Being on either end of an auto accident is always a stressful situation. Whether at fault or not, you find yourself in a constant struggle with insurance agents, rental car companies, and less than reputable auto repair shops. A trusted and reputable auto collision body shop understands the rigors of managing everyday life when your vehicle is in need of repair.
At times though, even a trusted auto mechanic will write an estimate for damage that can be tough to absorb. What looks minor at the time could affect your vehicle driving properly and make it unsafe for the road. Unfortunately, some damage is not as easy to spot after an accident as others. Because of this, it is advised to get a police report when involved in an accident regardless of how minor damage appears at the time.
While we might not know the exact cost to repair a dented bumper from a minor collision, being able to spot it is relatively easy. However, what about the damage underneath the car? Or the less obvious damage around the big dent in the bumper? Below are examples of the more damage from an accident that many fail to notice initially.
Rim Damage/Tire Damage
In order to remain competitive and entice younger buyers into the new car market, standard features are getting more stylish with an added element of “cool.” One of the improved areas are the rims and tires found on many vehicles, and not just the top of the line trims available. In many cases, even the mid-tier option for a car will come with rims that are more expensive than many aftermarket options at a custom shop.
While it is easy to notice the dents or scrapes to a fender or quarter panel, many people fail to notice rim damage right away. Pay particular attention to your wheels and tires after an accident to ensure you identify scrapes to your rims or gashes in your tires as a result of the other car or subsequently hitting a curb or divider.
Damage to Undercarriage/Running Boards/Splash Shield
If you end up with a nasty scrape or dent to one of your doors, it is not uncommon to miss the damage below. Most cars are built pretty strong underneath to protect against this so you may not notice damage. It is a good idea to allow the car to sit idle in a safe place after the accident to see if any fluids are leaking. You’ll also want to check the area around the car for anything that may have popped loose during impact.
If you belong to an auto club or have access to a tow, you may want to have the vehicle brought directly to an auto shop to avoid further damage underneath. Even if the vehicle appears drivable, it is best to have it looked at by an experienced mechanic. You may also notice running boards or a splash shield hanging low. These are easy fixes, but one you’ll want to address to avoid the bottom of the car scraping against the pavement.
Of course, a large crack is impossible to miss but not all large cracks start out large. Often they begin as tiny surface chips, stars, or bullseyes that when left unrepaired will spread. It is possible that during the accident tiny debris from the road or the vehicles involved can cause these blemishes to your windshield. If left unrepaired or unfilled, a small chip can end up costing you much money.
If a chip can be filled, a specialist can have it repaired in as little as an hour. This repair can be done at a fraction of the cost to have it replaced. Time is of great importance so you’ll want to inspect all glass on your vehicle thoroughly as soon as it is safe to do so. If you notice any imperfections in the glass, you can likely have that work done at the body shop which will perform the rest of the repairs to your car.
The moments right after an accident are stressful, and it is difficult to account for all damage that results from the incident. The damage above, if missed could be contested by the other party’s insurance company, and you might be left to pay for the repairs yourself, even if the other party was at fault.
Looking over every inch of the car and including all damage in the police report is one the best way to ensure you are made whole after an accident. Also, remember to insist an estimate be done by a body shop of your choosing in addition to the one recommended by the insurance company. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not spending it.
Having a trusted mechanic of your own to provide an estimate is also a great idea. Doing so will make sure the insurance settlement is sufficient to get your car repaired right and back on the road.
The writer of this article, Brian Levesque, is a car enthusiast who strives to keep his machine in perfect working order. For those repairs that one can’t handle on their own however, he highly recommends turning to www.duraleightauto.com. You can learn more about Brian on Google+.