A guest post from Michigan Auto Law that very useful.
6 Steps to a Lower Car Collision Repair Cost
It’s stressful enough being involved in a car accident, but it’s an even higher level of stress having to deal with the cost of repair of your newly damaged vehicle. Those who have been in an accident and needed to have their vehicle fixed would know. Accidents don’t have to be very serious in order for the cost of the repairs to be ridiculously expensive. Knowing what to look for, and how to estimate your collision repair cost could save you an initial sticker shock and prevent you from being scammed. Performing the following 6 steps will help you achieve the lowest repair cost possible.
Tools and Materials Needed:
Basic Auto Body Tools
Step 1: Realize the Full Extent of Damage
Some of the costs associated with collision repair are the damage that is not seen from the outside.There could be leaks in windows or windshields, wires that need to be replaced, frame parts that need to be welded, or other damages that can quickly add up. When you’re looking for an estimate on your vehicle, take a look at what is wrong, as well as what could be wrong. This will give you a big picture idea of the total cost.
Step 2: Use an Online Calculator
There are many different online estimate calculators that will give you an approximate collision repair estimate. Michigan Auto Law offers an excellent car accident cost estimator that accommodates every state in the United States. After all, the cost of repair per state will vary. Use of these websites is as simple an inputting a few pieces of information about the vehicle and the damage that was done.
Step 3: Talk with Auto Parts Dealers
Take a list of the parts that you believe will need to be replaced on your vehicle into your local auto parts store and ask for the prices. This may also include any replacement body parts and paint to match the color of your vehicle. See if you can use aftermarket parts instead of the original manufacturer’s parts. Aftermarket parts will always be significantly cheaper than the original parts. As long as the quality of the parts are okay, they will tend to be your best value.
Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Company
You should contact your insurance company as soon as an accident has happened. While you are talking with them, they may give you a list of approved body shops that can work on your car. If not, ask them for a list of places you can contact, as well as an estimate based on their records.
Step 5: Get Estimate from a Repair Shop
Many shops will give you an estimate before they actually do any work on the vehicle. This estimate doesn’t cost anything and will give you a better idea of what they will be doing to the car. Get at least three to four different estimates and then you can make your decision on a repair shop based on which one comes close to both your estimate and the insurance company. Auto blog offers a great search tool to find reputable auto repair shops in your area.
Step 6: DIY Your Repair
After you have checked out the repair shops and know exactly what needs to be replaced, you should consider whether or not the repair is something you could possibly do yourself, or with a few friends. This will drastically lower any collision repair cost, as there is no labor cost involved in repairing the auto damage aside from your own time.