Before your vehicle can be repaired, you and your insurer need to know what the repairs will cost. Your insurance company may accept the repair shop’s estimate of the damage, or may want to appraise the damage to the vehicle. The company has the right to initially assess the damages to your vehicle and estimate the cost to repair them. Because the quality and extent of the repairs will affect the value of your vehicle, you may wish to be present if the insurer’s appraiser meets with the body shop manager to discuss the repair job.
Arrangements should be made to transport your vehicle, whether drivable or not, to an approved body shop for estimation of repair costs. Only one estimate is required, but you may wish to get more than one opinion to assess the extent of the repairs needed. Keep in mind that the cheapest option is not necessarily the best deal – look for a shop that offers a written guarantee and has a reputation of quality work.
An estimate of costs should specify:
- what repairs are being done,
- whether parts are being repaired or replaced,
- whether new or second-hand parts are being used, and
- whether parts from the original manufacturer or generic parts are being used. If the body shop plans to use generic parts, compare the warranty provided to that offered on parts from the original manufacturer.