So I posted this a while back and wanted to update those interested.
I instructed The Boy to take his car to a very highly-rated shop down the street to get an estimate. After much research on parts (closest door is in Louisiana), they came back with $5,500 to repair. The neighbor's insurance company (21st Century) then told him he had to talk it to another shop (that they named) to get another estimate to see if it was close. I then told him "The fuck you do!"
Full disclosure: I'm in the "Collision Industry." My company is a software solutions provider to both carriers and shops. I know a great deal about the process, workflows, rules and state laws around it. I told him 21st Century was trying to "steer" him to one of their partner shops (DRPs) so they could control the repair. A lesson for you all here, in case you did not already know it, is that the consumer has the right to have their vehicle repaired that the shop of their choice. The carrier may try to "suggest" a "few shops to consider" but that is all they can do. If they push for that, simply say: "Are you trying to STEER me to one of your shops? Because, as you know, that violates the law in this state." They will back peddle very quickly and drop it like a hot potato.
When he called the carrier back after talking to me, they immediately said, "I don't know who you talked to but of course you can have your car repaired wherever you wish." They asked that they send a field appraiser out to "have a look" at the car before he signed the R.O. Fair enough. That happened yesterday. The FA asked what he thought his car was worth. The Boy said he discussed that with the owner of the shop (who has a bunch of sweet classics) and he said the car was worth at least $7500. The FA thought the car was worth only $3500 but The Boy could tell by what he was saying that he had zero clue what he was talking about. The issue of the car's value was dropped and he got the official ok to proceed with the repair. The parts should be in next week and they are covering a rental for him as well.
It's been a big pain in the ass for my son but I'm really glad this happened while he's still living at home so I could teach him what he needs to know about the process and what his rights are. Too many consumers have zero clue about this and, as a result, get screwed by the insurance carrier. Sometime I'll have to write a primer on this for Oppo ... if anyone would be interested.