Getting into a car accident is never something you plan for. Even if you know what steps to take at the scene of an accident and in the days following the crash, it can still be a very stressful and disorienting experience.
In addition to dealing with any injuries, you’ll also need to think about getting your car fixed. After all, you probably want to get back to ‘life as usual’ as quickly as possible.
Once you’ve contacted your insurance company, the next step is to get a car repair estimate from a reliable auto body shop.
Getting a Quality Estimate
Car repair estimates (and the body shops that provide them) are not all created equal. It’s important to go to a qualified and experienced collision repair specialist that will thoroughly and accurately assess the damage to your vehicle and give you an accurate estimate for what it will cost to fix it.
Some insurance companies may provide a list of preferred mechanics, but in most states, including Oregon and Washington, insurers are prohibited from forcing customers to use a particular repair shop. Make sure you do your own research. Be sure to take your car to a specialist that can get the job done to the highest standards.
Look for a shop with certified technicians, detailed estimates, written warranties, accident resources, and a rental car program (so you won’t be without a vehicle while your car is being repaired). It’s also a good idea to look at online reviews to get a sense of what other customers are saying. Don’t hesitate to call ahead with any questions.
The Estimation Process: What to Expect
Once you’ve chosen a qualified auto body shop to take your car to, you’ll want to contact them to make an appointment. The estimation process usually only takes about 15 to 30 minutes. Your estimator will thoroughly examine your vehicle and assess the extent of the damage, taking detailed notes as they go. Once their inspection is complete, they will provide you with a written estimate.
Your written car repair estimate should include:
- A detailed description of the specific work that needs to be done to return your vehicle to its pre-accident condition
- A clear breakdown of all of the associated costs, including parts, labor, and any additional charges or fees
- A summary of the total estimate and a statement saying that it won’t be exceeded by a certain percentage or amount without your approval
Having a written estimate helps both you and your insurance company know what to expect. It makes the process of getting your car fixed as smooth and efficient as possible. Even if your state doesn’t require written estimates by law, you should still ask for one. This is a standard practice among most reputable collision repair shops. A good repair specialist will also take the time to go over the estimate with you and answer any questions that may arise.
What role does insurance play?
Whether you’re at fault or not, contacting your insurance provider is an essential step to take following a collision. Whatever type of accident you were involved in, whether you hit a parked car, were involved in a head-on crash, or were rear-ended by another driver, notifying your insurer is one of the first things you should do to protect yourself and your interests.
It’s always a good idea to contact your insurance company before you get a car repair estimate. In most states, the insurance company of the at-fault driver is responsible for covering the cost of having the vehicles repaired in most states. Whether your company ends up paying for the damage or not, they will want to know that you’ve been involved in an accident. They should be able to answer any questions and help walk you through the process.
Keep in mind that, while insurance companies can be helpful, you have the final say on who works on your vehicle. Don’t feel pressured to go to a particular repair shop just because it’s recommended by your insurance company. It’s your car, and you deserve to have it fixed to the highest standards.
Been in an accident? Need a reliable car repair estimate? Mackin’s Auto Body has you covered.
At Mackin’s Auto Body, we know how stressful the days and weeks following a car accident can be. That’s why we’re committed to providing you with the most comprehensive collision repair services possible. We don’t just fix your car – we make your life easier. Our team of professionals works directly with your insurance company to personally handle insurance claims. We make the repair process as stress-free as possible.