How many car repair estimates should you get before choosing one?

One repair estimate is never enough, but how many car repair estimates should you get before choosing one? That depends on how concerned you are about repair costs. We recommend getting three repair estimates before choosing one to go with.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 6, 2022

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If your vehicle has been damaged in an accident or collision, then you need to obtain a repair estimate before getting back on the road. Checking the list of car accidents by state might also help.

But how many car repair estimates should you get? Should you get multiple auto repair cost estimates before choosing one? Choosing multiple auto repair costs estimators can save you money, but can cost a lot of time. Today, we’re explaining how experts recommend dealing with car repair estimates and how many quotes for car repairs you should get.

Is one auto repair cost estimate from a good repair shop enough?

Some experts recommend getting three estimates from three separate repair shops every time your car needs to be repaired.

Generally, getting multiple quotes for car repair is unnecessary, especially for minor fixes. One service prices estimate from a reputable repair shop is often enough.

Getting three estimates can be a hassle. It can extend how long it takes for an insurance company to pay out a claim and leave your car off the road for an extended period.

However, if your insurance company is not paying the repair shop’s quoted price, or if you think the body shop is charging too much or too little, then you may want to request a second or third opinion.

Overall, however, it’s best to get one really good vehicle repair estimate from a trusted auto shop than to get three average estimates from unknown repair shops.

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If you’re concerned about costs, how many car repair estimates should you get?

Your insurance company might recommend using a specific national auto repair shop. Generally, the shops recommended by your insurance company are high-quality, honest auto repair companies.

They offer excellent service, and they understand the type of paperwork needed by your insurance company. You can expect a smooth and fair claims process 95% of the time. Also, repair shops recommended by the best customer service companies are usually great options to work with. 

However, not all shops are honest and high-quality. Even the shops recommended by your insurer could try to take advantage of you. They might try to use third-party parts instead of stock parts, for example.

For that reason, some experts recommend getting at least three estimates on car repairs, especially for higher-value claims. You can even find car repair quotes online.

On lower-value claims, you might be okay with just two estimates. Or, if you trust your insurance company and it’s a relatively minor repair, you might want to avoid the hassle and go with your insurer’s recommended auto body shop. Having an annual or monthly insurance policy will also affect the type of repair that is covered.

Did you get automotive repair estimates from well-established collision repair shops?

The best estimates obviously come from people who know what they’re talking about. Ideally, you’ll find a repair shop with firsthand experience performing similar repairs on your type of vehicle.

Let’s say you have a less common vehicle – such as a higher-end exotic vehicle like a Lamborghini. You might not be able to take that vehicle to your average small-town body shop to get it repaired. It’s in your best interest to take it to someone who specializes in repairing higher-end, exotic vehicles and get a quote for car repair from them.

Put simply, the repair facility recommended by your insurance company might not have the experience needed to give an accurate estimate – even if they genuinely want to.

How should you compare multiple car repair quotes?

Getting three estimates is generally a good idea because it allows you to get a better average range for the cost of repair.

With three estimates, you can throw out the cheapest and most expensive auto repair estimate, then take the estimate in the middle.

Or, you can add up all three estimates and divide the total by three to get the average estimated auto repair cost.

Ideally, your insurer’s payout offer should be very close to the average estimate repair costs for your vehicle.

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Can you base your vehicle repair estimate on price alone?

Getting a second or third opinion on unexpected car repair costs is essential. At the same time, it’s important not to base your estimate on price alone.

Estimates for collision repairs vary greatly. One body shop might tell you it will cost $2,000 to fix the damage, while another auto body shop tells you it will cost $10,000.

If your insurance adjuster recommends choosing a vehicle repair shop where the cost is substantially lower than the other estimates you’ve received, then be wary. You might not be satisfied with the finished product.

At the same time, a higher-price repair facility may inflate car repair costs. They might charge too much for labor or add parts to your car that you don’t really need.

Finally, some drivers don’t mind paying a higher repair bill even if the insurance company doesn’t cover it. Your insurance company might offer $4,000 to fix your vehicle with aftermarket parts, for example, although you’re willing to spend $5,000 total to fix your vehicle with original parts. This is within your rights.

How many car repair estimates should you get? What’s our final word?

Ultimately, getting multiple quotes for car repairs from every auto shop in town can be a waste of time. Generally, a single estimate from an authorized, reputable, high-quality auto repair facility is all you need.

However, if the bill is particularly costly, or if you’re concerned about your insurance company or the body shop, then you may want to get a second or third opinion. It’s never a bad idea to get a second or third opinion – although it’s often unnecessary when you work with a good repair shop.

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