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760.436.5575

How Do I

Get An Estimate?

Before you decide to travel anywhere to get an estimate, make sure your car is safely drivable. If it isn't, or you're not sure, call us for help in deciding how best to proceed.  If you want to drop off your car without getting an estimate first, visit our How To Bring Us Your Car page. 

Ballpark Price

See pictures of various degrees of damage with corresponding costs and repair times in our Ballpark Price Browser. This may help you decide whether you need to use insurance or not.

Written Estimates

If you want a written estimate, use the menu below to get instructions on how best to proceed.

Shop Of Choice

  • Since we have to take a specific set of photos for the insurer, this procedure requires the In-Person Written Estimate option below.
  • Bring in any information the insurer gave you, such as claim number, control number, instructions, etc.  
  • This procedure can take 15-30 minutes, and we prefer not do it when it's raining.
  • We can schedule your repairs while you're here, or by phone or email later.

Insurance Estimates


When the insurer writes the estimate, there are several things you should know:

  • You don't need a written estimate from us to show the insurance company when they inspect your car.
  • Once an insurer prepares an estimate, logistics dictate that we use that estimate as a starting point for the repair cost.
  • Most insurers write a low estimate to begin with, but they will tell you that after the car is under repair, the shop can submit a supplement estimate, so don't be concerned, because that's our job! Our repair process always includes negotiating with the insurer to make sure they allow us to restore your car to pre-accident condition to the highest degree possible.
  • After you receive the insurance estimate, we need to get a copy before you bring your car in for repair.  If we haven't seen your car, we'd like you to stop by so we can review the damage along with the insurance estimate (no appointment necessary).
  • You don't need a written estimate from us to schedule your work.  After you drop your car off, we'll first determine  exactly what's wrong, and then have the necessary cost approved by insurance-but before we proceed, we'll also email you an estimate for your review and authorization.

 There are basically three ways to get an insurance estimate:

  1. You were asked to get an estimate from the insurer's approved body shop.
    • It may seem like a waste of time to get an estimate from a shop you're not going to use, but some insurers still require this to initiate the claim.  If this request is inconvenient, then please call us...in some cases we can get it waived.
  2. You were told an insurance adjuster will write an estimate on your car sometime before you bring your car in for repairs.
    • This inspection may be done at your home, your work, a drive-in claims location, or even at our shop. We do not need an appointment for an "inspect-only", but we do prefer you to pick up your car sometime afterward that day.
  3. After you drop you car off for repairs, an insurance adjuster will write an estimate with our guidance & recommendations.
    • This is usually the most efficient method for everyone, but may not be offered by some insurers.

 If you want to schedule your repairs without visiting us first, select "I only need to Submit Information" below for instructions.

To save yourself time and effort, we highly recommend that you contact the insurance company to see which procedure they require before you run out and get an estimate.

Important:  Written estimates, whether they are prepared by a shop or an insurer, will not include costs for any Hidden Damage . For a better understanding, look at this table of types of estimates, in particular the "Teardown Estimate" explanation. 

Customer Pay


When insurance isn't involved, it's pretty simple: Take you pick from either an Online Estimate or an In-Person Estimate below.

Third Party Pay


When someone else is paying out-of-pocket for your repairs, there are several important considerations:

  • Rental Car Expense
    • If you need transportaion while we are repairing your car, then the responsible party is liable for a rental car, which is at least $30 per day.
  • Hidden Damage
    • As stated above, the estimate may increase once the car is dismantled.  It is not uncommon for a third party to change their mind about using insurance if that happens, and insurance companies see this happen often.
  • Our Payment Policy
    • Legally, we contract with you to repair your car, so we do not accept personal checks or credit cards from third parties.  Once an accurate cost of repair is determined, the best way to handle payment is either cash paid at the time you pick up the car, or a cashier's check to you or jointly to both you and Fender Mender, anytime before the repairs are completed.

Then choose one of these options when you're ready

We'll just need your name, phone number, and zip code. Call 760.436.5575, press zero, and ask for an Online Estimate Access Code, or you can submit a request by sending us a note.  Make sure to tell us if you are a previous customer.  

Note: Online Estimates are only offered to customers in our service area of North San Diego County.

Call us at 760.436.5575, press zero, and ask for an Estimate Appointment. If you're a new customer, and you'd like to submit your customer and/or vehicle information online before your appointment, ask us for an Online Information Access Code. Otherwise we'll have an old-fashioned paper form for you to fill out when you visit, and we'll take care of getting your car info.

Call us at 760.436.5575, press zero, and ask for an Online Information Access Code to submit customer and/or car information. You can also make the request by sending us a note.  We'll just need your name and phone number to start with, the rest you can provide online.

Thanks for helping us help you!

 I Have My Access Code, Take Me to the Online Estimate & Information Form

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