Getting involved in a collision is something we could all do without. But it does happen and it does cost. Insurance will cover most of it but a lot depends on the nature of the damage and who caused the accident. Being able to arrive at a loose estimate yourself is helpful because it gives you an idea of how much you'll need to spend. It also protects you against scams.
Examine the external damage
It's easier to estimate the cost of repairing exterior damage so start from here. If the fender is cracked or broken and nothing else seems to be amiss you won't spend much. Headlights and taillights cost more and price will be higher for custom jobs. Small dents in the body are easily fixed while damage to wheel caps may or may not cost a sum to replace. As with lights it depends on whether you want fancy ones installed.
The extent of exterior damage will give you an inkling of whether there's any internal damage to pay for. Use an online calculator where you can fill in details of your car like the make, model, year and engine. You won't get an accurate figure but it'll help with the estimate anyway.
Speak to auto parts dealers
For the components you know must be repaired or replaced, speak with auto parts dealers who can give you a pretty accurate figure of what they'll cost along with installation charges. Enquire about paint jobs as well since collision repair work usually includes a paint job.
While it's tempting to use aftermarket products, there's the risk of compromised quality. There's also the risk of having existing warranties on factory parts invalidated. To be on the safe side, find out if aftermarket parts can be used and if so, insist on those manufactured by reputed makers.
Speak with your insurance company
Contact your insurance provider immediately following an accident. While it'll take time to examine damage and arrive at an estimate, they may be able to give you one based on their records. You may also be able to get the names of approved body shops and if not, you can enquire after the same.
Get a free estimate from several body shops
Pick at least three shops and ask for estimates. They're usually given free of cost. No one figure will be the same but you should be able to arrive at an average. To make sure you aren't scammed with the cost, look for shops that use known valuation standards. Go through those standards and compare them against the estimates.
See if you handle some of the repair work
Most of the work will need to be done professionally, at least if you want the car repaired well and looking like its old self. However, there are a few areas you may be able to tackle yourself such as replacing the battery and the air filter. Tiny scratches can also be buffed away. Auto glass repair, as long as it's a minor damage, is easy to fix as well; however, replacing the windshield is best done at a shop because it's heavy and must be fit precisely.
There's no substitute for professional repair work. There are tools you need, skills and several hands to make the job easier. While you should try to cut costs by shouldering a few jobs yourself, leave the brunt of it to an auto shop with a good reputation for delivering fine results.
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Figuring out expenses and insurance cover for car collision repairs can be a mind-boggling task. Make sure you first contact your car manufacturer to find authorized car repair shops San Diego. Browse this website to find a certified car repair shop near you area.
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