I have a 7 month old car that was sideswiped when a driver drifted into my lane.
It's a 2011 Ford Focus with a metallic gray exterior. It should all be covered by the other driver's Allstate policy.
The damage is minor. The right front tire took the majority of the hit, with damage largely confined to the right front quarter panel and the right front door.
The front bumper took a very small, very glancing scrape on its right side. No real damage, it looks to me like a few scuff marks.
I took it to two body shops, one a Ford dealer, and one an Allstate preferred body shop. And both gave me similar but in two senses very different estimates.
My basic question is: how do I determine which body shop will a better job?
Now related to the general question of how to determine whether a body shop will do a good job or not is this:
One of the estimators told me of the importance of keeping the original bumper and repainting it. And that was because that bumper would have a VIN number stamped on it, and the replacement would not, and that would be a flag for future buyers.
And the other estimator didn't make a big deal of it, and just said it would be replaced, and of course, with Ford parts since it is a relatively new Ford vehicle.
The estimator replacing the bumper included in his estimate costs to repaint portions of the hood to blend it in with the new bumper. Similarly, there would be some blending of the rear passenger door to match that to the repair work on the front passenger door.
The other estimator may have included work on the rear door by writing on the front door work, "Overlap major adj. panel" -- but I am not sure what exactly that refers to.
So my other questions are: repair parts with VIN numbers or replace them? And worry about overlap/blending in the estimate or don't worry about that stuff?
In general, how do I determine whether a body shop is any good, and which of two is better?