Understanding Auto Body Damages and Repair Costs
So, you’ve been in an accident and it is time to get the auto body damage fixed. Perhaps you backed into your mailbox and the damage is so minor that you’re planning to pay out-of-pocket. On the other hand, what if you drove into a wall and sustained damage to multiple body panels? Repairs will exceed your deductible in this case so going through insurance may be the way to go. This article will help address the common types of accident repairs and how much you should expect to pay.
Minor Auto Body Damages: Broken Lights and Small Dents
Don’t fret! Minor auto body damages like taillights and small dents should be less than a few hundred dollars. Many times, these damages are not worth going through insurance.
Broken headlights and taillights are a common result of a minor accident. The good news is, if your lights were the only mechanical harm, then the fix is quite simple. Your auto body shop can order and replace the light and have you have back on the road in no time. Expect to pay no more than $200 per light for common vehicles. Exotic and foreign autos may cost more.
If you have a small dent, paintless dent removal can also be an option and should cost less than a few hundred dollars. With this process a dent is repaired without sanding and painting. The main limiting factor is that the paint must remain unobstructed once the dent is pulled. The technician will also need easy access to the damage to pop or pull it out. With the help of some special tools, the technician will ensure that body is back to pre-accident condition when your car is returned.
Auto Body Damages Requiring Paint
Even if your auto body damage will require paint, there is still hope that your repair bill will be affordable. Proper painting requires paint matching and prep prior to the painting process. It all depends on the location of and extent of the damage, but expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $2000 to have paint and body work done. In this case, calling insurance may be wise.
Costs start to add up quickly if more than one panel has been damaged. Don’t be alarmed with an estimate in the $1500 to $3000 dollar range – or more. Technicians repairing damage to multiple panels will need to first fix the body, fill, sand, prep and paint the panels. This work can take place over the course of a few days in order to allow materials to set and dry.
Auto Body Frame Damage
When we start to talk about damage to the frame itself, we’re now talking about mechanical damage that will affect the way your vehicle operates. Cosmetic damage usually does not affect performance, but now we’re talking about damage to alignment and maneuverability, so safety becomes a factor. For these types of damages, expect to go through insurance. Frame damage can exceed $10,000 in certain cases.
Technicians will have to cut off damaged frame pieces and weld on replacements in order to maintain the structural integrity of the car. They may also have to use special equipment to stretch crumpled. These processes can be very costly and it might make more sense to declare the car totaled.
What is a Totaled Car?
When damages start exceeding the $5000 mark, many times the car is not drivable. You’re looking at possible frame damage and most likely, damage to multiple panels. At this point you’re probably already working with your insurance company and they will calculate what your car is worth versus the cost to repair the vehicle. If their value of the car is less than the estimated cost of repairs, then expect the insurance company to declare the car “totaled” and they will pay you directly what the car is worth.
According to Insurance.com, most insurance companies will make you give them title to the car once it is declared totaled. They usually auction the vehicle and recoup some of their costs. You are not able to take their check for the “totaled” value and apply it towards fixing your car. However, there are states that allow for you to work this out with your insurance company. So in the event that you want to keep your car even though it has been declared totaled, you could theoretically pay the salvaged price and keep the car. Who knows, maybe its as simple as some panel damage a few trips to the auto body shop will have the car to pre-accident condition!
Services Provided at Quality Assured Collision
- Free Towing and Shuttle (restrictions apply)
- Collision Repair
- Dent Removal
- Body and Frame Repair
- Auto Painting
- Mechanical Repairs
- Fleet Services
- Car Restoration, and More!
Quality Assured Collision Center has been serving the Long Beach, CA community since 2004. We specialize in collision repair, body work, dent repair, car restoration, and mechanical work. We can offer towing, drop-off and pick-up and even perform a free 15-point inspection on your vehicle. As experts on all insurance situations, we will help guide you through the process and we work with all types of financing situations for those paying out of pocket.
Call us now or text us a picture of your vehicle to (562) 599-0766