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What Is a Vehicle Damage Report?

Aug 30, 2021 ·

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Many things come into consideration when a vehicle is involved in an accident, including the extent of the damage.

Vehicle damage reports are important resources used to document various details of the accident, including what vehicles were involved and where damage is located.

Collision repair technicians, also known as damage appraisers or collision estimators, are often trained to inspect vehicles and prepare these reports. To learn more about how the process takes place, keep reading.

Vehicle Damage Report Details

There are many things that need to be included when writing a vehicle damage report. The basics include the details of the accident itself and how much damage is present on the vehicle.

Accident Details

This section of the report should talk about all circumstances and potential contributing factors to the accident. These details should be unbiased and stick to factual information as much as possible.

If any opinions are stated, they should be noted or supported by evidence. If possible, perspective of who caused the accident should include evidence in the form of photographs and witness reports.

Extent of Damage

Assessment of the damage itself occurs with a collision estimator, sometimes called a damage appraiser. They help vehicle owners through the process of getting the vehicle repaired.

A collision estimator communicates with the customer, insurance company and part vendors. They work to identify every area on the vehicle where there’s damage and report this, along with photographic evidence. Being detailed helps support insurance claims.

When Is a Damage Report Used?

Even if there are no injuries, damage reports are important so they can be submitted to insurance companies. If these are not prepared and submitted right away, there could be a reduction in insurance benefits or issues with qualifying.

These reports ensure that drivers and fleet managers can assess needed repairs, as well as help justify insurance claims.

Vehicle Damage Report Sample

There are many things a damage appraiser notes when inspecting a vehicle after an accident. They document damaged parts and estimate costs for labor and replacement parts.

This report also features the estimated insurance payment and customer responsibility. Download this PDF for an example of what a finished damage report might look like.

What Is a Collision Estimator?

Collision estimators, also referred to as damage appraisers, work to identify vehicle damages. They create complete and accurate damage reports and often travel to the vehicle’s location.

These locations can include anything from a repair facility to a dealership and even a customer’s home. They work to document every aspect of the claims investigation.

Collision estimators need to be well-versed in several areas, including:

  • Vehicle construction
  • Collision repair principles
  • Auto body shop procedures
  • Principles of estimating

The job of a collision estimator can be busy. Accidents happen daily, and they must meet demand while also providing customer service to those involved.

Along with hands-on experience and education, having excellent organizational and communication skills is important for anyone interested in the role.

Vehicle Damage Analysis at UTI

A collision estimator needs a strong background to be successful. The Collision Repair & Refinish Technology program at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) features several courses on damage analysis, including:

  • Structural Damage Analysis: This course provides an introduction to damage analysis and teaches students how to interpret specification sheets and various measuring systems. Students learn how to diagnose, analyze and interpret vehicle structural damage.
  • Damage Analysis I: Students are introduced to collision facility operation, insurance and estimating. Training learned previously is applied to carry out damage analysis and write estimates on vehicles.

Checklists are provided so students can see what a thorough damage analysis looks like and be able to conduct them on their own. They also receive blank damage reports and complete exercises that test their knowledge of different insurance coverages. Download this PDF to view an example.

Attending UTI’s CRRT program can help prepare students for a career in the collision repair industry,1 with the potential to work their way into damage analysis and appraising. The knowledge of how vehicles are constructed is important when working in the role.

UTI’s CRRT program is designed to be completed in just 51 to 54 weeks. Request more information here to learn how you can take the first steps today!

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