Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

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lightnoise
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Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by lightnoise » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:15 pm

Recently, I side swiped my car against a light pole while pulling out of a really narrow alley resulting in damage to the back door of the car. Obviously, this was completely my fault. I have NOT contacted my insurance company but I've gotten a few repair estimates and they range from $2000-$3000. A couple questions:

1) Is it worth contacting my insurance company to see if they would cover the cost of repairs or would it be better just to pay for the repairs myself? I'm wondering if that would result in premium increases if they cover the repairs OR if they do not cover the repairs, would I still be dinged for it in the future when shopping for better insurance rates?

2) If I pay for it myself, is the VIN # of the car still reported to carfax or any other sites? Would any insurance company still have access to the repair history and would that impact negatively when shopping for insurance in the future?

This is all new to me so apologize for the silly questions.

Thanks

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:28 pm

lightnoise wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:15 pm

1) Is it worth contacting my insurance company to see if they would cover the cost of repairs or would it be better just to pay for the repairs myself? I'm wondering if that would result in premium increases if they cover the repairs OR if they do not cover the repairs, would I still be dinged for it in the future when shopping for better insurance rates?
That's something you want to decide based on your circumstances. One of my kids did something similar and already had a totaled car on his record. It was $2500 to fix. We had a $1000 deductible. We ate the cost because our insurance would have gone up $1000 a year for 6 years.
2) If I pay for it myself, is the VIN # of the car still reported to carfax or any other sites? Would any insurance company still have access to the repair history and would that impact negatively when shopping for insurance in the future?
If you don't tell the insurance company....let me quote out of context Jack Bogle......"Nobody knows nothin'"
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

denovo
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by denovo » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:57 pm

lightnoise wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:15 pm

1) Is it worth contacting my insurance company to see if they would cover the cost of repairs or would it be better just to pay for the repairs myself? I'm wondering if that would result in premium increases if they cover the repairs OR if they do not cover the repairs, would I still be dinged for it in the future when shopping for better insurance rates?

No need to call your insurance company. Find your policy, check to see if you have collision coverage, and what the deductible is. For future reference, this is a good explanation on the different types of coverage.
Comprehensive and Collision
Comprehensive and Collision coverages pay to repair or replace your auto if it is stolen or damaged in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. For each coverage, you select a deductible that you pay out of pocket. Your insurance company pays for the remaining damage up to the limits you select.
With Collision coverage, your insurance company pays for damage to your auto when you collide with another vehicle or object. If you hit a car, a pole or another nonliving object, Collision coverage will apply.
With Comprehensive coverage, your insurance company pays for damage to your auto caused by an event other than a collision, such as fire, theft or vandalism. If you hit an animal, or if your auto is flooded or stolen, Comprehensive coverage will apply.
https://www.progressive.com/glossary/co ... collision/

t60
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by t60 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:27 pm

Being paranoid here, but was there any damage to the light pole? I ask because while unlikely, you might have to report the damage to the local authorities in case they want to pursue damages. I'm guessing this was more cosmetic to your car than anything else given the structure/materials of light poles though..

As for the insurance, you can basically do whatever you want. In my case I had an at-fault accident a couple of years ago and had a huge ding on my insurance payments, so I'd personally keep it away from insurance if possible. I'd probably sit on the estimates for a month or two before doing anything, as I've learned to ignore most cosmetic damage on cars (since they would inevitably re-occur).

lightnoise
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by lightnoise » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:31 pm

t60 wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:27 pm
Being paranoid here, but was there any damage to the light pole? I ask because while unlikely, you might have to report the damage to the local authorities in case they want to pursue damages. I'm guessing this was more cosmetic to your car than anything else given the structure/materials of light poles though..
No damage to the light pole at all. My right rear door needs to be replaced however. I own a newer Subaru and as I learned while getting estimates, the repair will involve replacing the door rather than just the "skin" as Subaru does not make only skins.

chevca
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by chevca » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:44 pm

I would fix that one on your own, leave insurance out of it, and stay away from light poles from now on. :happy

If insurance has a chance to raise your rates, they will certainly take it. That's my belief anyway.

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dwickenh
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by dwickenh » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:09 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:28 pm
lightnoise wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:15 pm

1) Is it worth contacting my insurance company to see if they would cover the cost of repairs or would it be better just to pay for the repairs myself? I'm wondering if that would result in premium increases if they cover the repairs OR if they do not cover the repairs, would I still be dinged for it in the future when shopping for better insurance rates?
That's something you want to decide based on your circumstances. One of my kids did something similar and already had a totaled car on his record. It was $2500 to fix. We had a $1000 deductible. We ate the cost because our insurance would have gone up $1000 a year for 6 years.
2) If I pay for it myself, is the VIN # of the car still reported to carfax or any other sites? Would any insurance company still have access to the repair history and would that impact negatively when shopping for insurance in the future?
If you don't tell the insurance company....let me quote out of context Jack Bogle......"Nobody knows nothin'"
Not all insurance companies report to Carfax.

Dan
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

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dwickenh
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by dwickenh » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:15 pm

lightnoise wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:31 pm
t60 wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:27 pm
Being paranoid here, but was there any damage to the light pole? I ask because while unlikely, you might have to report the damage to the local authorities in case they want to pursue damages. I'm guessing this was more cosmetic to your car than anything else given the structure/materials of light poles though..
No damage to the light pole at all. My right rear door needs to be replaced however. I own a newer Subaru and as I learned while getting estimates, the repair will involve replacing the door rather than just the "skin" as Subaru does not make only skins.
The intrusion bar may also be damaged so a complete door shell is likely the best repair. You can go new OEM or same year OEM from a reputable salvage yard. Make sure you know which one you are getting. Both can lead to a quality repair, just make sure the shop warranties the parts and labor for a sufficient time period. Lifetime warranty is standard in the industry for labor and paint. Parts are subject to the suppliers warranty. New OEM is likely the shortest warranty on parts.

Your policy history would have a lot to do with any rate increase. The Insurance company I worked for did not count a collision claim against the insured if their payout was under 1500 after the deductible.

You might do a little more research before pulling 2500 out of your pocket.

Good luck,

Dan
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

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lthenderson
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:05 pm

lightnoise wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:15 pm
1) Is it worth contacting my insurance company to see if they would cover the cost of repairs or would it be better just to pay for the repairs myself? I'm wondering if that would result in premium increases if they cover the repairs OR if they do not cover the repairs, would I still be dinged for it in the future when shopping for better insurance rates?

2) If I pay for it myself, is the VIN # of the car still reported to carfax or any other sites? Would any insurance company still have access to the repair history and would that impact negatively when shopping for insurance in the future?
1. Depends on what you have for a deductible on your comprehensive, what your prior record is like and who you have insurance through. If I had a low deductible, I would turn in the claim because my insurance premiums would only go up slightly and it was probably take a decade or more to make up the difference and by then, it would be off my record.

2. Just heard the other day that State Farm was caught data mining repair shop records for those paying cash. I wouldn't doubt if others do the same.

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dm200
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by dm200 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:18 pm

What is the deductible on collision and comprehensive?

For an amount as you cite, I think I would file a claim. A question would be why carry (and pay for) insurance if you would not file claims?

lightnoise
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by lightnoise » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:49 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:18 pm
What is the deductible on collision and comprehensive?

For an amount as you cite, I think I would file a claim. A question would be why carry (and pay for) insurance if you would not file claims?
Deductible is $500 and the repairs estimate is at minimum $2000.

spitty
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by spitty » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:45 am

I'd keep insurance out of this. And get more estimates letting them know you're paying cash--smaller shops tend to be cheaper and more negotiable. If you live in a big city try finding shops in more rural areas; they'll be cheaper and less likely to play the "data mining" game. Wow, hadn't heard of that one!

Small Law Survivor
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by Small Law Survivor » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:16 am

My 23 yr. old daughter just did something similar - $3,000 repair job.

She has $1,000 deductible. Our insurance agent insisted that it would be better to pay than to file a claim - increase in premiums was likely to end up costing more. However, she could not say with certainty what the premium increase would be.

We ended up eating this cost ....

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:18 am

Is it more than the door?

We have an older (04) Outback that was hit by another driver. The estimate list included replacing the door with time and materials to repaint. It included 2 junkyard names with prices for the listed door ($125 for one, $150 for the other). There was damage to the body just behind the rear door as well and very minor on the back of the front door. Estimate total was $1800. I went to a local junkyard and found 3 full rows of Subarus. One full row was Outbacks. I was not looking for a door.....but the plastic clips for the lower body plastic cladding, which I was able to retrieve plenty of.

If you're handy, just look for a door in your color and replace it yourself.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

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dm200
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by dm200 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:32 am

lightnoise wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:49 pm
dm200 wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:18 pm
What is the deductible on collision and comprehensive?
For an amount as you cite, I think I would file a claim. A question would be why carry (and pay for) insurance if you would not file claims?
Deductible is $500 and the repairs estimate is at minimum $2000.
Why would you carry (and pay for) a $500 deductible if you would not collect on claimes like this?

My guess is that the possible or likely increased premiums will be no more than the $1,500 you would get on a claim.

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lthenderson
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:45 am

dm200 wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:32 am
Why would you carry (and pay for) a $500 deductible if you would not collect on claimes like this?
+1

Also, don't be afraid to call up and talk to your insurance agent and ask questions. I have done this several times while making the decision to file a claim or not. Since they deal with this on a daily basis, they probably have better advice than anonymous people on a finance forum.

CurlyDave
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by CurlyDave » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:58 am

I would look for another door on line. Try eBay and a few wrecking yards. If you can find one in the same color, replacing the old one is not very hard. The only even remotely difficult part is the wires for an electric window and the door lock. Once you have the new one you can pull the panels on the damaged one to see how it is put together. The door itself replaces with either 4 or 6 small bolts on the hinges. You will have to adjust it to get it to close properly but this is just loosening the bolts on the hinges and moving it a little to get it aligned properly before tightening down again.

Keep looking until you find the right color. They only had a few colors so it should not be that hard, and anything you get will be a very good match to the rest of the car.

Rupert
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by Rupert » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:00 am

dm200 wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:32 am
lightnoise wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:49 pm
dm200 wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:18 pm
What is the deductible on collision and comprehensive?
For an amount as you cite, I think I would file a claim. A question would be why carry (and pay for) insurance if you would not file claims?
Deductible is $500 and the repairs estimate is at minimum $2000.
Why would you carry (and pay for) a $500 deductible if you would not collect on claimes like this?

My guess is that the possible or likely increased premiums will be no more than the $1,500 you would get on a claim.
+1. If you're willing to eat $2000-3000 claims, it makes absolutely no sense to pay a higher rate for such a low deductible. Your deductible should be the highest the insurance company allows, which is probably $1000.

deltaneutral83
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by deltaneutral83 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:21 pm

One of the issues not yet considered is the Carfax report when you go to resell. The newer the vehicle, the more it will cost you in the form of reduced sales price when the time comes. That being said, if you can get the work done for $2k it's probably going to be close in the cost benefit analysis with a $500 deduc/ins raises and a 5+ year old car (when the car is eventually sold for less than if it had a clean carfax). I can't imagine anything more than $2k in charges and not using the deduc and filing a claim.

2m2037
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by 2m2037 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:06 pm

To all posters in this thread who are saying keep insurance out of the picture; when do you actually put in a claim then? When your car has been totaled? I imagine there would be 3-4 side swipes for every total write-off incidents. How often do you write off a vehicle? If you expect to get in a crash so major that it writes off the vehicle, say, once every few years, you really shouldn't be behind the wheel in the first place. If you don't have such an expectation, what are you saving your small insurance claims for? :confused

tim1999
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by tim1999 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:33 pm

Accident history on Carfax reports comes mainly from police reports. Very few if any collision repair centers report to Carfax. If the cops weren't involved, I wouldn't worry about it. Last time I hit a deer, I purposely didn't report it to the police because I figured not only would it then make it to the Carfax, but the cop might give me some silly "careless driving" ticket for hitting the deer. The insurance company did question why I didn't call the police, but I told them with the no personal injuries, no property damage, and the car still drivable, there was no point in doing so. That was good enough of an explanation for them.

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dm200
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Re: Auto body repair: What to do about car insurance?

Post by dm200 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:18 am

imperio wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:06 pm
To all posters in this thread who are saying keep insurance out of the picture; when do you actually put in a claim then? When your car has been totaled? I imagine there would be 3-4 side swipes for every total write-off incidents. How often do you write off a vehicle? If you expect to get in a crash so major that it writes off the vehicle, say, once every few years, you really shouldn't be behind the wheel in the first place. If you don't have such an expectation, what are you saving your small insurance claims for? :confused
My questions as well

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