If you’ve never gone through a vehicle collision estimate, you’ve probably wondered how much time an estimate takes. Any collision estimate will take as much time as the damage done to your vehicle warrants. So, it will depend on just how severe or minor the damage is and what systems in a vehicle may require repair. Before you rush to the closest repair shop for an estimate, there are a few preliminary steps to follow.
Talk with your Insurance Carrier First
You want to talk with your vehicle insurance carrier before you get any estimates. Make sure you understand your carrier’s requirements with estimates. They will provide you with approved repair shops and will also specify their instructions to any of those approved collision or body shops.
You don’t necessarily have to use your insurance company’s recommendations, but your carrier will inform you of their requirements in the repair process. Once an accident has occurred, your insurance company will send out a claims adjuster who will estimate the damage and will provide an estimate for overall damages. An estimate through your insurance carrier could take from two to five days, which could create setbacks with repairs. You may want to move on with an estimate through a collision shop when time is of the essence.
Average Time for Collision Estimate
When you’re unable to repair any damage on your own and are also unable to get a timely estimate through your insurance company, you’ll need to find a reputable collision/body shop through your own online research and recommendations from others. Just remember that when you do go to various body shops for estimates, you’ll want to ask lots of questions before you commit to and sign off on any estimates you are given.
If your vehicle has incurred significant mechanical and exterior damage, an estimate could be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, or longer. When the damage is minimal and mechanical issues don’t exist, an estimate usually takes 15-20 minutes. Less involved damage usually means dents, scratches, scuffs, scrapes and dings that don’t hinder a vehicle’s performance. If the damage is severe, and a vehicle isn’t drivable, a tow truck will be brought in and the vehicle taken to a repair facility. An estimate in that kind of situation will likely take longer, which could mean an hour to a couple of days.
What an Estimate Entails
An estimate will first entail a detailed inspection. A skilled professional will perform the inspection and provide an estimate. They will go over every inch of a vehicle and document all the areas, seen or unseen, that show damage. From there, every detail noted will be passed on to the vehicle owner. An inspector will even go to the extent of removing side panels and going over other crucial spots on a vehicle to determine if any underlying damage exists on the frame or other areas beneath the surface. Any excessive damage will take longer to assess. Every repair that needs to be made to a severely damaged vehicle from the repairs and parts and on to the paint and finish work will be explained, written out and recorded on an inspection and estimation form.
Once the inspection phase is complete and all the details of damage are noted, the repair costs will be calculated. An estimator will figure the number of hours of labor that will go into the repair process. Any needed parts will be included, as will the entire cost of repairs. They will provide you with an official estimate. If you choose the shop that did the inspection, you can give them the go-ahead to order any parts and they will assign a mechanic/technician to work on your vehicle. The body shop will let you know the arrival date of your parts and will find the best time to start your repair work and approximately how long it will take to finish the repairs.
An experienced estimator will be able to provide an accurate quote for you after they have assessed the total damage; however, there may be times when hidden damages don’t show up until after repair work has started. When that happens, a repair adjustment and supplement will be included in any final repair costs.
Follow the Procedures for Estimates
Any accident that involves major repairs or even minor repairs to a vehicle can be stressful but when you know the procedures involved in getting an estimate and the time that it takes, you don’t have to carry the worry, particularly when you find a collision shop that is reputable and provides you with a fair, concise and accurate estimate.
With the process in mind, you can assure yourself that your repairs will be done quickly, efficiently and to your specifications with no hidden surprises. If you haven’t found the answers given here in relation to estimates and the time involved, or have further concerns with getting an estimate, complete the online contact form and a representative will get back to you with the information you need concerning the estimate process.