Cheapest Estimate?

business man with a dollar symbolAren’t insurance companies always just looking for the cheapest estimate?

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.

Rust: Can you fix it?



It depends on the source of the rust, and your definition of the word “fix”. There are basically 2 types of automotive rust; surface rust and structural rust. Chemically, rust is simply iron ore, from which steel is made, combining with oxygen and returning to its natural state. Rust can be prevented by keeping oxygen from contacting steel.

 Surface rust comes from things like stone chips and scratches that expose the metal to oxygen.This type of rust is repairable. The paint damage is reversed, and the rust is permanently fixed.

Structural rust comes from the design of how auto bodies are put together. Steel panels are joined together by welding, of which the most common form is the “pinch” weld. The basic flaw here is that pinch welds will not be successful if there are any contaminants present (such as internal rust preventatives) where the weld is attempted. The best that can be done, after welding, is to attempt to coat the weld by either dipping the part in a rust preventative, or spraying on a product called “E-coat” (electro-statically charged primer coating). Auto manufacturers have only marginal success preventing rust. Neither of these processes are practical after a car has been assembled. The cost would exceed the value of the car.

 So now let’s define “fix”. What other shops sometimes sell as “fixing rust”, I call “putting a band-aid on cancer.” If you mean cut out the metal around the brown holes and weld metal in its place, this indeed can be done. However; this is only, at best, a temporary repair. This process has in fact multiplied the areas where steel panels are lapped together, with little or no chance of rust preventative coatings sealing out contact with oxygen. Instead of “fixing” the rust, they have effectively accelerated and enlarged the problem. It may look better for weeks or a few months at best,but the natural processes occurring underneath will soon displace the fillers and paints that cover such areas. 

Personally, I do not “fix” rust on my own personal vehicles. Why? Because even when I can “fix” my rust for free, it works against me in the long run. I waste time, materials, and ultimately I am accelerating the problem. 

The only REAL way to fix rust is to replace entire components (doors, fenders, etc.) with new ones. If unibody components (rocker panels,floor boards, etc.) are rusted, the cost of replacement usually exceeds the value of the vehicle.

Why would I want to get my collision damage fixed at Jay’s Body Shop?

In a word; Experience.man_with_question_mark-blue

Body Shops don’t fix cars… people do. Fancy buildings and high-priced advertising may look attractive, but when it comes down to repairing your damaged car, a well qualified and experienced craftsman is who you want working for you.

I have worked in the collision repair industry for 35 years. I began my career by graduating with a 4.0 grade-point average from Wyoming Technical Institute in Laramie, Wyoming in 1976. Their Auto Body Repair training included frame-straightening and the full spectrum of automotive paint refinishing systems. That foundation has been supplemented through the years by industry-standard recurrent ICAR (Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair) training.

I am currently a collision specialist in “hard-hit” repairs, with specialized training in Airbag deployment repair. I have always been a “combination body-man”, which means I always paint the jobs that I fix. My painting experience currently has me as a group leader in the Paint Shop at Newmar Corporation, where I am responsible for the “show car” finish that is put on each of their $750,000 high-end RV coaches.

My experience goes a long way towards making your collision damaged car just a bad memory. I enjoy working for you and automotive insurance companies to restore your car to pre-accident condition. I know what it takes to make every component of your vehicle correct and proper once again.