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?

Apr 22, 2021
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Eric Schad
Answered at Apr 22, 2021
“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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