How to Estimate Your Average Collision Repair Cost
Collision repair cost can be very overwhelming if you are in an accident and need to have your vehicle fixed. Accidents don't have to be very serious in order for the cost of the repairs to be very expensive. Knowing what to look for, and how to estimate your collision repair cost can save you an initial sticker shock, well as being able to know when you are being scammed.
Tools and Materials Needed:
- Internet Access
- Basic Auto Body Tools
Step 1: Realize Full Extent of Damage
Some of the costs associated with collision repair are the damage that is not seen from the outside. There could be wires that need to be replaced, leaks in windows or windshields, frame parts that need to be welded and other damages that can quickly add up. When you're looking for an estimate on your vehicle, take a look at what is wrong, as well as what could be wrong. This will give you a big picture cost.
Step 2: Use Online Calculator
There are many different online estimate calculators that will give you an approximate collision repair estimate. A website called Instant Estimator is one example. Use of these websites is as simple an inputting a few pieces of information about the vehicle and the damage that was done.
Step 3: Talk with Auto Parts Dealers
Take a list of the parts that you believe will need to be replaced on your vehicle into your local auto parts store and ask for the prices. This may also include any replacement body parts and paint to match the color of your vehicle. See if you can use aftermarket parts instead of the original manufacturer's parts.
Step 4: Contact Insurance Company
You should contact your insurance company as soon as an accident has happened. While you are talking with them, they may give you a list of approved body shops that can work on your car. If not, ask them for a list of places you can contact, as well as an estimate based on their records.
Step 5: Get Estimate from Repair Shop
Many shops will give you an estimate before they actually do any work on the vehicle. This estimate doesn't cost anything and will give you a better idea of what they will be doing to the car. Get at least three to four different estimates and then you can make your decision on a repair shop based on which one comes close to both your estimate and the insurance company.
Step 6: Can You Do the Repair Yourself?
After you have checked out the repair shops and know exactly what needs to be replaced, is it something that you can possibly do yourself, or can you do the work with a few friends? This will drastically lower any collision repair cost, as there is no labor involved in repairing the auto damage but your own.