Minor Body Damage, pay for repairs vs. an insurance claim

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by Glenn G, Apr 16, 2020.

  1. Glenn G

    Glenn G Member

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    I was backing out of a shopping center space with 14" curbs and heard a CRUNCH...
    After hearing this sickening noise, I inspected the damage and the rocker panel was crunched along
    with collateral damage to adjacent areas.

    So...to claim or not to claim and request the insurance company to cover it.
    I'm in my 60's and my fam and I work in and about the Boston area, and have had
    several fender benders (and worse) over the years, some of which we were at fault (all the
    minor ones) I say this because we have dealt with body shops/ insurance companies
    over the years.

    So...I considered going to our local body shop, who does great work, but he is quite busy, and we didn't
    get a good vibe, probably because he is overwhelmed,

    I have a $1,000.00 deductible and in MA I have to pay "points" for 6 years. I have some knowledge of
    the insurance claims business in the HO and Commercial Property areas, not Auto. I suspect that
    the shops quote low to get the job for an insurance claim, and then once the job is in the shop, there is a "supplement", maybe several. So, what can be done, now that the car is pulled apart in their shop.
    Has anyone ever heard of an insurance company insisting that the car and it's pieces be picked up and transported to another shop? (NO)

    So, I searched on Yelp, and found a shop the next town over that had 5 star yelp reviews -
    very many of them, so it couldn't have been all friends and family. The other thing
    I liked was that he did a lot of body work for people that were paying the bill out of their
    own pocket - a very good sign. Many were people that wanted to fix dings in their leased car, before turning it in at the end of the lease.

    OK I go there and find that it's one of those commercial garage type units - that OK although I
    wondered if they had a paint room (not sure of the technical word for it but it is a separate room where the car is painted and (I think this still applies) heat lamps are used. Anyway they had them.

    So I went in and went into a kind of disgusting office with old coffee cups on the desk, papers taped to the walls, etc.

    I received an estimate for $1,100.00. I agreed to have the work done in a few weeks when they had
    an opening. It was supposed to take a few days, it was done ahead of time and the owner didn't have any supplements, and took $100.00 off my bill, so the repair cost my deductible, plus no points!
     
    #1 Glenn G, Apr 16, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
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  2. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    Did he have a stogie in his mouth and wear suspenders?
     
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  3. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    If you're happy, then I'm happy for ya.
     
  4. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Yeah, for PRIME body repair, $1K price tag is a bargain. You were lucky it did not involve pricey like the LED headlight.
     
  5. Glenn G

    Glenn G Member

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    The point of this, as I'm sure many have been in the situation, where they wonder if it's worth the future costs of putting a claim in
    through their insurance company, or "eating it". In my case I was able to use my wife's V during repairs - which again took a very short time.

    So---My advice---Check Yelp reviews or similar, where you are located, and look for +++ratings from people that had to pay for the repairs themselves, oh and make sure the shop has a paint booth.
     
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  6. KCWhitney

    KCWhitney Member

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    You've got $1K a deductible policy, and the repair cost was $1.1K? You're asking is it makes sense to submit a claim for $100? Isn't that what is referred to as a no brainer?
     
  7. Glenn G

    Glenn G Member

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    I wasn't asking a question, I was describing my experience with the intent that some forum members may find my approach useful.
    In the past I have gleened some useful information from others here.

    To sum it up:
    1. I had minor body damage to my Prius
    2. I located a nearby body shop on Yelp (many reviews - all 5*) that did quality work at a discounted price, when initiating an insurance claim didn't make sense.

    The $1,000.00 deductible isn't the issue. In MA you would be assessed points on your insurance bill for 6 years.
    Many companies offer accident forgiveness for a small additional premium, but I think that this only keeps them from raising
    your rates for one accident. The points are assessed by the state and I don't believe they can be waived by
    purchasing accident forgiveness. Maybe another forum member can provide more information on this matter.
     
  8. bresna

    bresna Active Member

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    You made the right choice. Several years ago, I got into a little fender bender. The repair estimate was ~$1,500 with a $500 deductible. I chose to use my insurance. The next year, my bill went up $1,500. When I called to ask how long it would be before I dropped back down to what I was paying the last year, I was told 7 years. So to save $1,000, I would end up on the hook for an additional $10,5000.

    Needless to say, I changed insurance companies the next year.
     
  9. Glenn G

    Glenn G Member

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    I picked up my Prime and the owner deducted another $100.00 since I wasn't going through my insurance company.
    I asked him about a problem we have with a rattle problem we're having in our V.

    My wife's V has a rattle in the passenger door that no one wants to investigate (a glass company, our former body shop, a mechanic we know)
    Herman (now my new body shop guy) told me to bring the V by around lunch time some day, and he would take the door panel off and try to find the cause of the rattle. We brought it by, he did his thing, and now the rattle is gone. Apparently a stone inside the door cavity caused the rattle.

    Herman did this work for no charge!
     
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  10. m8547

    m8547 Senior Member

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    My insurance company only accepts estimates from one or two body shops in the area (chains, so they have a few locations). They have some sort of estimating tool that determines a price that's agreeable to the insurance company. I can either choose to get the work done by that shop them, or I can take that money from the insurance and have the work done somewhere else for whatever they charge, in which case I keep or pay the difference. That is how they protect themselves from paying unreasonable cost. Last time I got an estimate it seemed on the low side, so I doubt I'd find anywhere that would do it for much cheaper.

    Maybe there is a process to submit an estimate from an unaffiliated body shop, but they didn't offer it as an option.
     
  11. AzusaPrius

    AzusaPrius Active Member

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    You learned your lesson hopefully.
    Anytime you look into the mirrors remember it costs you a $1,000 or more if you dont.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  12. PT Guy

    PT Guy Senior Member

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    Often there is damage that can't be seen until the car is disassembled. The insurers are used to this.

    Have you shopped around for insurance? (a)..look at a page of insurance definitions on the web and decide what coverages you need for financial protection. There is no industry definition of "full coverage." It is whatever the agent tacked on to your policy. You may be able to drop some that you don't need or is duplicative or add some that you may need. (Tip...if you can afford to write a check to replace an older car, don't buy collision coverage.) (b)...Work the computer or phones or local agents to find coverage that is best for you at a better price. Every 3 or 4 years I bundle together all the family policies (for my convenience and possible discounts)...cars, home, earthquake, umbrella liability, rent house...and shop those around. I've found rates very close to what I'm paying and some rates considerably higher. I haven't switched, but I'm looking.

    Umbrella liability insurance is sold in million dollar increments. If you own much, it might be right for you. The umbrella policy will have moderate level liability requirements on the liability coverage on the other policies, so you might be able to lower the car and other policy's liability limits when the protection is replaced with the umbrella.
     
  13. m8547

    m8547 Senior Member

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    Collision and comprehensive coverage on my older car (worth about $10k) is only $180 a year. If I total a vehicle more than once every 50 years I come out ahead (not that I'm planning to, but it could happen by something outside my control). I could afford to replace a $10k vehicle, but it would be not be fun. So insurance on it still seems like a fair deal even though I'm sure the insurance company will come out ahead in the long run.
     
  14. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Yeah, it all depends on the cost of insurance and likelihood of using the insurance. I had a full collision and comprehensive plan on my 10 years old car which was driven by my son at the time he wrecked it. It was minor cosmetic damages, a typical fender bender but the insurance company called it "totaled". Instead of walking away from the car, I ended up buying back the "totaled" car from the insurance company. The ~$4k check which was difference between the fair replacement price of the car and wholesale price of totaled car was given to me. I took the car to a shop to have it fixed (front fender, door and side mirror and AC condenser) just make it safe to drive for ~$1k, and registered the car as repaired previously totaled car.

    My current cost of collision and comprehensive coverage on 2020 PRIME is ~$400/year. This is with zero deductible. If I have a small accident that would cost less than $1k to repair and no other party is involved, I probably will not use my insurance to fix the car. It's very likely the premium hike over years will be more than $1k if I use the insurance, and by not using insurance I can keep the accident off the record.
     
    #14 Salamander_King, Jul 10, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  15. Glenn G

    Glenn G Member

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    "Umbrella liability insurance is sold in million dollar increments. If you own much, it might be right for you. The umbrella policy will have moderate level liability requirements on the liability coverage on the other policies, so you might be able to lower the car and other policy's liability limits when the protection is replaced with the umbrella."

    Every time I've seen an Umbrella policy, it is contingent on the insured maxxing out the liability limits on his/ her other policies.


    " You learned your lesson hopefully.
    Anytime you look into the mirrors remember it costs you a $1,000 or more if you dont."

    Yes, I have thanks, however the culprit in this case is Granite curbing of at least 10" high, so
    it doesn't show up in the mirrors or cameras or back window - CRUNCH :).

    This was a new store (an Ocean State Job Lots that moved in
    to a former Toy's R Us) with new ridiculous curbs.
     
  16. AzusaPrius

    AzusaPrius Active Member

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    May I say those little round mirrors you can stick on your existing mirrors and you can find them at the .99 cent store.
     
  17. Glenn G

    Glenn G Member

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    Yes, that may be a good idea. Maybe one on the passenger mirror, I don't like to obstruct my view of the passing lane.
    I still remember when cars only had a side view mirror on the driver's side, the passenger side was an option.
    My Company car (I think it was a '87 or 88 Grand Am) was a nice car, but came without a passenger side mirror.
     
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  18. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    I remember those days! When you got a car with one, you had to go to K-Mart or Pep Boys and get that custom GT set for $19.99
     
  19. Sid786

    Sid786 Active Member

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    I am going through a similar situation, relating to minor damage but not at fault. But getting the payments from the other party is a pain. Can anyone share an experience of using those Ambulance chaser's lawyers. I am planning to hire one in NJ. So if you have any experience with one, then can you please provide reference.
     
  20. Glenn G

    Glenn G Member

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    Sic786 - If your accident involves only damage to your vehicle, and you were not injured, you should be able to have the at fault driver's insurance cover your repairs and a rental car. Sometimes, the liability for an accident is not clear cut though, especially if the other driver contests it. I don't know about NJ, but in MA you can collect through your own insurer and they will pursue the claim against the other drivers carrier ("subrogation").

    I'm sure there is something similar where you are, BTW you should discuss your situation with your agent, if you don't have an agent and are with a direct writer, then call one of their CSR's for advice. As a last resort there is always the NJ Insurance Comissioner.
     
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