Well, I just came back from the body shop, $480 lighter. I think I just learned a hard lesson. #1 - if your deductible won't cover the repair, don't even bother reporting it to your insurance company. #2 - if the insurance company writes an estimate, you don't have to give it to the body shop. Let them tell you how much they will charge to repair it. #3 Get at least three estimates on the repair charges. I got a referral to a quality body shop, so I got an estimate from my insurance company and trotted the car over. They charged me the estimate amount in full, which came out of my pocket. They refunded me a whole $40 off the original estimate because the guy straightened out the underbody cover instead of ordering a new one ("too much trouble to order one" he said). I'm going to pick up my chin and go on, but I believe I got shafted on the price. There was just no damage to repair. They replaced the underbody cover, re-aligned the connection tabs on the left front skirt thingie, and that's it. I know it spent some time in the paint shop but I can't see where or why.
Signed: Disappointed in Arkansas
and feeling really stupid that I didn't know
how to intelligently get through the repair process.