car accident help

cainlawrenceJanuary 29, 2007

Just my luck, I hit a parked van in the parking lot tonight. I seriously don't want to go as far as to take this to the insurance... because I already have an impending case on a car accident that occurred months ago (that one accident wasn't my fault). Anyway, I called up the owner of the van and they wanted to file a police report. They accepted that I would pay for the damages without insurance, but they said the police report was for backup since many people refuse to pay if the damage costs are too high (which is understandable). I checked out the damages on both my car and their van. For the oddest reason, there is absolutely no visible damage on my car. However, their van's left headlight is a little pushed in, there are a few small scratches, and the internal plastic plate underneath (beside/on top of the left tire) was broken off. I think it's because I had hit their van from an angle, that their van had had some of those damages. They say that their van had moved a little from the way they had parked it because it was sorta off angle, and they hypothesized that there might be some internal damages.

I'm wondering what I should do? I took photos of the scene, including the damages. I do plan on paying for it. I myself need to file a report tomorrow, but I'm more worried about the costs that I might have to end up paying for this. It's not that I won't or don't want to pay because by all means, this is my fault. But I'm scared of getting ripped off by these car body shops who'd take down and repair a car in a way that's more costly than it should end up being. I'm planning on going to whatever garage the other owners are taking their van too, and see how it is. Any advice anyone can offer me?

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Sorry about your luck, things like this happen. You should feel good about yourself for stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing. wrote. "But I'm scared of getting ripped off by these car body shops who'd take down and repair a car in a way that's more costly than it should end up being."

What more needs to be said? Fixing the car right, which means doing what is necessary to restore it to pre-accident condition means the shop does NOT cut corners to save on cost. If there is one thing that needs to be addressed here it is the near impossible demands of making the car right, and trying to do it "cheaper". The other party deserves to have the car repaired correctly. You, doing the right thing have taken the proper steps to see that this is getting done, and you should be commended for that. But then right away starting to fear a rip-off, when you have never seen the shop, or met the people that work there is an attitude that needs some correction. The other party wanted to file a police report, but have taken your word that would not be necessary. Treat the shop they choose with just as much respect.

Now as far as the cost. Accidents happen, we all (well all of us that know we need to do the right thing) pay for and have insurance to help us out during these (hopefully) rare events. Get the estimate, and then decide if it's to your advantage to turn it into your insurance. If it is, then do so. If not, then rely on the shop to fix the car correctly, and then pay them for doing so. Then move on. Besides, you never know you just may have found a good body shop that you werent aware of previously. You never know when that information could come in handy for you, or a friend or relative. The bottom line, if my car gets damaged, and I am going to have it repaired by a pro, I know several that I would take it to in a heartbeat. They have the correct tools, the high tech paint booth, and the color paint blending equipment etc. right on site. These guys, everyone of them are easily NOT the cheapest I could go to, but then again doing the job right is what counts. They will do that without question.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2007 at 8:45AM
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Thank you for the answer.

"The other party wanted to file a police report, but have taken your word that would not be necessary."
You might have been mistaken, but no word of mine was take that it would not be necessary. They've already filed the report and I have to go now too as well. I really don't mind that at all--there are many people who would not pay if they found out that the price is too high and if there's no report, it's unfortunate for the victims.

I should have probably been more detailed in my post, but it's not the rip-off per se. Private body shops are, by my experience, less... trustworthy than the... specialized auto company's body shops. They charge a lot, but do very little for the car itself. The couple of the van that I hit were new drivers, and they made it pretty clear that they were taking it to the closest body shop to our building... which, by my knowledge of people who've gotten their cars fixed there, are not the best. But the couple not taking my word for it. I'll go to whatever body shop they want to go to, but I suppose I just want the money that I spend for them to ensure the best for their car. But in the end, it's their choice. :)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2007 at 9:59AM
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Ditto John_g's post. "Get the estimate, and then decide if it's to your advantage to turn it into your insurance. If it is, then do so. If not, then rely on the shop to fix the car correctly, and then pay them for doing so."

That sums it up perfectly. I've never understood the idea of not turning things like this in to the insurance company. That's what they're being paid for. A scratch alone is enough to put you over the deductable these days.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2007 at 10:50PM
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The reason many peopel pay out of pocket is that sometimes one's insurance premium can sky rocket and it makes more sense to pay out of pocket, cheaper in the long run!! Yrs back in Victoria Canada I got into an accident, was my fault!! The neat thing there was the insurance comapnay (owned by the province) gave you two options. They received an estimate from the person I hit to fix the car. They sent me a letter indicating 1) I could pay to fix his car out of my pocket,think it was $650, thus I would not be credited for an accident and no raise in premiums, or 2) pay via my dedectuble (which was $500) and of course be credited with an accident, and my premium would raise!! made more sense to pay out of pocket!! Was a nice option to have, and a bit of a safety net, as I belive the guy in the accident had to show 2 estimates!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 5:53AM
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I hear that from time to time. Makes me think that either the person has had an awful lot of claims or they have a funky insurance company.

From my own experience, I had 3 accidents, two of which my fault and a bunch of tickets as a teenager. My premium didn't change then due to that. Since then, we as a familly have made 3 claims over the last 25 years. No change in premium due to any of those either. On the other hand, another familly member had several accidents and totaled two cars, all single car accidents. They didn't raise his primium, they canceled his policy after paying for the last car he wrecked. Then he had to get insurance elsewhere for the next several years. Had to pay through the nose just for liablity.

My only complaint about the company I've been using is they've always wanted to repair the wrecked cars I've had when the damage was quite substantial. When my fairly new car was hit by an uninsured motorist, it was munched from the front to the doors on both sides, I would have rather had the money so I could have purchased another car that hadn't been wrecked. I've seen other guys that had their cars declared totaled over little more than a busted plastic grill.

Perhaps you should shop around and see if there are insurance companies you can use that won't jack your premium for making a claim...assuming you haven't been making a lot of them in the past.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 8:14AM
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If I cause an accident I would turn it in to my insurance.Thats what I pay insurance for.It goes up anyway.Every time I replace a car with a new one it goes up.

If someone hits me.No way would they get away with trying to pay out of pocket and there not being a police report made.Because they might pay but what about if something is over looked during the repair that shows up a few months later.Believe me it can happen.After your car has been wrecked it is not the same no matter how good the body shop is.Without a police report or an insurance company to go back on.How could you get the problems taken care of.The person who caused the accident if they paid out of pocket will not want to here they owe more money for a problem that came up later.

The only reason I can think of that someone would want to pay out of pocket.Is they have a bad driving record.Or some fly by night insurance company.Probably one where they do not know the agent and got it from a TV comercial.Like the one with the little green lizard or some company that advertises only during those day time talk shows like Jerry Springer.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 8:51AM
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