My car has been dropped off to have the banged door repaired. It’s between the insurance company and body shop now. My 10 year old Mercedes SLK¹ has been temporarily replaced by a rental Kia SUV².
I decided to accept the insurance company’s offer to take care of all the details. I understand I might not be getting genuine Mercedes parts. I suspect there won’t be any parts replaced anyway. This seems like one of the few remaining injuries that can be pulled or banged out.
The body shop in North Haven reminded me of an airline ticket counter at the airport. There were young non-mechanic looking people sitting behind Dell LCD screens. A few insurance companies have offices on premises. Others are there on a regular basis. It was too business like–too neat– to be an auto repair place!
I ran into the owner. He told me it’s changed a lot since he bought the place 12 years ago. I’m sure! He has adapted his business to take advantage of technology and the changing face of insurance. It’s twice the size it was when he bought it.
He said there was a time when they spent 50 hours a week moving cars. The whole process would come to a halt as things were juggled into the right place. Time really is money. You don’t want a trained mechanic acting as a valet parking attendant.
The phone just rang. It was Robert from the insurance company. It will take until Friday for my car to be finished. They’ll have to paint the entire driver’s side. The insurance company will pay the body shop over $1,200
I can wait.
¹ – If you hold onto a Mercedes for 10 years, it really doesn’t cost more than a ‘regular’ car you keep for half the time–or so I’ve convinced myself.
² – I turned down the rental company’s insurance offering. At the bottom of the sheet it is enumerated on an annual basis. Their insurance works out to approximately $15,000 a year. Wow!