Please do not listen to anyone who says that its okay to handle a claim by yourself. A little fender bender can become a huge headache very quick, and if you are not ready for the possibility of a surprise issue to come up – then the answer to the question is yes you should make the claim regardless of how small it is. I am sure you have heard the story of the small scratch costing 5 thousand dollars. No? Let me tell you, the fender bender issue most commonly happens in parking areas, so lets use that setting for the story.
Currently, a gentleman had a truck and was backing out slowly and consistently until all of a sudden he hears the dreaded horn of some ones car and with a look in the dead spot he sees in a flash the car brake and what he perceived as the slightest tap – the truck doesn’t even shake- but he knows they touched. A sigh befalls his face before opening the door, the other car a new BMW is on the receiving end of his bumper, and before he even talks to the little teenager girl he looks at the bumper to bumper collision. Relief, its a scratch he thinks. Looking at the girl she is slightly shocked from the moment, both ask “are you okay” simultaneously and with that the ice is broken leading to the fact that they both realize and both agree that nothing much should be done on the issue.
He gave her the phone # to his cell and told her to call to see if he could pay for the buffing out of the scratch and she agreed.
Four days later he gets a call from a gentleman (the father) telling him that the bill is 4,899 to take care of the scratch on the bumper. Now I know that you think that something scrupulous is occurring here, but hear me out. The technology that is in the high priced cars these days are not limited to motors and interior comforts. We all know of the small feature on bumpers for these cars; if you get too close to a wall or a pylon, an alarm will sound off tell you. In the accident, what the man didn’t see was that the girl did hit his truck a little harder that he would notice and the bumper of her vehicle did exactly what it had to do to protect the car in a such a speed, it folded into self and absorbed the impact as it was designed to do. The trucks trailer hitch hit the sensor that is imbedded into the bumper of the car which was damaged, as the BMW pushed its 2500 pounds of weight onto the back of his 4000 pound truck the bumpers foam material began to crush under pressure cracking the outer bumper slowing the vehicle down to a stop assisted by the scared girls rapid braking.
When she pulled back, the bumpers outer shell popped back into place like plastic should, and let me tell you that paint on cars these days are designed to stretch to allow for expansion due to heat, in this accident, this means you could not see damage because the outer shell and the stretchy paint hid what really happened. The father diligently took the car to the dealer, and with inspection the damage was obvious, the sensor needed to be replace, the interior bumper foam needed to be replaced, the outer shell was cracked and had to be replaced, this entailed a new paint job for the bumper, and if you have seen these new cars, the bumper is not just a bumper, its the whole front end of the car, add the cost of the work involved to make the repair like new? – and now you can see how a small dent can be worth 5,000 dollars.
You have to understand that the claim being made for your car or in the case of any accident is providing a service that basically takes away the headache of dealing with the other party. This story could have been much worse, and you can think that someone would try to say that they had a headache after the bump, sounds fishy but how are you going to say that it wasn’t caused by the accident?
The increase that happens to your insurance has no relationship to the amount that is paid out in the accident, it goes up because the law of large numbers states that the possibility of an accident occurring again within a certain time frame is likely to happen. Good insurers realize that if an accident dose not occur, then you will see a gradual reduction of the premium before the three years are over. An accident can only be charged in an at-fault collision, or a property damage claim, in this story, the adjuster decides based on the insurance companies contract with you and also state requirements. Could the man been charged, well truly its up to the adjuster to decide, but the girl was the one being less responsible.
Please be aware that the contract that exists between you and the insurer is there for more than “money disappearing into thin air,” as people characterize the insurance industry as a whole. If you think about it, it’s there to make sure you don’t loose your hard earned money in a claim for an accident, even if the accident is a fender bender!