Yes! In Illinois it is your 100% YOUR choice who repairs your car. Your insurance company might strongly recommend or steer you to one of their preferred shops, but it is always your choice.
Do your homework and choose the best shop you can find. Then inform your insurance company that is where you want your car repaired. They might still try and talk you into using ‘their’ shop, by stating it might cost more, or they won’t warranty repairs, but it is the shop that warranties the repairs, not the insurance company. The costs to the customer are the same. You would only be responsible for your deductible, if you are the insured.
Direct Repair Programs that insurance companies have in place are not for the benefit of you, the consumer. – Please read about the Boyce Difference.
Walk-ins are welcome, although it is best to call ahead so we can advise you of the process and possible wait time.
No. There is no need to obtain multiple estimates for your insurance company. If you want to shop around, that’s fine, but if you have a shop you are comfortable with, don’t waste your time collecting multiple estimates. In most cases the insurance company will write their own estimate anyway, and that is ok, we will use that as a starting point.
Differences in repair estimates are common. Our estimators write their estimates looking at all visible damage, and will also tell you if they suspect there might be any additional damage found upon disassembly.
Some estimators will miss obvious visible damage in order to be the lowest estimate, but then will most certainly find those costs while doing the repair. Also a lower estimate may be written for aftermarket parts instead of OEM.
If you ever would like to know why two estimates are different, we are more than happy to compare and explain the difference. Then you can decide what the best choice for your situation is.
The Best Time to Find a Collision Repair Shop is Before an Accident!
The three most important items to look for:
1. Choose a shop that will work FOR YOU, with your insurance company.
This is so important! Most insurance companies have DRP’s (direct repair shops). DRP shops sometimes make great concessions to insurance companies to be on their “list”. Don’t let your insurance company tell you where to have your car repaired! Make it YOUR choice.
It’s essential to have an advocate who has your best interests in mind to negotiate the repairs of your vehicle, and someone to insist the car not be repaired if they feel it won’t be safe.
2. Find a shop you can trust
On rare occasions a customer will ask to include damage costs that are clearly not a part of the accident, or pad an estimate to save a deductible. A shop that would consent to either of these requests is committing insurance fraud, and cheating the insurance company. If they are unethical enough to cheat them, they are probably cutting corners on your repair and cheating their customers also. Find an honest ethical shop, which you can trust.
3. Visit a Shop, Look Around, Ask Questions
What kind of cars is the shop working on? A restoration shop might not be the best place for you to have your new model Lexus repaired, and likewise if you have a ’69 Camaro, you might not want it restored in a shop that is working on all late model collision damage.
Investments in equipment are essential for any car that has sustained major collision damage. It is absolutely necessary the shop have a computerized frame measuring system, and proper welding equipment. To obtain the best finish on a car, a shop should have a downdraft paint booth. Ask if they have this equipment.
9 Step Repair Process
In some cases, your insurance company will write the original estimate that we will use as a starting point. In other cases our estimator will write an estimate based on the visible damage he can see. Often, additional hidden damage is uncovered after disassembly.
2. SCHEDULE REPAIR/ CUSTOMER AUTHORIZATION
We always try to schedule your repairs as soon as possible, or for a time that is convenient to you. It is a state law that every customer signs a repair authorization.
3. PARTS ORDERED
Once the customer has authorized Boyce Body Werks to repair their vehicle and they are on the schedule – we pre-order the parts from the original estimate so they are at the shop when the car arrives.
4. DISASSEMBLY AND REPAIR PLANNING
After your car is dropped off at our shop we disassemble the vehicle to insure all damage is documented accurately and determine if the vehicle is repairable. If any hidden damage is found we write a supplement, contact the insurance company for approval, and order the additional parts necessary.
5. STRUCTURE AND BODY REPAIR
After your car has been disassembled we begin repairs to the vehicle’s structure if needed. The car is analyzed by an electronic measuring system to restore it back to factory specifications. This ensures that the unibody (Frame) is straight and structurally sound. We also complete most mechanical repairs at this time. Once the car is structurally and mechanically sound, the body work can be completed and the damaged parts of the vehicle are straightened and prepared for paint.
Once all the structural and body work are complete, we carefully prep your car for paint, which ensures all paintable surfaces will have proper adhesion and a smooth finish. Parts are sanded and primed for paint. The color or base coat is applied at that point, followed by a clear coat to protect the finish. After curing, the painted surfaces will be polished to pre-accident condition.
All repairs and painting have been completed and your car is now ready to be reassembled. Trim and moldings are reinstalled. A test drive will be done at this point to make sure windows, doors, locks and electrical parts function correctly.
8. DETAILING AND PRE-DELIVERY
Once everything has been reinstalled, we wash the exterior, buff and polish, and do a thorough vacuum of the interior. We go through a 30-point post-repair checklist, and once the car passes all of these it’s ready to be returned to the customer.
9. FINAL INSPECTION AND DELIVERY
Prior to delivery, we get all the paperwork in order and arrange a delivery time with our customer. At the time of delivery, we will provide you an itemized list of all the work that was done on your car, and are happy to answer any questions you might have.
Because each situation is different, there is no standard time frame to complete repairs. The length of time is dependent on the extent of the damage, availability of parts, and your insurance company’s timeliness. When preparing your estimate we will provide you with an estimated time of completion, and if additional damage is found after teardown, we will contact you to advise of any changes.
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This part was built by the company that originally made it for the manufacturer. It is the exact same part that came in/on your car when brand new. We prefer to use all OEM parts on any car repair where the car is 5 years old or newer. We prefer to use OEM sheet metal (fenders, doors, quarter panels) on all repairs regardless of age. Today some dealerships will price match an OEM part if the insurance company will refuse to pay for an OEM.
Aftermarket parts are made by companies other than the original manufacturer. There are a large number of these companies producing aftermarket parts, which means fewer controls on quality. Often aftermarket parts don’t fit as well as OEM, and in some cases certain aftermarket parts have had safety issues.
Remanufactured – A rebuilt or remanufactured part is essentially a used OEM part that was completely rebuilt or refurbished. Many insurance companies will insist on a remanufactured bumper cover if a car is more than a year or two old. This isn’t something to go to war with your insurance company over. If the remanufactured bumper doesn’t meet our standards, we will return it and get OEM.
Used parts – If you have an older car that is repairable, your insurance company might request a used part. This is sometimes acceptable because it might keep your car from being totaled, if that is what you want. Used parts are OEM parts, just used. On an older car we will consider using a used door, but used parts are not the best choice for a structural panel that needs to be welded, like a used quarter panel.
Somewhere in your insurance policy, it states what types of parts your insurance company will pay for and what they will not pay for. If your company will only pay for an aftermarket part due to the age of your car, we will order one and see how it fits. If we are not satisfied with the quality or fit, we will contact the insurance company and request the approval of a new OEM part, due to the poor quality of the aftermarket part. Sometimes we need to repeat this process two or three times before getting an OEM approval, but in the long run, you get a better part and quality repair.
There are certainly some insurance companies that are way better than others in regards to both the consumer AND repairers. There are some companies we would never consider for personal vehicles because of the way they do business with collision repair shops. There are also a number of companies that will work with any shop and pay for quality repairs.
It’s important to do your own homework on insurance companies. If you choose a company because it will save a few dollars per year, it might end up costing more if you ever need to file a claim.
Substandard Insurance Companies provide minimal coverage to high risk drivers. They avoid paying claims at any cost. If they do pay, it is a fraction of the true repair cost.
If you are ever in an accident with someone who has a substandard insurance company, do not engage with that company and go through your own insurance company, ASAP. You will be responsible for your deductible. These companies shouldn’t even be allowed to be in business and you would never want to even come close to one of their “preferred shops”.
Unless it is a very small area, it is very rare when a rust repair is cost effective for our customers, so it’s generally something we don’t do.
With a surface repair the rust will always come back, it just a matter of time. To properly repair rust, it is necessary to cut out the rusted sheet metal and weld in a new piece and repaint, which can take quite a bit of time. When complete, that area will look like new, but then often in a few months another area starts rusting. It is a never ending battle, and rarely a good investment for the car owner.
Due to the fact that rust returns, we provide no Warranty for any rust repair.
Boyce Body Werks warranties the repairs to your car for as long as you own your car. We will provide a written warranty upon delivery.
*No warranties on rust repair
Wash the vehicle by hand with cool water and a very mild car wash solution using a soft cloth or sponge. Always use clean fresh water. Wash your vehicle in the shade.
Don’t use a commercial car wash. Stiff brushes or sponges could mar the finish and damage the surface… Avoid parking under trees and utility lines which are likely to attract birds. Bird droppings have high acid content and will damage a freshly painted surface. Also, tree sap can mar or spot a freshly painted surface.