Getting an auto body repair estimate is an important first step to fixing a damaged vehicle. Whether you’re looking to correct damages caused by an accident or vandalism, an estimate is a valuable tool that can help you select repair services within your budget. Yet with all the different auto body shops and specialists available, getting a fair and accurate repair estimate can seem overwhelming. Knowing the steps to take and what to look for in a reliable shop can make the repair process easier and help you get an estimate that meets your needs.
Step 1: Speak with your insurance company
It is important to talk to your insurance company before getting an estimate. Confirm any requirements they have on repair estimates, and obtain a list of approved repair shops that provide estimates to their specifications. If you already have an auto body shop in mind, check to see if they’re approved by your insurance. Many state laws prevent insurance companies from requiring consumers to use any one specific repair shop. However, knowing your insurance company’s requirements for estimates is a key part of the repair process.
Step 2: Shop Around
Even with insurance, auto body repairs can be expensive. That’s why it pays to get estimates from more than one auto body shop. When speaking with a specialist, take notes of what repairs they recommend and the projected costs of the parts and labor. It’s also important to get an initial estimate in writing, and to confirm if any additional costs will be included in a supplemental estimate. The Internet can also be a helpful tool for comparing estimates. Sites like InstantEstimator.com compile estimate reports based on your region, vehicle make and model, and the damage.
Step 3: Know What to Look For
Get to know the repair shops before finalizing your selection. Look for professionals who answer your questions as well as take time to explain what’s needed to fix your car and how much it will cost. Research can also be helpful in selecting a repair shop. Visit your local Better Business Bureau website for any complaints filed against a specific auto body shop. In addition, Assured Performance Collision Care is an online resource that lists repair shops throughout the country that meet important standards of performance and professionalism.
Dealing with a car damaged in an accident or by vandalism is stressful. However, with preparation and planning, the search for an auto body repair estimate doesn’t have to be. During visits to different auto body shops confirm information and ask questions before signing off on any initial estimates. Taking time to research repair businesses through available online resources can help you find a fair and accurate estimate from a reliable auto body specialist.