Category Archives: Blog

How to Keep Your Car in Good Shape This Summer


As summer begins and trips to Lake Lanier or your go-to hiking trail become a weekend tradition, it’s time to make sure your car is in good shape. You don’t want your trip to end on the side of the road, and this car care list can help you prioritize what you need to check.

An important note: You’ll want to schedule repair or maintenance appointments before the week you leave on your trip, so it’s finished before you leave. Continue reading How to Keep Your Car in Good Shape This Summer

What You Need to Know About Collision Repair in Marietta

Your Local Repair Shop


As a collision repair company in Marietta, we’re experienced in getting cars back on the road. Traffic Southbound in the morning and Northbound on the way home on I-75 can be miserable, and unfortunately car accidents can happen and add to the headache of your commute.

The two big questions we receive from customers are about the collision repair process and how their auto insurance works during this repair. Our process is built to give you peace of mind while your car is being fixed.

Your auto insurance experience will differ depending on your policy, but we know how these companies work. We walk you through each step and make sure you are getting the most out of your policy.


The Collision Repair Process

We’ve developed a thorough repair process with multiple quality control checks built in, which ensures you receive the best care and service possible.

The collision repair process includes the following steps:

  1. Repair estimate
  2. Approval from all parties
  3. Ordering parts
  4. Scheduling repairs
  5. Vehicle disassembly
  6. Structural, body, and paint repairs
  7. Vehicle reassembly
  8. Vehicle detailing
  9. Vehicle delivery

Repair Estimate

We complete the repair estimate with all relevant customer and vehicle information. The data is entered into a computer program to create an estimate. This is the preliminary estimate, which we finalize later on upon disassembling to confirm any hidden damage.

Approval from All Parties

Upon completing the preliminary estimate, we’ll get your approval to begin work. If the repair is covered by your insurance, then we will also need approval from them regarding the parts used and the anticipated cost.

This step is often a quick one, but if we need approval from your insurance company it can add additional time. But as soon as the approval is complete, we move to the next step.

Ordering Parts and Scheduling Repairs

In order to shorten the length of time you are without your car or truck, we order the initial parts before your appointment. This is based on the preliminary estimate, though we may need additional parts if we find hidden damage.


Vehicle Disassembly

Once your vehicle arrives at our Marietta shop for repair, we’ll disassemble the portion that needs to be repaired. This is an important step, because hidden damage can be lurking behind body panels.

If we find hidden damage, we’ll adjust the repair estimate and confirm it with your insurance company. 

Structural, Body, and Paint Repairs

Upon disassembly, our talented team of mechanics and painters will work on repairing your car to pre-accident specifications. This includes repairing structural misalignment, body panels, and painting the repaired sections.

Our auto repairs are always performed to manufacturer-specified dimensions, and we use the parts they recommend. In order to get an exact color match for your car, we use a NAPA-approved computer system.


Vehicle Reassembly

During reassembly, we’ll reinstall lights, molding, trim, and remaining hardware. Our mechanics will confirm that all electrical and mechanical functions are working properly, and will also perform wheel alignments and A/C recharges, if necessary.

The last step in reassembly is a road test, where we’ll make sure your car is restored to its pre-accident performance.

Vehicle Detailing

Once the road test is complete, we’ll carefully detail your car, including washing and polishing the exterior, and vacuuming the interior. Before you arrive to pick it up, our team will inspect it one more time.


Your car is now back to working condition, and has been inspected multiple times. When you arrive to pick up your vehicle, we’ll walk through the final bill and collect payment.

As a NAPA Collision & Repair Center, every vehicle repair we make is backed with NAPA’s Nationwide Lifetime Warranty, giving you peace of mind as you drive your newly repaired car or truck.

Know Your Auto Insurance Policy

In Georgia, auto insurance companies cannot dictate where you take your car for service. Owner Shelly Jackson is a former insurance adjuster, and knows all the insurance “tricks of the trade” so we can help you get the best collision repair service available.

When you experience a car accident, the collision repair process can be confusing. This is why it’s important to keep a copy of your auto insurance policy. This will outline everything you need to know about your policy.

  • Rental car coverage
  • Towing coverage
  • Policy deductible
  • Parts covered


Rental Car Coverage

If your vehicle needs to be in our repair shop for more than a few days, you may decide to use a rental car. This can minimize the impact your accident has on your schedule, but it can also add to the cost.

One way to avoid this is to have rental car coverage on your auto policy. This coverage is generally limited to a maximum daily amount. It is also inexpensive and can be a valuable addition to your policy.

If you don’t have rental car coverage, we work with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to provide you with a discounted rate, as well as transportation to and from our shop to their lot.

Towing Coverage

If your car needs to be towed into our shop, you have a few options. For example, if you have a AAA membership, towing is included.

Depending on your car’s location, though, the cost can increase quickly. And if you’re new to the area, finding a reputable towing company can be a challenge.

In order to provide you with a smooth experience, we’ve built a relationship with Falcon Towing Service. They can affordably tow your vehicle from Marietta, Smyrna, and neighboring cities.

Policy Deductible

Every insurance policy has a deductible, and auto insurance policies are commonly set at $500 per claim. The higher the deductible, the lower the insurance premium, and vice versa.

This deductible will be taken from the check you get from your insurance company for the collision repair, and you will need to pay the difference.

When choosing an auto insurance policy, ensure that you have the deductible you want. Lowering your deductible is often only a few dollars difference in your premium. This will help you avoid any surprises if you need to use it, adding additional stress to your collision repair situation.


Parts Covered

While we use factory parts for your vehicle repair whenever possible, we are limited to what your insurance policy covers. In some cases, this means we will replace any damaged parts with the parts dictated by your insurance company.

If you prefer a specific part, you are able to request this change and pay the difference.

We know collision repair can add stress, so we want to change that. At Auto Innovations in Marietta, we take care of everything for you. This includes discussing your insurance options, reserving a rental car, providing a reputable towing company, and completing the entire repair.

Our experienced team is ready to help you get back on the road. We’re open 8am to 6pm Monday through Thursday, and 8am to 5pm on Friday. Call, click, or stop in for your collision estimate today!

Don’t Be a Victim of Auto Repair Scams!

slide2Have you ever wondered why your insurance company has a pre-arranged body shop for vehicle repairs? It’s because it’s in their best interest to have a place to send your damaged car to, because they can control the auto-body repair costs. If your insurance company owns the auto-body repair shop, they can dictate how much it costs, what parts they will pay for, and the quality of workmanship. They also don’t need a second opinion if they own the body shop, or employ the owner!

One way that they commonly cut their costs is by using after -market parts, not new automotive parts. They can also offer you a “fast buy-out” and a quick pay off, for a lower accident settlement. This is all to benefit the insurance company. They may not allow you to get the best quality repair parts that you deserve, choosing used or refurbished replacements.

In the state of Georgia, insurance carriers cannot dictate where you take your car to be repaired. No one knows this better than former insurance adjuster and owner of shelly-e1371597005614Auto Innovations, Inc. Collision and Repair Center, Shelly Jackson. She knows all the insurance “tricks of the trade”. Shelly knows how to assess a vehicle after a collision- the right way. By doing a thorough inspection of the vehicle, not just guessing, all damages can be better accessed. This means that the vehicle may need to be partially dismantled to see all the damages. A typical on-site auto inspection can’t do that.

If you choose to take an instant cash settlement for the car accident, you could be losing money for the real repair costs! Bring it to Auto Innovations, Inc. in Cobb County, Georgia for a second opinion. Auto Innovations, Inc. is more concerned with the quality of parts and the auto-body repair work for the customer’s satisfaction.

If you have a dent on your car, have fender or bumper damage, need a new auto paint job, or have a car accident and need major body repair for your vehicle, come to Auto Innovations, Inc. in Marietta, Georgia for a great experience in auto-body car repair!

How to Remove Bumper Stickers From Your Car

bumpersticker removalMaybe your candidate didn’t win? Maybe your child isn’t on the honor roll anymore? Or, Maybe you purchased a used car and the previous owner had decorated the rear bumper with a half-dozen bumper stickers. If those stickers aren’t helping your image anymore, then removing the stickers from your new car is a top priority!

Here’s what to do when they’re affixed to the bumper, on the glass, or inside the car.

How to Remove Old Stickers from Your Car

If you’re lucky, removing stickers from your car will be an easy process. Simply start peeling back a corner until the bumper sticker begins to detach. Work on all four corners and you may have that sticker off within minutes.

Unfortunately, not all bumper stickers will be so easy to remove. The sun light, warm air, and the age of the sticker can mean that progress is virtually impossible without utilizing one or more alternative methods.

  1. One common way to remove bumper stickers is to use a hair dryer. Set it on a “high” setting and slowly move it back and forth across the sticker. The heat should loosen the sticker for quick removal.

2. Another option is to boil water and apply it directly to the sticker. Wait at least one minute to allow the water to penetrate, then begin peeling the sticker off the car.

3. Using vinegar is another method, and is preferable, if you don’t want to deal with boiling water. Here, you will either spray vinegar directly on the bumper sticker or soak a cloth in vinegar and apply that directly. Wait five minutes and the sticker should be ready for removal.

Bumper Sticker Removal From Glass

A sticker affixed to glass, such as your back windshield or windows, will require a different approach. One of the easiest ways to attempt removing stickers from your car’s glass is to brush or spray cooking oil on the sticker and leave it in place for one or two hours. Once the oil has had time to penetrate, then the sticker should peel right off.

You might also use a box cutter or a razor to remove leftover residue, but always be careful not to scratch the glass.

Remove Stickers From Your Car’s Interior

Did your kids get some free stickers at the dentist office, and then apply them to your leather seat? Or, what if a sticker was affixed to the dashboard or is on the glove box? Removing stickers from your car’s interior can pose a significant challenge.

In most cases, the dashboard is composed of plastic, rubber or some other non-leather material. You will want to be extra careful here as the wrong solution could damage or discolor the surface. A soapy mixture of water and dish detergent left on the sticker may be sufficient. Make sure you allow it plenty of time to penetrate before peeling and removing.

As for leather, be very careful here. What you cannot peel away with your fingers may come free with the detergent mixture instead. Once the residue has been removed, liberally apply leather conditioner to the affected area.

When you’re done removing the bumper stickers, your car will no longer look like the rolling advertisement or political statement it once was.

Shelly Jackson

Which Car Wax Should You Use?

Protecting your car’s paint with regular wax application is one of the easiest ways to prevent early corrosion and other harmful environmental effects. You should understand the differences between wax types and how long each treatment will last to determine which will be the best car wax for your vehicle.

Water beading off of waxed car

One rule remains true no matter which type of wax you use: Always apply wax to a surface that is cool, dry and clean. Applying wax to a hot, dirty or sun-exposed surface could potentially cause more harm than good. You should begin applying wax after the vehicle has been thoroughly cleaned and is in a shaded or sheltered area.

Here are the 4 types of wax that you can buy:

1. Spray Wax

Spray wax is the easiest and quickest way to protect your vehicle’s paint, and each brand has different levels of effectiveness. The spray method of distributing wax on your vehicle also removes the buffing stage that more traditional wax applications require. Similar to other varieties of wax, spray wax comes in natural or synthetic options. Spray wax may need to be reapplied fairly frequently.

2. Liquid Wax

Liquid wax is probably one of the most commonly used types of car wax. Its versatility allows you to choose a treatment that is tailored to your unique needs, such as your car’s color and desired shine level. Liquid wax is available in both natural and synthetic formulas. Those who live in sunny, high-UV exposure areas may want to choose a synthetic blend to allow for numerous reapplications.

3. Paste Wax

If you’re looking to go pro, this is the grade of wax for you: It deepens the colors of your car’s paint and will keep your car looking showroom-ready. However, using this old-school wax requires the right tools — namely, a buffer — a copious amount of time and the willingness to reapply wax every 10 weeks, as it lacks the durability of a liquid wax. If you own a newer vehicle, this wax may be a bit impractical; if you own a classic, however, you can do no better than a good paste wax.

4. Wash and Wax

Wash and wax sprays are hybrid sprays that typically combine natural and synthetic waxes, and do not require a pre-wash. If you’re an on-the-go type of person, this treatment will save you time and offer decent protection. This two-in-one wax is principally meant to be used between wax applications, with one of the waxes listed above as your base coat.

Choosing the right wax for your car is essential to preserving your car’s shine and exterior health. Whether you’re a DIY weekend warrior or casual commuter, there’s a wax out there that’ll have your ride looking like it just rolled off the lot.

Shelly Jackson

Are You Trying to Spray Paint Your Car?

spray paint

Spray painting a car is one of those ideas that seems good, until you actually put it into practice. A proper automotive paint job takes more than just aiming a can at the metal and holding down on the spray button until it’s empty. An entire process of preparation and technique is required if you want to ensure an even and durable finish. It’s better to use quality products intended for automobiles from the get-go.

There are many reasons spray painting a car is a bad idea. Here are the top four.

1) It Will Take You Forever. Professional paint guns that use compressed air to paint an automobile are specially built to provide a continuous flow of product, which is precisely metered. Spray cans shoot paint at a rate that’s based on their ultra-cheap nozzles, which are not guaranteed to flow at the same speed or provide the same spray pattern. As a result, the amount of spray paint that lands on any given spot on your automobile is going to be completely random — which means you’ll have to spend a significant amount of time wet-sanding, re-spraying and wet-sanding again if you hope to achieve any kind of decent finish.

2) The Colors Won’t Match. The color in a can of spray paint is not guaranteed to match the one on the shelf beside it, even if the color on the cap is the same. That is because quality control for spray paint colors works on a per-batch basis, and you have no way of knowing if the cans at the store came from the same batch until you start to spray. You’ll face a splotchy finish that will present an uneven color depending on which panel you’re looking at.

3) The Cans Will Clog, Then Clog Again. Spray painting a car was never in the design spec for the cans of paint you’ll pick up at a retail store. They were meant for shorter or smaller jobs, which means that their nozzles simply can’t handle blasting out paint continuously until the can is empty. As soon as you hold down on a spray paint can for more than 15 seconds or so, the nozzle will start to clog. This leads to a dripping mess, not just on the ground or on your pants, but also on the car itself. Globs of paint can also detach themselves from the nozzle, and splatter against the panel they’re pointed at.

4) The Paint Job Won’t Last Long. Spray paint was never meant to take the kind of abuse thrown at a car. The heat of the engine operating can result in paint flaking off the hood, rocks and debris kicked up by other vehicles can chip paint on the front of the car; and constant exposure to snow and rain will make your spray paint job fade much more quickly than automotive paint.

Even if you spray a clear coat over your work, spray painting a car merely prolongs the inevitable: the need to actually have a professional paint job done at some point in the future. Do your car paint research to get the most out of your body shop visit, then bite the bullet and give your car a coat of paint that will last.

Get a free estimate on a new paint job for your car, here: Estimate

5 Easy Tips to Give Your Car the Best Wax and Shine

carwaxWaxing your car is a great way to protect the paint from being damaged by weather conditions, small rocks and road grime while bringing out the natural shine. There are just as many opinions about how and when you should wax your car as there are automotive enthusiasts, but here are five car waxing tips and tricks that hold true no matter where you live or what you drive.

1. Preparation Is Key: Before you even think about putting wax to paint, you’ll have to make sure your car is as clean as possible. Dust and grime can scour your finish during application.

Once everything’s clean, you’ll also need to dry the car thoroughly. You don’t want any water leaking down and mixing with the wax.

Finally, do not wash or wax it in direct sunlight, as the heat can cure the wax into your paint before it’s ready to be removed.

2. Choose Your Products Wisely: Before you select the wax you’re going to use, you’ll have to decide how you’re going to apply it. If you’re unsure, stick with hand application; this method requires either terry cloth detailing towels or special wax application pads.

3. Carnauba or Polymer? It’s normal to feel overwhelmed the first time you wander down the wax aisle and discover the variety of options and brands available. In general, automotive waxes can be broken down into two different categories: carnauba and polymer.

Carnauba-based products contain a natural, tree-derived wax that offers a deep, wet-look shine, but they are somewhat harder to work with as carnauba is fairly stiff. Polymer waxes, also known as sealants, use polymer compounds and acrylic resins to bond to you car’s paint and provide a layer of protection and shine that’s not quite as deep, but that is much easier to use. Polymer lasts a lot longer before requiring a re-application: usually 6 months versus 60 days for carnauba. You’ll also find waxes that combine carnauba and polymers, giving you a third option to consider.

4. Wax on, Wax off: Applying wax is actually quite simple. If you’re working by hand, squirt, dab or spread a small amount of wax directly on your terry cloth or pad and then work it into the paint using steady pressure in a circular motion. Working in small sections at a time, keep at it until the wax has absorbed into the paint. Make sure not to get any on black trim or plastic. Use a clean terry cloth to remove any excess wax once it has dried.

5. Buff It up: Once the wax is removed, it’s time to buff your car to make sure the wax that has bonded with the paint really shines. Using a clean terry cloth, wipe the paint gently in a circular motion until you start to get the deep reflective look you are going for. You can buff your car after every wash — as long as it’s clean and dry — to help keep it looking its best between waxings.

For more great car questions and answers, read here: faq

Auto Body Repair by a Former Insurance Adjuster

Are you worried about taking your vehicle somewhere else to be fixed, other than the “insurance company body shop”? There is no need to worry! In the state of Georgia, you have a right to take your car to ANY body shop that you want! Your auto insurance carrier cannot force you to go to their shop. The owner of Auto Innovations knows this is true, because she was an insurance adjuster!

There are several reasons why insurance adjusters want you to take your car to the insurance company’s pre-arranged auto body shop:

  1. They can save money on after-market parts, over using new ones in the car repair
  2. They can offer you a “fast buy-out”, and a quick pay off for a lower overall accident settlement
  3. They want to control the repairs- and the costs- for their insurance company!

Let’s face it: Getting auto-body repair from an insurance-owned shop or a pre-approved body shop is probably not going to compare to a privately owned body shop with a NAPA guarantee!

The best advice we can give you is to get a second opinion (or a second estimate) on your auto-body repair work, instead of settling on the insurance company’s sole opinion.

If you have a dent on your car, have fender or bumper damage, need a new paint job, or have a car accident and need major auto-body repair, come to Auto Innovations in Marietta, Georgia for a great experience in car repair!

Auto Body Shop: All Insurance Repairs Welcome!

I recently spoke to a customer who brought in their vehicle to the shop. They told me that their insurance company scares people into thinking that their auto repair work won’t be guaranteed, that it won’t be up to “their standards”, and that it will take longer to repair. The client was worried about bringing it to us at first because she felt bullied by her insurance company. The insurance company told her that her car would not be fully taken care of if she went elsewhere. But the choice is really yours: You can also choose which body shop to take your car to after a car accident!

Structural repairNo Worries Here: We are a NAPA Approved Auto-Body Shop

When you bring your car in to us, it will get the best diagnosis, the best auto-body repair work, and the best mechanical repairs right her in our shop. We don’t use after-market parts or skimp on repairs. We fight for the customer and their vehicle.

We Offer the Voice of Experience with Insurance

The owner of Auto Innovations & Collision was a former insurance adjuster! When it comes to knowing how to get your vehicle repairs done right and get them covered by your insurance company, you can count on us to to a thorough and complete job.

Call us anytime between 8am-6pm, or use our after hours drop-off if your car needs to be towed or left overnight. Call 770- 499-6011 for more information.


Confessions of an Auto Body Shop (excerpts from and article)


We liked an article we recently found on with some great points for body shop consumers. We have summarized it in some areas, and expanded in others.

Here are some great points to help you learn why it pays to know what you’re looking at when you choose a shop to start your repairs.

Know That Body Shops Run the Quality Gamut

How true is it that when we shop for groceries, the various stores “run the gamut” of quality? We all know that some store brands aren’t as good as the name brands. That is just common knowledge.

The same is true when it comes to your body shop. In the article, a gentleman named Neal who is a shop owner says: “I don’t care what state you live in, for every 10 body shops, three of them are unethical and five of them do mediocre work at best.” We agree. It benefits the customer to build a relationship with the manager and/or owner of the shop. Knowing who you are doing business with is essential to getting repairs done correctly and at the right price. Some “chain” shops will do the bare minimum to keep the customers thinking they are getting a great deal, all while doing sub-par work and cutting lots of corners to save a buck. Beware of fantastically low initial estimates- hang on, we will get to that in just a second.

Pay attention to other people’s experience with the shop you are considering. Read reviews, ask around, and form a good picture of the history behind the shop. Are they backed by a warranty? If so, is that warranty nationwide or just to that particular shop? Are they trusted by the BBB? What happens if you are not 100% satisfied with the outcome of the repairs? What is your expectation of how the repairs should be done?
Understand Your Estimate

Sometimes, when you get a repair estimate at a couple of different places, the estimates are just polar opposites. Scary thought. In theory, the estimates should resemble one another in price-at least remotely. The explanation of some of this is best said from this article: “Our three experts remind us that collision-repair facilities and insurance companies use one of three systems for estimating repair jobs to arrive at standardized, impartial quotes. Theoretically, this means three different shops will present similar estimates. But insurance companies will sometimes present their policyholders with a low quote that bears no relationship to the product of these estimating systems, Brian says. And if the consumer decides he can live with minor body damage and elects to pocket the check rather than pay to have the damage repaired, the carrier has quickly cleared another claim.”

Part of the paradigm here, is something so simple that people forget very easily: parts are expensive these days! With all of the new and budding technology in metals, computer systems, and designs to vehicles, the prices have skyrocketed. It simply isn’t as cheap to fix what seems to be a “tiny bump” anymore.

Our very own expert and owner of Auto Innovations, Shelly Jackson, expands on this area: “One thing that I find most people don’t realize, is how many parts are designed to be “one time use” items. For instance, bumper covers (the part of the bumper that you see) are most of the time held on by clips, and those clips are designed to be put in place one time only. In other words, once you have an impact or remove them, they aren’t designed to go back on, and if we were to put them back on it would cause problems in the long run. After all, no one wants a bumper to sag or fall off a few months after a repair! These “one time use” parts can add up on the estimate, and be confusing to understand when you see them listed. Some shops will reuse the items; or will leave them off the initial estimate all together just to reduce the sticker shock, and get a customer in the door. All that just to add them later on for an additional cost- but, we will get to that in a minute.

In understanding an estimate, you want to realize that the insurance company is going to give the lowest estimate they possibly can in order to minimize their spending. They get paid your premiums, and believe us, they want to keep them. Know that when you get an estimate from a reputable body shop, they will attempt to be as comprehensive as possible on the front end. Being as thorough as possible up front can eliminate delays in repairs and many headaches later in the process.

Want to know more about the actual line by line of the estimate? Here are these tips from the article that we will explain:

Get an Estimate Breakdown

Make sure you understand the “line by line” from the shops you get estimates from. Some shops that are going to attempt a “bait and switch” to get you in the door will have a very simple estimate with only the largest parts listed to keep the costs low. Beware of these estimates. They may look simple and to the point to a customer, but may leave out important pieces that are necessary to complete the job. At this point one of two things will happen: 1. they will add them in later at the additional cost, or 2. they are going to attempt to cut corners, and for that, the customer looses both value in the repair and the car overall.

It is good to know that there will be what we know as “supplements” on the repairs. This is where we get into a repair, and find an unexpected broken part, or we learn that the original quoted price of a part has changed. In these cases, typically, the supplement is submitted to the insurance company and the customer may never even know it happens. If you are paying for the repairs yourself, the repair shop should always call to inform you before proceeding, and be able to provide you with verification of the change.

Turn Down the “Save the Deductible” Come-on

YIKES! We are always scared of this statement. Our owner, Shelly, was on the insurance side of the equation for over 7 years. She has learned the law on this particular subject and says that it is very dangerous territory.

Firstly, it IS ILLEGAL for anyone to “save the deductible” by over billing the insurance company for labor that they didn’t do at all, or for parts they never replaced. Here is what the article says: “The shop is basically offering to scam the insurance company for the consumer by not collecting the deductible payment. But Andy says that what such a shop is really intending to do is to either not perform necessary work, or overcharge for something to compensate for the waived deductible. “Collision repair shops are businesses, and like any business, can’t afford to not charge for work that is being performed,” Andy tells us. “If a shop says they can waive the deductible…that is something for consumers to be cautious of.”

Ask About the Parts

Parts aren’t always just parts. There are options. Aftermarket, recycled/used, new. Some insurance companies attempt to “require” the use of ‘aftermarket’ parts (parts that are essentially generic parts not made by the vehicle manufacturer) before they will dole out the cash for the dealer original parts, aka ‘OEM’ parts. It is important to know that the use of the aftermarket parts isn’t always a bad thing- especially if you are repairing an older vehicle and plan to pay out of pocket. However, a glaring majority of the time, they won’t fit properly, or not at all- and that makes a difference in the quality of the repair and resale value. In the event that the insurance company has this “requirement”, if the aftermarket parts do not fit, they will move on to new parts from the dealer. The body shop needs to document thoroughly what parts did not work and why, and the difference is then cleared by the insurance. The article says: “The aftermarket industry says its products are built to industry standards and are as good as those produced by the OEMs. Your decision on which to use likely depends on the age of your car, the size of your wallet and the terms of your insurance policy. In any case, make sure you get your body shop to define its terms. Will it use OEM parts? Aftermarket? New? Used? Will it repair and reuse a part from your car?”

Being informed about the parts used in your repair is essential in keeping the bottom line low, and the quality of the repair high.

Beware of Shops in Cahoots With Adjusters

Some shops attempt to get increased insurance business by “schmoozing” the adjusters. This relationship can cause the customer to get the raw end of the deal in the repairs they receive. If a shop is spending money and time to impress an insurance company, that is time they are NOT being the advocate for their customer. Shops know that the insurance company is attempting to keep every penny possible from being spent on repairs, and if the shop cuts corners to meet that low ball estimate, the customer ultimately suffers.

Bottom line: make sure you are being advocated for, the insurance company has PLENTY of advocates.

Don’t Get Pushed to “Preferred” Auto Body Shops

Here we are again with advocacy for YOU, the customer.

Let us first begin with a law. It is completely illegal for an insurance company to “steer” a customer to an insurance shop. The term steering simply means they are directing you to their shop, and a lot of the time, they do it by bullying. This is wrong. Insurance companies control these collision repair facilities by promising them steady work in exchange for corner-cutting, according to the insiders we interviewed. This control may encourage some body shops to “back charge,” or build in extra costs to cover areas not covered by the insurance company.

We have even heard directly from customers that insurance companies tell them that they will refuse to pay for things “if you don’t use one of our shops”. This practice is illegal. The things they like to say they won’t cover are things like: rental car, certain types of parts, and warranty on the repairs. When you are being bullied like this is when it pays to know your policy. For example, if it is written in the policy that you have, and pay for, rental coverage, they will cover it at the shop YOU choose. Sometimes with warranties on work, the insurance company won’t cover the repairs if you don’t use their “authorized” shop. This is NOT a reason to panic and use their shop. Any reputable shop will cover their product with a good warranty. For instance, we offer a lifetime nationwide warranty on all of our collision and finish work, and manufacturer warranty time on parts.

Be Your Own Advocate
In this area, we think the article says it right:

“Sad to say, the body shop experts we spoke with say that the consumer can’t rely completely on body shops or insurance companies to watch out for their interests. You have to act as your own advocate, choose the best shop and remain alert to overcharging and misrepresentation.”Most body shop owners are very concerned about getting good feedback and building a list of customers who’ll come back next time work is needed,” Andy says. “Find those shops, work with them, and nine times out of 10, things will go smoothly.”