My experience with auto insurance claims has been, almost without exception, positive. While having to go through the claims process is often stressful for the owner of a damaged car, the auto insurance industry continues to evolve to serve the needs of their clients and claimants alike.
Gone are the days when your insurance company tells you to “get 3 estimates” when you call in with a claim. Typically, insurance companies are now implementing their own “in-house” appraisal services, or even better, are employing independent appraisal services to provide fair, complete estimates of collision damage. The benefit of professional, full-time damage appraisers is the same as in any specialized discipline. The old adage “practice makes perfect” applies to estimates just the same as completing the actual collision repairs.
In the old days, body shops would purposely miss items to produce the lowest estimate, and then add those items back on the final bill in the form of supplemental charges. The shop benefitted at the cost of the customer and their insurance. This process added unnecessary down-time and rental car costs to the job. Hidden damage is sometimes unavoidable, but purposely shorting the estimate is wasteful and unethical.
Much better is today’s standard of professionally detailed collision damage estimates. This benefits everyone with complete information on what is involved for a correct repair. I have yet to see an insurance company prosper by “short-sheeting” their customer.