The Auto Body Repair Estimate Explained
No one likes to think about car accidents, but those accidents happen every day of the week and every hour of the day. The moment that an accident happens can feel like a lifetime, and even if the accident only takes a few seconds, you might feel like you just spent hours trapped in your car. After the accident occurs, you need to contact your insurance company for help. Insurance companies will pay for the damage done to your car and any other cars involved in the accident, but those companies need to know how much the job costs. You might think that you can get an estimate over the phone or through email, but you actually need to meet with the estimator first. At Da-Les Auto Body, our #1 priority is to restore your vehicle to pre-accident condition. The first crucial step is a accurate onsite estimate by a trained professional.
What is an Estimate?
An estimate is a financial amount that tells you how much the approximate cost will be to repair your vehicle. You might seek an estimate after a small accident when you back into your neighbor’s mailbox, or you might need an estimate after another car hits you on the highway. The estimate will tell you approximately how much the job costs both in terms of parts and labor. An estimator must look at your car to see exactly how much damage was done to the car and how much work the job requires, a accurate onsite inspection will ensure your vehicle is restored to current industry standards.
Why Cant’ I Just Call or Email?
The biggest mistake that people make after an accident is that they don’t know how to seek out a good estimate. Many people think that they can just call a body shop, explain the damage and receive an estimate instantly. Other people think that they can email a body shop, give a short description of the damage and receive an estimate in their in-box. It is impossible for a good estimator to give you an estimate without seeing the car. Even if you send a few pictures of your car and the damage, the estimator needs to inspect your car in person. This is the only way that you can ensure that your will vehicle will be restored to pre-accident condition.
Estimates vs. Actual Work
Let’s say that you send a picture of your car to a body shop and receive an estimate over email. The estimator can only work off the damage that is visible in that image. Those images will only show a limited view of the car, which means that the body shop can’t see the total amount of work that you need. Your picture might show a few scrapes along the bumper of the car and the bumper hanging on by a thread to the rest of the car. The estimator would give you an estimate as to the cost of repairing the bumper and fixing those scratches. Once the body shop actually gets your car, it might uncover a broken strut, a bent axle or something else not visible in that picture. Those unexpected repairs will cause the cost of the job to increase.
What Affects the Estimate?
The most important issue is returning the vehicle to pre-accident condition, to ensure the value of the vehicle is maintained and the occupants of the vehicle are safe following an accident. In some cases the vehicle may need to be taken to the dealership for final procedures. It is the responsibility of the estimator to ensure the vehicle safety and integrity is maintained after the accident repairs.
The Total Process
The repair process starts as soon as you bring your car into the shop for an estimate. An experienced technician will look over your car, identify the signs of damage and determine how much it will cost to repair in order to return the vehicle to pre-accident condition. The technician will then give you a copy of the estimate and send a copy to your insurance upon your request. After repairing and replacing any necessary parts, Da-Les Auto Body Inc. will give you a lifetime warranty that guarantees your car is ready for the road again.