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The Estimate

What is a Body Shop Estimate? 

When a Body Shop or Insurance Company writes an estimate, it's an educated guess on the scope of the repairs required to get the car back to its pre-accident condition. We say "Guess" because there are many areas on a vehicle that may not be accessible during the initial inspection.

Some shops use software to help with the estimating process; some do not. All rely on experience to help get an accurate assessment.

There are many factors to consider when guessing the cost of a repair, parts prices can change from a supplier, material costs vary and labor times can be miscalculated or left off altogether. It's for this reason that supplements are written, written by both Body Shop and Insurance Company. Supplements will contain the additional items not seen during the initial inspection or changes in parts or material cost.

Reading Your Estimate

After you receive your estimate, you may find it a bit confusing, mostly because it's written using body shop terminology and even abbreviations. Below we will help shed some light on this subject.


Here are some of the most common abbreviations you will find on your collision repair estimate and their definition or use.

R/R is used for "Remove and Replace," typically used when replacing a part is needed. The item in question is removed from the car and replaced with a new or used part depending on the year of the vehicle and the scope of your insurance policy requirements.

R/I is used for "Remove and Install," typically this one is used when a part needs to be removed for accessing other part s on a car during the repair and will need to be put back on or reinstalled.

Rpr is an abbreviation for "repair" and is used when a part can be repaired instead of being replaced. Most commonly used for dents or cracks.

Repl is an abbreviation for "Replace." Most commonly used when a part should be replaced because it either cannot be repaired or the repair cost would be higher than its replacement cost.

Refn is used for the word "Refinish." Refinish is also known as painting the part or painting the car.

Sect is an abbreviation for "Sectioning." Typically used when a car has frame damage and will need to have a section of it removed and a new or used one will be welded in.  This is standard practice for older cars and other mager structural repair.

Subl is an abbreviation for "Sublet." Sublet is the term used when a car needs to be sent out to have work done. Wheel alignments, for example, not all body shops can do wheel alignments on the suspension components, and the car will need to be sent out to another shop for the work. Windshields sometimes will carry a sublet amount as well; not all shops can handle this type of work. Most windshield replacement companies are mobile and will come to the shop to do the job.

(*) Symbol is essential when reading a computer-driven estimate as this means the item in question did not have a book time, and the best judgment of the writer has been used. These can be hard to see sometimes but are very important; it can also mean the book time was changed by the writer and was not used in the estimate. In other words, if the book time is 10.0 hours to do a repair procedure and the shop/adjuster changes it, it will show (*) the asterisk on the line item.

Those are the most commonly use abbreviations you will find on collision repair estimates written by your Insurance Company or the Body Shop.

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