Saturday, October 4, 2014

Breaking Down Collision Repair Costs

Even if we have car insurance to fall back on when we get into an accident, understanding the costs of collision repair is beneficial in the long run because of the impact it has on future premiums. Knowing how much a repair can potentially cost also affects how you will deal with a collision repair shop. And if the damage to your car is extensive enough, knowing the potential cost of repair will help you make a decision on whether to claim for a total loss or not. As many car owners may have experienced, premiums do rise based on an owner's claims history and knowing when to claim or not has an impact on your future finances.

Why do seemingly simple repairs (such as repairing a dented bumper) cost so much? It's not only the collision repair shop's markup, although it is a variable to consider. An uninformed owner may think that it's a simple matter of taking out the bumper, whaling away with a hammer, applying some filler and then painting the thing. Well, one could do that, but would the end result be a finish that you would be proud of as well as retain the value of the car? Most likely not.

Many costs associated with collision repair are items that are not obvious to the untrained eye. Wires and sensors may need to be replaced. A non-visible sub-assembly may need to be straightened. A urethane bumper may need extra layers of primer or filler. Or there may be gaskets, seals or trim that need replacing to ensure a leak-proof cabin. Then add to that the cost of labor for properly doing a professional job and those little things quickly add up. If you take a close look at the damage to your vehicle in this kind of light, you will realize that the parts and labor needed to restore your car to its unscathed condition really do add up. To get an even better idea of what it would cost a collision repair shop to repair your vehicle, list the parts you think will need replacement and head down to a parts dealer. Don't forget the paint as well as the primers and fillers that will need to be applied. If you can use aftermarket parts instead of OEM parts, look up their prices too. When considering an estimate for the damage to your car, don't limit yourself to what is obviously damage. Also consider what could be wrong.

Labor charges vary, but it's safe to say that the more skilled and experienced the technicians are in a given collision repair shop, the more expensive they will be. On the plus side, you will be assured that will get the repair done correctly and quickly. This is also important to remember when dealing with repair chains. Consistency is not always their strong attribute, and where one branch may have excellent quality, the next may be marginal.

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