Nothing is more stressful than being in a vehicular accident and then having to deal with a damaged car or truck. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, it’s still a pain dealing with insurance to obtain funds to get your car fixed. But before dropping your vehicle off at the first auto body shop you see, you should do some research first.

Preparing for auto body and collision estimates will require you finding reputable businesses who will give you a quote. If you’ve never had to get an auto body estimate before, you may find that it can be a bit intimidating. There may be different factors at play when you’re shopping around.

If your insurance company isn’t tackling this part of the process for you, or they’re dragging their feet, then you may be on your own in terms of payment. You may be able to submit receipts later, but keep in mind that insurance often covers certain items, but not others. This is why you want to ensure that you obtain a fair quote, though not necessarily the lowest, as that could be done by someone who is inexperienced.

Ideally, your insurance company will negotiate costs, but you may have some freedom as to which shop you take it to for your collision repairs. If your car is still drivable, then you’re in a better position for negotiation.

When you visit auto body and collision repair businesses you’ll find that they focus on the needs of the customer. That’s why they’re in business after all—to provide the best auto collision repair—and the best customer service. If you’re finding you just can’t talk to the person on the other end of the telephone, or there is resistance, then perhaps it’s time to check out the second collision repair business on your list.

It’s important when you’re on the telephone, or when you visit an auto body shop in person, to maintain full communication. You need to let them know what you believe is the damage to your car. They may need to further inspect it as there may hidden damage as well. Be certain to mention your expectations—after all, there could be a minute scratch that you expected to be fixed, but wasn’t. Eliminate disappointment by ensuring that you communicate your needs.