Originally Posted by ereadingrv
In California, at least, it does make a difference who the check is made out to. If you own the vehicle outright, it's legally your choice how you want to use the money--fix the vehicle or not, get it done at your choice of facilities, etc. The fact is, their client caused a certain dollar value in damage, and in California, if you own your vehicle outright then making you "whole" comes down to a check--not a facility. The facility situation only comes into play if the coach has a lien.
Frankly, the prices for everything in SoCal are higher than they should be. And I don't think the work is always particularly better for that "state premium".
It might make a difference as to who the check can be made out to, but if the body shop isn't included as a co payee they may want a large deposit before the work begins. They aren't going to take the chance that either they won't get paid, or won't get the full amount.
As for varying price estimates it's quite common depending on the skill, experience of the estimator, and the circumstances under which the estimate is written.
We had a similar situation when our 2004 Jeep Wrangler was rear ended. To the untrained eye the damage didn't appear all that extensive. The original estimate was around $5,000.00. As the body shop started disassemble they found more and more damage. Much of the expensive damage was hidden, and only revealed when they removed the body from the frame. The estimate was raised to $7,000.00 then to $10,000.00 and finally the insurance company was considering totaling it. I was told at one point to start pricing out a new Jeep.
Luckily we made a final call to the insurance company before purchasing a new vehicle. Since the Jeep was in like new condition with extremely low mileage the insurance company decided to repair it. The final price they negotiated was a little north of $12,000.00.
It's been over 2 years since the Jeep was repaired, and I must say the body shop did an excellent job. It looks, runs, and drives as good as the day we purchased it new in 2005.