How to Get an Estimate on My Car Damage

Getting an estimate on your car damage may take some digging on your part.


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If you've recently been in a car accident, you might be wondering about the potential repair costs. For instance, when researching online, you might query "how to get an estimate on my car damage." This is only natural, seeing as having a vehicle that's been damaged in an accident or collision can keep you off the road, and getting a repair estimate is the first step to getting your car back in working condition. Here are several strategies you can use to get an idea of the potential repair costs.

Compare Reputable Repair Shops

When it comes to answering that "how to get an estimate on my car damage" question, the first step involves researching reputable repair shops and mechanics you can trust. You'll want to search for well-established and highly rated collision repair shops within driving distance of where you live, and you should take the time to look into each company's reputation and read over their user reviews.

Consider asking people you know for recommendations on where to get your car fixed, and make sure to check each shop's profile on the Better Business Bureau.

Get at Least Three Estimates

Once you find several car repair shops you're comfortable with, you'll want to take the time to get estimates from at least three of them. Doing so can help you ensure you're getting the best price for the repairs you need, and it can also help you understand the specific repairs each shop wants to make.

To get the ball rolling, you can call each repair shop and set up an appointment. You may have to get a ride to each shop so you can leave your car there for several hours, but this may be necessary to get a few estimates for this important work. For each estimate you receive, you'll want to get a breakdown of the cost of repairs, the anticipated repairs they want to make, and all costs associated with parts and labor.

Don't Wait for an Insurance Adjuster

If your insurance carrier is covering your car repairs, know that you don't have to wait on an insurance adjuster to start getting estimates from repair shops in your area. If your insurance company—or another person's insurance—is paying for the repairs and an adjuster doesn't come out within a few days, you can move forward and start getting estimates without them.

Just keep in mind that you'll want to reach an agreement with insurance before you move forward with repairs. If you move forward with the work and pay the repair shop yourself, you may have trouble getting a full reimbursement from the insurance company later on.

Base Your Decision on More Than Price Alone

So, you've contacted repair shops and received different estimates, and you're starting to lean toward one or two of them with lower quotes. This is good, but keep in mind that you shouldn't necessarily base your decision on price alone.

Getting multiple estimates can help you see if one company is offering more comprehensive repairs for a price that's better or worse than the competition, or if any of the companies are overcharging. This can also help you do a line-by-line comparison of the estimates you receive, which is a great way to make an informed decision. After all, you don't want to wind up paying for repairs that don't actually fix your car.

If your insurance carrier is covering your car repairs, getting multiple estimates and doing line-by-line comparisons can also help when you're working with your insurance adjuster. For instance, you may wind up getting three or four estimates and your insurance adjuster suggests that you go for the cheapest option that lists fewer repairs overall. In that case, you could use your other estimates to argue that your car requires more comprehensive repair work.

Getting Estimates and Moving on

Seeing your car damaged can be incredibly stressful, whether you were at fault in an accident or not. In addition to dealing with the trauma that comes with seeing your new or used car in bad shape, you also have to deal with the hassles involved in getting your vehicle fixed as well as the potential of going without your car for several days, weeks, or even months.

Accordingly, the sooner you can get an idea of the repairs and costs involved in getting your car back in shape, the sooner you can get your car fixed and back on the road.

This site is for educational purposes only. The third parties listed are not affiliated with Capital One and are solely responsible for their opinions, products and services. Capital One does not provide, endorse or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The information presented in this article is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but is subject to change. The images shown are for illustration purposes only and may not be an exact representation of the product. The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Capital One product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.
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Holly Johnson
Holly D. Johnson is an award-winning writer who covers personal finance, loan products, insurance, credit cards, loyalty programs, and travel. Due to her professional background, she has a sincere desire to educate consumers about financial products, including car loans. Johnson creates content full-time, and lives with her husband and two daughters in Central Indiana.