Certainly, car accidents are always stressful. Such mishaps also cost a significant amount of money. And afterward, tasks associated with repairs sometimes become more frustrating. We know that the insurance company is going to pay for the damage repairs. But what if the insurance estimate lower than body shop estimate? This context imports financial challenges along with a high degree of mental stress. If you are facing the same scenario, we say do not panic. There are various solutions to this problem. In this article, we explore this problematic situation in detail while listing some proven and effective solutions with required actions from your end.
Why Insurance Estimate Lower Than Body Shop?
There are several reasons that can direct the insurance company to estimate less than the estimate of an automobile repair shop.
- The insurance company has considered the prices of required parts according to the old prices.
- If the company considers the installation of recycled parts other than brand-new parts, the estimation becomes lower than the actual.
- The estimation has been done using software, which hasn’t counted all the factors associated with the repair. The considered factors are less than the garage, which results in lowering the estimate.
- Providing a lower estimate can be a business strategy. By providing a lower estimate, the insurance company is trying to broaden the negotiation context.
- To restrict financial loss, the insurance company may come up with a lower estimation. In general, the company compromises over quality repair work.
6 Problems Associated with a Lower Insurance Estimate?
Well, if you see that your insurance company provides a low estimate that is not even close to the autobody repair shop, it is obviously not good news. So, what problems may you face in this regard? Let’s check those out.
- First of all, it is stressful. After receiving the insurance estimate showing that the company will pay far less than the required amount, it will definitely overwhelm you.
- A lower estimate won’t cover all the costs associated with doing the necessary repairs. It will result in incomplete repairs that could lead to further damage or safety risks.
- To protect financial benefits, an insurance company may ask to use low-quality, aftermarket, or recycled parts to cut costs. This may negatively impact the car’s performance and safety.
- As there is a vast difference between the estimates from the insurance company and the autobody repair shop, negotiation is required. It will take time; delay the repair work.
- You have to make out-of-pocket expenses to diminish the difference between the two professionals’ estimates.
- Due to the low budget allocation, the repair work won’t meet quality standards. It will put you at risk for future accidents, which can cost you money in terms of recovery costs associated with physical injuries and car damage.
What to Do If Insurance Estimate Lower Than Body Shop?
After comparing the estimates, if you see that the insurance estimate is lower than the estimate of the repair shop, you should follow the below-listed guidelines.
1. Reviewing the Body Shop Estimate
Critically analyze both of the estimates to find our differential segments. You will notice that the costs are different only in some service and parts price categories. Note those differential terms and the respective amounts.
Now, visit other repair shops to find out the actual charges for those repairs, and also visit car parts showrooms to find out the actual prices of the respective parts. By doing so, you will have the full scenario for identifying who is at fault: the insurance company or the body shop. Do not forget to note down the visited repair shops and car parts showrooms’ contact details for future reference.
2. Requesting Re-estimation
Now that you know the possible actual costs in terms of repair and parts purchase, request a re-evaluation of the estimates from both parties. Contact the auto body repair shop and insurance company and explain to them what you have found out through market research. They may ask for references; provide them with the names and contacts of the earlier-visited shops. Follow up on the re-estimation process.
3. Negotiation with the Insurance Company
Even after the re-estimation, if there is a significant difference between the insurance estimate and the body shop estimate, you need to negotiate with the insurance company. Here, you have two options.
➣Take Help of a Car Lawyer
Hire an experienced car lawyer and explain to him or her the situation. Provide the attorney with the body shop estimate and explain why it is necessary to complete all of the repairs to make him or her understand the case clearly. Provide documentation, photos, and other evidence to support your claim. After understanding your case, the lawyer will consult the case with the insurance company to find a level playing field.
➣Negotiation through Auto Body Repair Shop
Take the initiative to develop communication between the respective repair shop and the official from the insurance company. The body shop’s manager or other personnel are more experienced than you in dealing with this kind of case.
The shop personnel will make the insurance company’s representative understand the reason for the differences in the estimation. The insurance company’s representative may visit the garage to get a better understanding by conducting a physical inspection. However, there is a significant chance of getting a solution.
4. Get the Repair Work Done
Whatever approach you have taken—negotiation through a lawyer or body shop—upon receiving the revised estimation, instruct the shop to start repair work. After getting a notification of work completion, go to the shop and check all the repair work’s quality.
If there is any issue, ask the repair facility to fix it as soon as possible. Receive the car and pay the shop. Here, you may receive the insurance claim amount at your bank, or the insurance company may directly pay the shop.
3 Alternative Solutions if Insurance Estimate Lower Than Body Shop
Below are three most-suitable alternative solutions to deal with the estimate-difference context.
1. Go for Enlisted Shop
Well, most car insurance companies have their own enlisted autobody repair shops. If your initiative to negotiate fails, take your car to an enlisted workshop of the insurance company. As per their business agreement, the repair shop and insurance company will fix the differential issues. However, you must be careful before receiving the repaired vehicle to restrict low-quality work.
2. Pay Out-of-pocket
It is only applicable if the difference is very small. If you see that the difference between the two estimates is below $100, there is no point in running here and there. Just inform the body shop that you will pay the remaining amount and ask them to start working. Here, you will save time, effort, and money, which you would otherwise spend on calling, traveling, etc.
3. File a Lawsuit
If the negotiation fails, ask your lawyer to evaluate the chance of winning a lawsuit against the insurance company. If you see a chance of winning, file a court case. Please note that you should only apply this approach if the difference in estimates is very large.
Dealing with an insurance estimate lower than body shop estimate is a frustrating task. But, by using the given guidelines, you will be able to find the escape route. However, it is important to remain calm and take the necessary steps on time to make sure that your vehicle is properly repaired. One more thing, if you go to the insurance company’s authorized shop, check all the new parts installed to ensure quality and appropriateness with the car model and brand.
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He is a passionate automotive writer with a deep understanding of cars and mechanics. With hands-on experience, John offers a knowledgeable perspective on the automotive repair and tips. Whether you’re a seasoned or regular driver, John’s articles are your go-to resource for all things.