How to Get a Collision Repair Estimate

by Contributor

Obtaining a collision repair estimate is the first step in getting your car repaired. How and where you get the estimate depends on many factors, but it basically has to do with what your insurance policy accepts or dictates. There are, however, some basic steps that are common to every policy.

Talk to your insurance company first. It may have experts specially designated to give a collision repair estimate to clients, or it may have a list of approved repair shops you can contact. Even if you think you can get a better or cheaper repair estimate on your own, you need to first find out what your company requirements are.

Get a list of approved repair shops if your company has one, and contact several of them to get several collision repair estimates. You can then decide which one is better or more appropriate, or simply choose the shop that you find most convenient.

Get the repair shop to specify what, if anything, will not be covered under the collision repair agreement. Most insurance companies will not pay for certain repairs, such as removing fuel, wheeling alignment, belt adjustment or replacing nameplates. When getting a collision repair estimate, ask the repair shop to exclude those items from the receipt.

Ask for a collision repair estimate that includes extras or incidentals that may come up during the inspection of the vehicle. Shoot for a higher number, and then have the bill adjusted if necessary. This is usually easier than having to ask for more money later.

Have the repair estimate approved by your insurance company before you give the go-ahead for the repair shop to get started. This may require additional forms and inspections, but it is essential if you want to be reimbursed or paid for the work.

Get a quick collision repair estimate online by filling out some basic information, such as the year/make/model of your car, color and finish (metallic or flat) and type of damage suffered. While online estimates may not be an exact number (since nobody is actually looking at the car), they will still give you a general idea of what to expect in terms of expenses.

Tip

  • check The repair estimate is usually quite different from the actual price (known as repair order total) that you will be charged for repairs. Most repair shops will tell you in advance that it is impossible to estimate the actual damage a car suffered until it has been dismantled.

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