One Estimate, or Two, Maybe Three?

"Insurance claim form, expert at work"


When your vehicle has damage, how many estimates do you need? Shopping around for estimates might seem like a smart strategy to get the best price on a repair. It may also be wise to go with the insurance adjuster preliminary estimate.

What you may not realize is that in an effort toward cost containment (by insurance companies), repair time sequences and costs are fairly standardized between auto body shops and collision centers.

Differentiating Factors

There are some differentiation between types of facilities and specializations. Often, these variances are due to higher operating costs for expertise, equipment and advanced technologies. As example, a shop specializing in aluminum auto body repair requires specialized filtration equipment and precision aluminum welders, not just steel welders. A collision center focused on hybrid/electric vehicles needs specialists in automotive electrical repairs and batteries.

Another consideration in estimates, is the inclusion of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) direct replacement parts versus aftermarket parts, which are parts not sourced from the vehicle maker. Aftermarket parts may be less expensive, but can possibly void your warranty.

Get One Good, Reasonable Estimate

But what often gets lost in the focus toward estimates is that price is not the only point. An estimate needs to be fair and reasonable, and it should also address the total damage to a vehicle. Not all shops spend adequate time diagnosing damage, nor have the expertise to evaluate specific forms of damage. Structural impairment and automated system repairs are not visible and require knowledge of exacting tolerances and calibrations.

Bottom line, it is your decision and yours alone to decide what estimate to choose. You need only one estimate; one that is reasonable and thorough in damage assessment with an expert in performing the repair.

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