Throughout the years, automobiles have become more and more complex. Newer models no longer have mere machine parts but also computerized sensors and ADAS technology. Since the complexities of a motor vehicle cannot be seen from the outside, this makes finding and dealing with damage that much more difficult and time-consuming. Because of this, the average cost of auto body repairs continues to increase annually.
When you bring your vehicle to the mechanic for collision repairs, you probably think that initial estimate is going to remain about the same. Then, you receive a call or a message from the auto body shop saying that they have located additional damages and need to change the estimate.
What does that mean? Did they lie to you in the beginning? Should you trust the claim?
Turns out, additional damage is a legitimate reason for the final cost of the repairs to be higher than originally thought. We’re going to explain why.
What Additional Damage Entails
When you visit the auto body shop after the collision for repairs, the technician will look at what the insurance estimate is, how much is going to be covered, and they begin their own examination. The reason an estimate is called an estimate is because it never considers the total cost. In fact, it is just a guess up to the moment the technician can survey all the damage—inside and out.
The appraisal from the insurance company is not as thorough as the mechanic’s, and so they can generally find more than what is seen from the outside.
Think of the examination done by the auto body technician as an x-ray done in the doctor’s office. The doctor might be able to tell you have a broken bone at a glance, but they can’t see the extent of the damage without getting under the skin, right?
As soon as the mechanic locates the break, so to speak, they then know exactly what needs to be done, and that is when you receive news of additional damages that also need to be repaired. The whole plan may be modified, and the cost of repairs could increase.
Insurance Estimate Changes
Depending on the severity of the damages, both the insurance company and the auto body technician know that the original estimate is not going to stand. Still, the mechanic will take apart your vehicle then notify you and your insurance carrier to discuss the cost. An appraiser may look at your vehicle-if they haven’t already-to confirm the body shop’s estimate.
Depending on your deductible, you should consider getting a few estimates on the cost of repairs. If your deductible stays the same no matter what, then don’t focus on the cheapest estimate, since that is often a sign the mechanic is going to cut corners.
Also, expect OEM, or original equipment manufacturer, parts to be a part of the discussion. If the auto body shop is concerned with quality, they will oftentimes seek to procure OEM parts for the repairs. However, this could slow things down, and you may end up being without your car for a longer length of time.
Additional Steps and Repairs
Certain sections of your vehicle tend to get damaged and require more extensive repairs than other parts. These include front and rear suspension systems, rear body, floor, and electrical components.
These specific areas require calibrations, weld tests, and generally more hours of labor to ensure they are up to spec. If these parts are damaged, you can assume that parts and labor are going to cost more than the original estimate.
Do I Have to Use the Body Shop Recommended by the Insurer?
Car insurance carriers tend to have a lot of influence on auto body shops. They may recommend mechanics to do work on your vehicle. Usually, these preferred shops work more quickly than independent auto body shops because they do not need to request authorization to repair any additional damages they find. The insurance company will also monitor progress, so there are fewer delays.
That said, you do not have to use those preferred body shops. You are free to choose the mechanic that is going to provide quality repairs and replacements to get your vehicle back on the road. Be sure to choose a trustworthy auto body shop that discusses your options and is transparent about all additional damages and costs.
Do What’s Best for Your Car
When the auto body technician calls you, saying that they uncovered additional damages to your vehicle that need to be repaired, you can trust that it is not a scam. Most cars, trucks, and SUVs these days are as complex as computers, if not more. This means that not all the damage from an accident is going to be visible. Although a pricier bill at the end of the repairs may come as a surprise, know in the end that your car is going to be safer for having those damages taken care of.
Choose an auto body repair shop that you can trust. We have a full team of technicians who will do what is right by you and your vehicle. If you need repairs or have questions about the services we provide, get in touch with us! Simply fill out the contact form.