When you’ve been in an accident, it’s understandable to be shaken up or surprised. After you make sure everyone is okay and contact the police to report the accident, one of the first steps you’ll want to take is to contact your insurance company’s claim department. While your insurance company will be helpful in a lot of ways, there is one thing they may ask you to do that we recommend turning to a qualified autobody shop for instead – appraising the damage to your vehicle.

Why should you let a qualified autobody shop handle your appraisal?

While your insurance appraiser has a responsibility to take care of you as a customer, and most do a great job of that, they still work for the insurance company and they have a responsibility to them as well. In many cases, insurance companies are looking to save money whenever and wherever they can. Trying to keep your appraisal as low as possible is another way for them to keep costs down.

While our team at Reliable Collision wants to make sure your vehicle leaves our shop in near-showroom quality, the insurance company is more likely to make sure the vehicle looks “good enough” rather than “just right.” That doesn’t mean that they want to see a questionable repair job, but it does mean they may not be as detailed in their appraisal as a Class-A repair shop like Reliable Collison.

This can quickly become a problem if the insurance company appraises your damages at a specific value before you take your vehicle to a repair shop. If your repair shop starts to notice details and needed repairs that the insurance appraisal missed, the cost of the repair may be higher than the appraisal. This results in a back-and-forth between the insurance company and your repair shop that can draw out the repair process and might even leave you stuck paying part of the bill.

One of the main reasons that might happen is because cars can hide damage under bumper covers and behind sheet metal. There are a lot of components packed into tight areas on today’s vehicles that you can’t see from a visual estimate. That’s why at Reliable Collision, we disassemble each vehicle to make a complete blueprint of the repairs needed. A “visual estimate” is nothing more than a guess but a blueprint is a complete diagnosis of what is needed to repair the vehicle and safety system inspection. This makes our quoting process much more accurate than the insurance appraiser’s process.

If you go to an auto body shop like ours for an appraisal first instead of the insurance company, you will get a more accurate quote, preventing all of the hassle with the insurance company. Meanwhile, the insurance company would pay out the difference in quotes – not the customer. Thankfully, in the state of Rhode Island, you have the right to choose your repair facility and your insurance company is not allowed to interfere with that choice.

What should I look out for?

To get more customers to turn to them for appraisals (and keep their costs down), insurance companies have been using the following two methods lately:

  1. Offering appraisals by photo – While this may sound like a convenient option, it can create lots of hassle later on as we mentioned above. The problem is, there is only so much someone can learn about a vehicle’s damage from a photo. Other issues may be hidden just below the surface that even a trained eye might not see if they do not appraise the vehicle in person. This could leave important repairs out of the appraisal. On top of that, it can be unfair to trust the average driver to know what photos they should even be taking.
  2. Asking customers to visit drive-through appraisal centers – This may seem like another convenient option, but it’s best to avoid this as well. While the insurance appraisers at these centers are professionals, it’s important to remember that they still work for the insurance company and have a responsibility to that company to save them money. They’re not necessarily trying to give you a “bad” quote, but their process is going to be different than that of a Class A body shop and their appraisal may be biased to keep costs down.

Why trust Reliable Collision?

You can trust Reliable Collision because we leave our appraisals up to our highly-qualified and experienced staff. Our responsibility is to our customers and only our customers meaning that we will do everything we can to make sure you get an accurate appraisal. We also have the skills and know-how to make sure your car leaves our lot in mint condition.

As a Class-A shop, we notice a lot of minor details that the insurance company and most other shops may miss. What’s great about this is that if our quote is higher than what the insurance company’s quote would be, that cost falls on the insurance company, not on you. That means that when you turn to us for an appraisal, you are receiving the highest level of care possible at no additional cost to you.

Not only that, but our Class-A certification and our long list of other certifications hold us accountable to strict guidelines set by the state of RI as well as car manufacturers. We are proud to be one of about 30 out of over 200 body shops in RI to receive a Class-A certification.

If you’ve been in an accident and are looking for an appraisal, call (401) 823-4770! Even if you haven’t been in an accident, we recommend saving our number in case you need it one day.