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Wrecking a car can be an overwhelming—and traumatizing—experience. Despite our best intentions, there are circumstances beyond our control that could lead to such an ordeal. Depending on the extent of the damage done to your car, you may want to get an auto body repair estimate as soon as possible. Many first-timers going through the process of securing an estimate will agree; it can be a very daunting experience.

But the truth is, getting an auto body repair estimate is not a complicated as one might originally think. Here are some of the things you can expect when meeting with an automotive shop for repairs.

1. Online estimator tools are not always reliable.

Most people might turn to online search tools like Google to ease their worries before the actual appointment with the estimator. Although it’s totally fine to do that, be sure to take everything you see online with a grain of salt. Online estimating tools don’t allow you to see if there is hidden damage underneath which can lead to surprise increase to the original bill.

The problem with getting a rough estimate from free tools is that you might have unrealistic expectations. Remember, estimators are trained to give you the right price for repair services. Only a professional can give an estimate that accurately shows the best way to repair your damaged car.

2. Not all issues are cheap.

After a vehicular accident, you’ll probably think that the damage to your car was not so bad. But the unfortunate reality is that even a minor accident can result in major repairs. Of course, this isn’t always true—but it’s best to set your expectations.

Thankfully, the opposite rings true as well: what may look like extensive damage to your vehicle might not even require an extensive (and expensive) auto body repair. In fact, there are a lot of car owners who end up pleasantly surprised to learn that their estimate is not as high as they were expecting. That’s why it’s important to only get estimates from reputable auto body repair shops.

3. The final cost estimate varies.

Your auto body repair estimate’s overall cost varies greatly, depending on how much damage your vehicle has sustained. There’s no such thing as a fixed formula to calculate how much your repairs will cost. Cars have a lot of complex moving parts that might cost a lot if you are having it repaired or replaced, and different models have different needs.

Additionally, your estimate should include materials, parts, time for labor, and paint. Areas that commonly need repair after a car accident include side panels, rear bumper, hood, or bumper. Those major parts can be quite costly to repair or replace. Skilled contractors are also required to help you bring your car back to its original state again, so be prepared to spend a significant amount of money for repair services.

If your car gets into an accident and needs repair, you need to take it to a reliable auto body repair shop. An excellent automotive body shop should be able to give you an accurate estimate. They should also know what exactly needs to be done to bring your car back to top shape.

At California Collision, we can help you through the process of your car’s repair while providing a stellar customer care experience. Call us today for more information about our services.