Yes. You are not required to use any specific list of body shops when you file an insurance claim. You, the insurance policyholder, is the one who holds the right to select a competent auto body or collision repair shop that you can feel can restore your vehicle to it’s pre-loss condition.
Insurance agents and adjusters have no authority and cannot dictate where you take your vehicle to be repaired (although some try to steer you to a contracted body shop which they sometimes refer to as “preferred”, “authorized” or “certified”). This is illegal.
Those “preferred” or “authorized” lists of auto body repair shops work in favor of the insurance company because the insurance company is their client.
SOS Autocraft works in favor of you because you are our client. We will fix your vehicle to factory specifications with quality parts and materials using skilled technicians.
Some insurance companies make it sound like you need to go to their facility, that is however illegal and it’s call steering. In an effort to make their jobs easier, some insurance companies will nudge you to use their list of body repair shops. These shops get a lot of business from certain insurance companies and are likely to suggest cheaper repairs to keep cost down for their client–-the insurance company.
You may also come across an insurance company representative telling you need to get 3 estimates. There is no law requiring you to get more than one estimate. With multiple estimates, the insurance company will likely pay for the repairs with the lowest cost.
The lowest estimate is probably incomplete.
Here’s an example:
Shop A writes an estimate including a number of operations necessary to properly repair your vehicle. These operations could include a wheel alignment check, color tint, corrosion protection (rust proofing), aim of the headlamps, paint blend operations, etc.
Shop B prepares an estimate and omits the above-mentioned procedures from the repair estimate. The insurance company pays for the repair based on Shop B’s estimate. The vehicle owner mistakenly assumes they have done so because Shop B was just cheaper than Shop A. But because crucial procedures were omitted, the vehicle may be returned to the owner with mismatched paint, unaligned wheels which causes your tires to wear unevenly and prematurely, eventual rust metal panels, headlights which don’t aim correctly. Why take these chances!? Pick a shop that will do a thorough job and let your insurance policy work for you.
There are significant differences among repair shops. Some have made large investments in equipment and training, while others don’t. One of the key aspects to look for is their procedure for repair work. Who supervises and how often? You need not just fast repairs but effective repairs too.
“Approved” body shops work in favor of insurance companies because the insurance company provides them incentives and sends them new business. On the other hand, independent auto body shops work in favor of the customer–because happy customers refer new business.
Yes, both type of shops will fix your vehicle, but the important difference is the insurance “approved” body shops perform repairs to meet insurance requirements not factory standards. The independent auto body shop will suggest repairs to restore your vehicle to pre-accident condition.
Always look at the reviews for insurance “approved” body shops and compare them to independent body shops.
Some vehicle owners assume the dealer must do auto body repairs to maintain the vehicle warranty. This is incorrect. The manufacturer covers parts only and are obligated to provide the same coverage to independent repair shops.
Furthermore, independent repair shops specialize in repairing whereas dealerships repair shops must focus attention on selling, such as recommending new parts when repairing the old one would do. Or they may even try to persuade you to trade in your damaged vehicle and buy a new or used one.
Most importantly, many dealerships in Los Angeles don’t have their own auto body repair department and send your car to outside auto body shops for collision repairs. Since they are not required to disclose this to you, you will never know.
Independent facilities have access to the same manufacturer parts as does a dealership. In some instances, if a customer wants to save money, we could use recycled or aftermarket parts; however, we prefer not to because the quality and fit is never as good as new manufacturer parts.
Don’t assume that because it’s a dealership repair shop, they will provide the best quality parts and work. Most dealership don’t have their own body shops; body work is sent to an outside shop. Be sure to do your homework when selecting an auto body or collision repair shop.
If you decide to file an insurance claim, we accept all insurance companies including: 21st Century, AAA, Allstate, Amica, Farmers, Geico, Progressive, State Farm, USAA, Wawanesa, and more. We are very good at helping our customers cut through the hassle of insurance claims. You just need to get the process started here in our office and we will handle the rest, including arranging your car rental and dealing with the insurance adjuster.
All accidents are not covered. It depends on what type of accident, who’s at fault, and the insurance policy terms.
When dealing with auto body repair cost, in most instances, the deductible is significantly less than the overall repair cost, so filing an insurance claim and paying your deductible may be the best way to go. However, not all auto collisions are the same and you may not owe the deductible. Often, customers stop by to find out if it makes sense to use their insurance because we can give them an idea of cost. Feel free to stop by with your questions.
For payments on deductibles and collision repair, auto body work, fender benders, scratches, paintless dent removal (PDR), and door ding repair can be paid at our shop with a personal check, credit card or cash. If you present an insurance claim we will gladly provide assistance and speak with your insurance adjuster so that you are able to maximize your benefits to which you are fully entitled.
Our estimator can assess the damages to your vehicle and provide a preliminary estimate while you wait. With this information you can then decide if you want to file an insurance claim or pay cash.
Some smaller insurance companies may ask for 3 estimates due to their inability to send out an insurance adjuster in a timely manner. Under California law, this is not a requirement to get your vehicle repaired. And we suggest you don’t. Multiple estimates just gives the insurance company the opportunity to choose the cheapest method, which never benefits you.
Paintless Dent Removal (PDR):
PDR is the process of removing minor dents, dings, creases, and high spots from metal without using paint or fillers.
- PDR is best if time is of the essence.
- PDR is best when trying to save money.
- PDR is best for damage that is 2 inches from edge of panel.
- PDR is best for keeping the vehicle’s value.
To start, we need access to the damaged area, then we use a reflection board or light to cast reflections across the damaged area (ding / dent / crease). Using hand-eye coordination, our PDR technician pin points the exact areas affected by applying the tip of their tool with controlled pressure, the dent in your panel or door is meticulously removed without sacrificing the integrity of the paint finish. In cases where metal is overstretched (usually caused by strong impact), it is difficult to return the metal back to the original condition, but we can significantly improve the dent without any fillers, bondo or paint.
As long as a dent is accessible from behind and the metal is not overstretched the outcome performed by our PDR technicians is simply amazing.
While excellent customer service and the warranty behind our work will give you peace of mind, know that SOS PDR technicians have excellent hand-eye coordination developed from hundreds of hours of practice, knowledge about different types of metal, aluminum, composite, and paint, as well as how shape, curvature, body lines and components behind a dent affect the surrounding area. And most importantly, they are experienced in removing vehicle parts (from behind the dent to allow access) and then reinstalling them without damaging your vehicle.
Understanding the process of PDR is simple but performing it correctly is another. It takes much practice for a PDR technician to perfect the craft of transforming a dent or ding into a “work of art.” Determining the best method to remove a dent, ding, or crease takes knowledge and experience to guarantee a perfect paintless dent repair.
SOS AUTOCRAFT is determined to astound you with our service so we Guarantee all our repairs or there will be no charge.
Paintless Dent Removal (PDR) or Door Ding Repair is a repair method using specially designed tools and techniques to remove dents or dings from your vehicle without a trace!
PDR works best on doors, fenders, hood, quarter panels, roofs, and trunks. It does not work well in areas less than inch to the edge of a panel or where access behind dent is closed (double metal, brace, reinforcement bar, etc) or on overstretched metal. If dent is on aluminum panel, it can also be fixed and the same rules apply.
A PDR technician uses special tools to access the dent from behind. Because the tool is not visible, the technician has to rely on different types of reflections to guide the tool and gently apply pressure to massage out the dent while preserving the original paint finish. We can also use glue pulling method if the paint is original. The glue pulling method is great for hard to reach areas and for removing big dents.
Here at SOS Autocraft we have technicians experienced in PDR and auto body repair, so if your vehicle’s damage cannot be repaired utilizing the PDR method, we can discuss alternative options and your trip will not be wasted.
We are a professional collision repair shop (find us on Yelp) and we work with all major insurance companies. Our technicians are experienced in PDR, body work, and painting. Using this knowledge, we can identify the extent of the dent, previous repair work (if any), and determine the best method to prevent paint from cracking. If we determine that PDR is the best method to repair your dent, a technician will work carefully and meticulously to remove the dent. Some dents can be removed while you wait.
You can rest assured that if you select SOS AUTOCRAFT, you will be getting a skilled and experienced Paintless Dent Removal technician.