The Auto Body Repair Process – What You Need to Know
We don't usually consider auto body repair until our car is in an accident. Unfortunately, car crashes occur frequently in our fast-paced society, ranging from minor fender benders to severe collisions.
In 2020, over 2.4 million car crashes happened in the US alone, which caused property damage. With more accidents occurring, there's an increased demand for repairs.
It's natural to want to see your car looking brand new again without worrying about the technicalities. However, a basic understanding of the repair process provides insight into the expenses, duration, and effort needed to reinstate an automobile to its former condition.
Understand the Collision Repair Process
While each auto body repair shop has its unique approach, there are some basic steps to expect in a typical collision repair process.
1. Initial Estimate
When you arrive at the auto body shop, experts will carefully examine your car to assess its damage. Then they'll provide an initial estimate for repair costs based on this inspection.
Remember that unforeseen issues might arise during disassembly that could add to the final bill beyond the original estimate.
As a result, collision repair estimates may not encompass all expenses when working with insurance companies. The repair center may add supplemental charges beyond the initial quote. In other words, the estimate is simply an approximation.
You can always get multiple repair estimates before choosing a body shop. Consider researching shops and ask for recommendations from friends, family, or your insurance company. Don't just go for the cheapest option; choose based on price, certifications and reputation.
However, it’s worth noting that Caliber Collision is pre-approved by most major insurance companies in the US. As such, multiple estimates are often unnecessary when you trust our collision repair service to restore your vehicle. Instead, you only have to ask your insurance adjuster which pre-approved Caliber is near you when filing your claim.
2. Insurance Approval
After the paperwork is finished and the inspection result is produced, photos of the car will be taken. All the necessary information will be forwarded to the insurance company for review. The insurance company will decide if the vehicle should be repaired.
3. Vehicle Disassembly
Auto body technicians will dismantle and analyze your vehicle to create a detailed blueprint of the necessary repairs. This process may entail scheduling an insurance re-inspection and procuring additional parts. This ensures that every aspect of your vehicle is restored to its original condition.
4. Auto Body Repairs
During the repair process, an electronic measuring system is used to analyze the car and restore it according to factory specifications. All required repairs are done, from structural integrity and wheel alignment to exterior panel replacement and metal furnishing. This step ensures a full restoration of the car, covering all the mechanical and structural repairs.
Paint preparation of your vehicle is a vital step in the refinishing process. Before any color coats are applied, all panels are prepared, primed, and sealed to ensure optimal adhesion. Failure to execute this stage can lead to a subpar finish and compromise the paint job’s longevity.
In the reassembly stage, technicians reattach the final moldings and detail pieces onto the vehicle. Each system undergoes a thorough examination to guarantee that every component operates at peak performance. In this step, the car is on the cusp of completion and ready for delivery.
7. Detailing and Quality Control
After the parts are reinstalled, your vehicle will undergo a comprehensive exterior and interior cleaning with a body paint polish. It removes any dirt or debris accumulated during the repair process and restores the car to its former glory.
An auto body staff will take the vehicle out for a test drive to ensure no driving complications related to repaired components.
At this stage, your vehicle is restored to its pre-collision condition and ready to be delivered. When you arrive to pick up the car, the bill is explained, and all the necessary paperwork is completed.
When to File a Car Insurance Claim?
Some scenarios when it's best to file an auto insurance claim:
When a Person is Injured
When a car accident results in injury to you, another driver, or a passenger, it is crucial to file a claim. Statistics show that over 400,000 personal injury claims are filed annually in the United States, and vehicle accidents account for 52 percent of the total cases.
When the Vehicle is Deemed a "Total Loss”
When your car is badly damaged, or the estimated repair cost exceeds its value, it's classified as a "total loss."
In such cases, contact your insurance provider immediately to start filing a claim and seek their guidance throughout the process. They can assist you with understanding your policy coverage, determine the damage extent, and provide an estimate for replacement or compensation.
Remember that time is of the essence in these situations, so act quickly to ensure a smooth claims process.
If It's Unclear Who Is at Fault
If you're in a car accident and it's unclear who is at fault, filing an insurance claim is necessary. Your insurance company will work with the other driver's insurer to determine responsibility and arrange compensation for damages or injuries.
After a Fender Bender
Despite being deemed minor collisions, fender benders can often lead to unforeseen expenses that drivers may not anticipate. So, it's essential to understand what to do in a fender bender.
Sometimes, injuries could take weeks to manifest. Also, damages could exceed your deductible amount. In these cases, filing an insurance claim is advisable to receive compensation for any medical or repair costs incurred due to the accident.
Visit a Caliber Collision Center for Help
Experiencing an accident can cause immense stress and anxiety. At Caliber Collision, we understand that your car is more than just a means of transportation — it's a part of your daily life.
With more than 1,600 convenient locations nationwide, you can trust us to restore your vehicle to its pre-collision state with world-class services. At Caliber Collision, we take pride in helping you navigate the aftermath of an accident and getting you back on track.