Having worked in insurance in NY and NJ for a few years, I can say it's the opposite out here. If you bring your car to a body shop and tell them you're looking to pay out of pocket (off the street estimate), they're going to gouge you by charging you labor rates that are double what an insurance company will pay, replacing a fender that can easily be repaired, etc. If they know they're writing an estimate for an insurance company they know they'll only be able to charge $X for labor, etc. because they know someone with technical knowledge is going to be reviewing the estimate against damage photos with a fine-tooth comb.in my experience, body shops charge double for insurance jobs.
1. get estimate, tell them its for insurance (make sure it is a thorough estimate*)
2. get a check
3. go to another body shop and tell them you will pay cash.
4. keep half your money
*in California, body shops have gotten wise to this and give you a low estimate and a assurance, "Don't worry, if we find anything more (and they will), we will simply file a supplemental claim to get it all fixed right". This is pure BS and designed to make sure you either get underpaid if you take a check, or the body shop gets fully paid once they start your work. Either way, the shop tries to screw you. If you suspect this is happening ALWAYS call the adjuster out to the shop and contend that the estimate is way low. Insurance companies don't care either way (usually) unless the adjuster is a sweetheart with the shop, in which case you go to another shop. This happened to me ONCE and it sure as hell isn't going to happen again.
That probably means you have it referenced to a local drive, you are the only one that can see it, as it has not "left the building"...Thanks for the replies folks. Just a general question - is no one else seeing the picture I included in the post? I see it when I come back to the thread, but several of you have mentioned that you don't see any pictures...
THIS IS WHAT I STARTED TO TYPE: Don't do this. Make a claim, your insurance rates aren't going to go up to the degree that it would be worth not making one.By the way, took it to the body shop today. I have a shop that is a life-long friend of a life-long friend and he's done work for me before, so I trust him and they do good work. Looks like it's gonna be $1,500 - new fender, new logo plate, repair on the door. I'm just going to pay out of pocket for it. I have a $500 deductible on my insurance so it's not worth at least three years of higher insurance in order to get the $1,000 of it that would be covered from the insurance company.
I'm not sure how that particular link explains it, but yes, in California the rates can go up substantially with one claim. Several years ago, I talked over the a situation with my agent where there was roughly $900 in damage on a very slow speed accident that was my fault (5-6 mph tap on a rear bumper, no injuries, somewhat older vehicle). At the time, my rate would have gone up about $700 per year for three years if I filed the claim for the $900. He said anything over $750 in damage goes on my record and counts against me in terms of rates. I imagine it's pretty much the same now. I had a great driving record then, and have a great driving record since then (no tickets or accidents on my record). So, it really is worth it to me to just eat the $1,000 now rather than pay more than double that over the next three years in increased premiums.THIS IS WHAT I STARTED TO TYPE: Don't do this. Make a claim, your insurance rates aren't going to go up to the degree that it would be worth not making one.
THEN I REALIZED IT MIGHT BE DIFFERENT IN CALIFORNIA AND SAW THIS:
Holy jeez California!!! I hope that's not for real. I'd still consult your agent if you have one though.
BTW, it must be something with our network security. As soon as I looked from my phone I could see the pictures.