Whether your car has been scratched or has met with a collision, always make
sure you get an accurate car repair estimate. Not getting an accurate estimate
can result in you not being able to get the best value from your auto insurance.
1. Always check the requirements in your state. Your state may require that
a shop informs you of excess costs and time required to have your car repair
completed, which is a good thing. Research on the minimum coverage needed
that will allow you to have adequate coverage when having your vehicle repaired.
You can contact your state Attorney Generalís office if you are unsure
of your rights in this area.
2. Make sure that the car repair estimate you are getting has specific information
on the exact costs and the amount of time needed to fix your car. Consider
every car part that needs to be replaced, the level of impact caused by the
damage or collision, and how much you are going to be charged for the labor.
Some shops charge for repairs based on the hour and others charge a flat rate.
So if you are looking for an accurate car repair estimate, make sure to inquire
about these rates. Obtain a written price estimate that consists of itemized
prices for the parts and labor time needed to repair your car.
3. Keep updated and make sure you are being informed about the supplemental
estimate and final price agreed between your claims representative and the
auto repair shop after reviewing the initial repair estimate. If you have
parts in the interiors of your car that are damaged and were unnoticed during
inspection, a re-inspection may be required in the auto repair shop and this
can affect the overall costs involved in repairing the additional damage.
At this point, the shopís estimate can either be lower or higher than
your claims representativeís estimate, so a negotiation for the best
price will be discussed.
4. Research on information over the Internet. You will be able to find unbiased
information in auto clubs and auto repair databases. You will also have the
opportunity to use free online estimators where you can determine various
types of damage ranging from miniscule to extensive damage. Furthermore, online
estimators can determine if the damage on your car goes beyond your deductible.
If youíd like to find probable costs for car part replacements you might
want to go directly to the website of your carís brand. This way you
get more accurate repair estimates. Researching for information over the Internet
can provide you a birdís eye view on what your actual car repair estimate
might be when speaking with a claims and auto repair shop representative.
5. Get a second opinion and obtain at least 3 estimates from actual auto repair
shops. An auto repair shop should not hinder you from finding a second opinion.
When asking for a second opinion, make sure you know exactly what needs to
be repaired. Complain about more specific indications of damage like tacky
performance, strange sounds or too much vibration. If you simply ask the mechanic
to repair the whole car you might get a car repair estimate that is vague
and far from accurate. Furthermore, an auto repair shop may ask for other
car parts to be disbanded for further inspection or to reach the root of the
damage. If this happens, there may be additional charges, so it is always
best to get a second opinion elsewhere in case disassembling is actually unnecessary.