According to Webster’s Dictionary, to estimate means to generally calculate the expected price. The itemized estimate handed to car owners requesting repairs is an approximation of the total cost.
- “to produce a statement of the approximate cost of;”
- “roughly calculate or judge the value, number, quantity, or extent of.”
- Calculate roughly, approximate, guess.
- Appraisal, assessment, estimation, evaluation.
The Definition of a Car Repair Estimate
Estimates and the process of planning auto repair work can be confusing. We get a lot of questions about car repair quotes from customers. That’s why we want to take a moment to break down the estimating procedure and what it includes.
What is the Purpose of a Quote?
In the collision repair industry, an estimate is just the starting point for planning repair work. Unlike a comprehensive ‘repair plan’ which is performed after disassembly of the damaged vehicle, a quote doesn’t usually represent the final price for the work needed.
Only when the car is taken apart will the auto body shop have a truly accurate assessment of the damage. At that point, they will have a concrete idea of how long repairs will take and the specific parts that need to be ordered. The estimate serves to inform car owners of the parts and labor likely needed to fix it properly.
When the repair shop disassembles the vehicle and understands better the severity of the damage, they may find that additional work will be required. At Alexander’s, we work with the insurance company to get the claim completed and get the repair done well.
How the Insurance Supplement Process Works
When an estimate is written, we cannot guess or make assumptions. In an original estimate, we can only write of what we see. That’s why there is usually a supplement. Another cause of supplements is the high rate of plastic parts being used on vehicles nowadays. Manufacturers are not considering the potential for things to be taken apart and reused. Instead, they are mostly focused on getting things off the assembly line, cheaply and quickly.
If a supplement is needed, the auto body shop will send a supplement request to the car insurance company. The repair shop must put the work on hold until the supplement is approved. This usually takes anywhere from two days to a week. An insurance adjuster may need to inspect the car before giving the ‘go ahead.’
After the insurance company approves the supplement request, any necessary parts can be ordered. The repair shop may need to wait a few days for the additional parts to arrive before completing the work.
The Difference Between an Estimate and a Bill
The initial payment, made when you accept a repair estimate, is based on the quoted amount. This may not be the final cost of the parts and labor involved in the repair. Information included with the initial payment receipt explains that supplements may be necessary. If additional damage is found during the repair process, the shop will contact the insurance company to get approval for any supplemental charges before completing the job.
“We make supplemental insurance requests every day, on over 85% of our jobs,” says Jon Roach, owner of Alexander Body & Fender. “It’s important for customers to understand that any insurance estimate or body shop estimate is an educated ‘best guess’. We work really hard to avoid unpleasant surprises, but we also ensure that the job is done right.”
You Don’t Need Multiple Quotes for Car Repair Work
Because estimates are based on an initial assessment of the car damage, it’s also a reflection on the repair shop’s expertise. Don’t waste time and energy running around town to get more than one quote for car repair work. It’s best to choose a reliable shop and let them work through the normal insurance claim process.
Trust Alexander Body & Fender to prepare a fair estimate and repair your car right. We have worked to uphold the Gold Standard since 1928. Our shop will work your car insurance and we provide a lifetime warranty on all repairs. Call us at (330) 376-8105 or request an estimate today.