How can I tell if a repair shop recommended by my insurer is gouging me for accident repairs?

I recently got in a single-car accident. Most of the damage looks cosmetic, but the insurance company's preferred auto body shop gave me an estimate for $7,500. My deductible is $2,000, and I think the damage is far less than that. How can I tell if a repair shop is gouging me?

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Eric Schad
Answered on Apr 22, 2021
Eric Schad has been a freelance writer for nearly a decade, as well as an SEO specialist and editor for the past five years. Before getting behind the keyboard, he worked in the finance and music industries (the perfect combo). With a wide array of professional and personal experiences, he’s developed a knack for tone and branding across many different verticals. Away from the computer, Schad is a blues guitar shredder, crazed sports fan, and always down for a spontaneous trip anywhere around the globe.
“Unless you’re a mechanic yourself, you might not know how expensive many car repairs are, especially anything involving body work. If the insurance company referred you to one of their preferred shops, chances are they trust their estimates.
If you think that $7,500 is outrageous, you can always get a second opinion elsewhere. By getting a second (or third or fourth) opinion, you can get better insight into the costs to repair the damage.
Let’s say that you get other estimates and they’re all less than $2,000. You’ve definitely proved that the first place was gouging you. In this case, paying out of pocket will actually save you money, provided that the quality of the work is good.
If you’re ever in doubt about how much a repair costs, always get a few estimates before you file a claim on your car insurance.”
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