Estimates and Hidden Damage
When your car has been in a wreck, it is important to understand estimates and hidden damage. Whether your car was in an accident with another vehicle, collided with a deer, or had an unfortunate scrape with the garage door, there might be more damage than you can see.
Hidden damage isn’t just an issue for modern cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs. Our team also finds hidden damage in classic vehicles during the restoration process. Damage from unreported accidents and improper repairs are common examples we uncover after we’ve started a restoration project.
The team at Automotive Collision Specialists can help. We understand how hidden damage can impact the cost and time needed for repairs.
We’re also a locally owned and operated repair shop you can trust. For more than 30 years, we’ve stood behind our work with a limited lifetime warranty on all our repairs.
NC DOI Advice about hidden damage
You may be at increased risk if you’ve been in an accident and are considering just handling it without a police report or involving the insurance company.
On their After an Accident page, the North Carolina Department of Insurance (DOI) advises motorists:
Don’t agree to forget about the accident. You may have hidden damages, unknown injuries or later find that a lawsuit has been filed against you.
Be safe. We recommend always requesting a police report and calling your insurance company even if the visible damage seems minor. Read on to find out why.
Hidden damage that effects car repair costs
When a vehicle has been damaged, it is often easy to see the parts the body shop will need to replace. There are other, less obvious places we’ll also need to inspect for repair.
Depending on what we can see, we’ll also check for bends, cracks, mis-alignment, and other hidden damage to:
- mounting brackets, clips, retainers, splash shields, and air deflectors;
- electrical connectors, wiring, sensors, and control modules for features like anti-lock
brakes (ABS), air bags (SRS), traction control (TCS), lane departure and collision
- suspension, exhaust, cooling, and steering system mechanical components;
- interior components including seat frames and mounting bolts, steering wheel, airbags,
- trim, windows, and child seat anchors; and
- structural components such as the car’s unibody or frame.
An experienced auto repair team like ours will take a thorough look at your car and provide you with the best estimate possible based on what they can see.
What is hidden damage in car repair?
Hidden damage is important to understand when you consider the cost of auto repairs. It can be challenging for anyone – including an experienced technician – to understand the full extent of damage during the estimating process.
Even a highly trained and experienced technician may not be able to fully evaluate a component until they have removed it from the vehicle for repair. A part may be bent, cracked, or damaged in a way that was not possible to see when your car was first brought in for an estimate.
What happens if the estimate is wrong?
An estimate is our best effort at finding damage to your vehicle. When we discover something we couldn’t see during the estimate appointment, we have a couple of different options and they depend on if your insurance company is on our preferred list (where we can work with them directly) or if you’re paying out of pocket.
The insurance companies on our preferred list also understand how to handle estimates and hidden damage. They know hidden damage often changes the original estimate.
If we’re working with your insurance company, we file a supplement – a form that tells the insurance adjuster what we’ve found and what it will cost to make the repairs. After their review, they’ll approve the change. The supplement process can sometimes delay the process by a few days and, when this happens, we’ll usually call or email you and let you know what’s happening.
If the insurance company doesn’t approve the supplement (and we’re working with them on your behalf), we’ll have a phone call with the adjuster and help them understand why we need to make the additional repairs. In a very small number of cases, your vehicle may have un-repaired damage from a prior accident and the insurance adjuster may need to contact you for more information. This rarely happens but we want you to be aware that it could happen, especially if you’ve purchased a pre-owned vehicle that you haven’t repaired before.
What happens if there’s hidden damage but I’m paying for auto body repairs myself?
Our trained technicians need to take parts off of the car before they can see the full extent of the damage. Since that’s not always possible before you decide to have us make the repairs, there’s a chance we’ll all learn about hidden damage after we start disassembling things.
If we discover hidden damage, we’ll determine if it is minor or major. We can handle most minor things without changing the estimate. However, if the damage will change the estimate by more $100, we’ll call or email you to make sure you still want to move forward with the repairs. We’ll usually make this call once we’ve been able to make a full evaluation so you’ll have all the information you need to make a decision. We’ll also be prepared to make recommendations about the available options that will help you with your decision.
A repair team you can trust through your estimates and hidden damage
We know you have options when it comes to choosing an auto body repair shop. Our team is trained, experienced, and honest. We’d rather file a supplement or call you to get approval for a change than to cut corners on other parts of the repair just so the actual cost matches the estimate.
When you choose our team for your car repair, you can be confident that our team knows how important it is for your car to be fixed the right way.
You depend on your car. You can also depend on Automotive Collision Specialists. We’re so committed to you and your car that we stand behind our work with a limited lifetime warranty on all the work we perform.
Call us today at (919) 646-5102 to schedule an estimate!
Send us a message!
If you’d rather email the auto body shop, please use this contact form and let us know what questions you have about estimates and hidden damage!