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Home Ask the Expert Paint and Material Allowances Part II

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What materials are included in the paint and material allowance on insurance estimates?

Question asked by: Debbie Edwards, Nelson Collision, Inc., Fowlerville, Mich.

The insurer will want to include all they can under the heading "paint and material." While that may not seem fair, it’s just the way they are.

The answer to the question, "What’s included?" depends on the estimating platform being used. Since different insurance adjusters use systems differently, what they include will differ by company and even adjuster.

The best way to answer the question is to determine the estimating system being used, then check the P-pages for a listing of what’s included and not included under paint and materials. As a general rule, refinish begins with 150 grit paper, so anything used from 150 on would be considered paint materials, and anything from 0 to 150 is body materials.

Feather, prime and block operations are also generally not included, and those materials should be listed separately. But check the estimating system P-pages and negotiate from there.

Additional items such as seam sealer, caulking, undercoat and many more are not paint materials and should be line items on the estimate.

If you’re working from the adjuster’s estimate, you have to negotiate for all of these things. It’s much better to work from your own complete damage evaluation.

The Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG) is a great place to ask this sort of question. Simply take the insurer estimate and submit it for review by the DEG. You will quickly receive a fair interpretation of what’s included and not included by the individual estimating system. By the way, you can download the P-pages for any of the estimating systems through the DEG. It’s free, and the submission only takes a few minutes!

Yes, there are other options for calculating paint materials, any of which are better than the dollars/refinish hour system that’s currently being used in most shops and by most insurers. But until the industry demands a change, or law demands change as in California, we’re probably stuck with what we’ve got.


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Hank Nunn

Hank Nunn

Hank Nunn is a 35-year collision industry veteran. He can be reached at [email protected]