If you've been in a vehicle accident, you know one of the necessary following steps is to take your wrecked vehicle to an auto body shop for estimated repair costs. This step is often dreadful and intimidating for most people because they don't know what to expect. Moreover, they may worry if estimates cost extra on top of the long list of the accidentals they have to cover. The truth is that a trustworthy body shop should not charge you a fee to give you a rough estimate on fixing your car. However, the catch is in the word "rough".
There are two types of estimates that you can get from an auto body shop: preliminary estimate and accurate estimate.
- A preliminary estimate is the quicker estimate of the two (roughly 30 minutes). During this appointment, the shop will take your contact and car information. A technician will also write up all the visible damages on your vehicle, the cost of labor, the parts needed for the restoration, and approximately how long the repairs will take. Additionally, we may also take pictures of your vehicle to have on file. After you receive your preliminary estimate, you can take your car elsewhere to compare prices.
- An accurate estimate is comparable to a security deposit for the work that needs to be done to your vehicle. An accurate estimate requires a labor-intensive inspection in addition to a write-up. Many accidents involve unseen damages that require a detailed assessment of the vehicle to uncover. Because this type of estimate requires additional time, equipment, and elbow grease, it will become a part of the repair cost itself. That means that the cost for the inspection will be a portion of the final price.
After you receive an accurate estimate, can you take your car to another shop?
As mentioned earlier, you should view the accurate estimate as a deposit or some form of commitment. If you carry on with the repairs at the shop that's given you an accurate estimate, it's considered part of the transaction. However, if you end up picking another shop, you'd still have to compensate for the inspection given.
In conclusion, a preliminary estimate should not cost you anything. They are helpful to get an approximation of how much your damages are going to cost. However, the only way to know if there are unseen damages is to carry out a labor-intensive inspection, which comes with extra time and cost. The best solution is to have the complete inspection carried out at the shop you want to do the final repairs. Otherwise, you'd end up wasting money. We hope you found this information helpful and gave you a better sense of body shop expectations. If you require an estimate for repairs on your vehicle, we invite you to Allyz Auto today! Give us a call at (407) 543-2721 or visit our shop in Orlando, FL.