification as mentioned above. Membership in trade associations and local business groups is another indicator of a shop's commitment to their business and your satisfaction.
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