The Battle over Rates

The Battle for Your Safety – Part 3

This post is the 3rd of a 5-part series. Please click here if you have not yet read Part 2.

All cars cost different amounts. Some cars are less expensive to buy and less expensive to repair. Other cars are very expensive to buy, and of course naturally more expensive to repair. Do you know that today we get paid the same amount to fix a Kia as we do an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes? Naturally we strive to make every car look like new and match the factory quality with each vehicle, but it is much harder and more expensive to repair a complicated and expensive European car than it is to repair a Kia. No offense to Kia owners! You understand the point as well as anyone because you saw your Kia as a great value. And others drive a European car because of the value they see in the technology, performance, appearance, quality of the materials, fit & finish, etc.

Because Artistic Auto Body is known for high quality repairs, we repair a lot of higher end vehicles. This is also why we have so many high-end factory certification programs. As mentioned above, the insurance industry does not differentiate between vehicle brands and pays the same rate for every vehicle. And just so you know, we only get $54/hour while your dealer charges $150/hour or more. We’ve known for years this needed to change, so when we acquired our more recent certifications like Tesla and Maserati, we were insistent about receiving higher labor rates from the beginning. Meanwhile, because we were unable to do that many years ago with our other European and Luxury brands, we continue to receive only $54/hr when we should be receiving $68/hr.

Part of the reason these European and Luxury brands are more expensive to repair is because they are often made with aluminum. There are also many Domestic and Asian vehicles that use aluminum, such as the Ford F-150. Aluminum is much more difficult to repair and requires a lot of expensive equipment as well. For these reasons we charge a higher labor rate anytime we repair an aluminum panel. Again, insurance companies often deny the increased labor rate, ignoring the hundreds of thousands of dollars we’ve invested to be able to perform aluminum repairs properly.

Effective June 1st we will begin charging higher rates for all European and Luxury vehicles.

Over the past decade or so, we have absorbed the cost of unpaid rates and procedures in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars because we refuse to compromise on quality or safety. Your safety matters to us and always will. Unfortunately, we can no longer absorb the cost of safe and thorough repairs when insurance fails to fully pay. We simply cannot continue to lose money fixing these more expensive brands.

This means that if the insurance company paying for your repairs does not pay our rates, you will be asked to pay the difference in cost. However, it is possible that if you advocate for yourself with the insurance company, they will agree to pay our rates. When you are involved in your repair process, including all the communication, and you let the insurer know how absurd it is that they won’t agree to pay for repairs to be performed in a quality, certified shop of your choice, sometimes they will step up and cover the costs. We are happy to give you that opportunity.

Almost certainly, the insurance company will suggest that you go to another body shop that charges lower rates, and you are welcome to do that. Please keep in mind, though, that Artistic Auto Body is the exception rather than the rule when it comes to fixing cars properly. Following factory repair procedures is difficult and expensive. And when insurers don’t pay for some of those procedures, most shops – especially those that are not certified – simply don’t do them. Also remember that not every technician and not every shop is qualified to perform repairs on every car, and this is especially true of European and Luxury vehicles.

But for all of you who keep coming back to Artistic Auto Body because you trust us and know your vehicle will be prepared properly, we encourage you to stand firm. If the insurance company does not budge, then we thank you for your decision to have us repair your vehicle knowing it’s going to cost you a little more. You can count on us to take good care of you and fully restore your vehicle to pre-loss conditions according to manufacturer specifications.

Please click here to read Part 4 of this 5-part series.

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