Report Finds Estimates Written At Vehicle Are Less Accurate - BodyShop Business
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Report Finds Estimates Written At Vehicle Are Less Accurate


Estimates written in the office using photos and notes are more accurate than estimates written at the vehicle, according to data from Mitchell International’s Industry Trends Report, a quarterly publication highlighting industry trends, news and statistics.

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This edition’s Quarterly Feature, “Are Estimates Finalized at the Vehicle More Accurate?” written by Greg Horn, Mitchell’s vice president of industry relations, compares the accuracy of vehicle repair estimates written at the vehicle versus at the office and includes the results of a recent study conducted by Mitchell that examined the effectiveness of the different claim appraising strategies.

“Exactly how to get the most accurate estimates has actually been a point of discussion for most carriers who have long assumed that writing estimates at the vehicle results in a more accurate estimate,” Horn said. “It’s logical to assume that estimates written at the car would be more accurate because any concerns or questions the estimator has can be addressed immediately while at the vehicle. However, our data points to a surprising conclusion that estimates written at the office using photos and notes are actually more accurate.”


Horn said the reason for in-office estimates being more accurate is that “estimators are accurately capturing the estimate in a preliminary estimate and waiting on additional information like policy verification before they commit the estimate.”
Other data found in the Industry Trends Report includes:

  • The average actual cash value of vehicles appraised for collision losses during Q3-2008 was $13,058 – $1,118 less than in Q3-2007, reflecting the lowered value of today’s vehicle mix.
  • In Q3-2008, the average gross appraisal value for comprehensive coverage estimates processed through Mitchell servers was $2,301 compared to $2,191 in Q3-2007. Applying the prescribed development factor of 3% for this data set produces an adjusted value of $2,365, a $174 increase from this same period last year.

To download the entire report, visit

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