Hard, metal fenders are located on each end of your vehicle to minimize impact when your vehicle collides with another car or a stationary object. The term ‘fender-bender’ is a loose term referring to a minor accident that impacts the metal paneling on either the front or rear end of your car.
If the impact is minimal, the damage to your vehicle should not keep it from being operational in most situations. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should let the denting sit.
If your vehicle recently suffered some minor front- or rear-end damage, an auto body repair shop can easily pull out the dent(s) and repair the fender. In most cases, the job requires very little time, so you won’t be without your vehicle for too long.
But is fender bender repair really necessary? Is it worth the time and expense? Here’s what you should consider if you’re trying to decide whether to schedule fender bender repairs.
What Should You Do Immediately After a Fender Bender?
Before we get into considerations, we’d be remiss not to discuss the fact that fender benders should be taken just as seriously as significant collisions. What appears to be minor front- or rear-end damage could actually be more than meets the eye. More importantly, even minor collisions can cause injuries like whiplash that may not produce immediate pain or other symptoms.
After a fender bender, you’ll want to follow the same steps as you would in any other auto accident situation. Here’s what you should do:
● Make sure everyone involved is ok. Call 911 immediately if anyone may have suffered injuries.
● If you don’t need to call 911, you can dial the non-emergency police line to request that an officer come to the scene, so you can file an accident report.
● Exchange all relevant information with the other driver, especially insurance information.
● Take photos or videos of the damage and notate any important information. You’ll need this if you plan to file an insurance claim for auto body repairs.
● If your vehicle needs to be towed, call a 24/7 towing service to request immediate assistance. You can have your vehicle towed to your home or directly to an auto body shop, whichever you prefer.
Once you’ve handled things at the scene of the accident, you can start thinking about whether and where you’ll get fender bender repairs. Let’s take a look at a few questions you should ask yourself below.
What Does Your Auto Insurance Require?
Although many motorists immediately call their insurance companies to file a claim, you may not have to get your insurance involved if you don’t want to. Here’s what you should consider before making the call:
● Does your insurance company require you to make claims on collisions? Read through your policy to find out.
● What are the requirements in the state of Minnesota for making insurance claims?
If the damage is significant or anyone sustained injuries during the accident, you should 100% file a claim. Insurance doesn’t just cover auto body repairs; it also covers any medical care that may be necessary for the injured person(s).
What Does Your Insurance Policy Cover?
If your vehicle only has minor damage, the type of insurance coverage you have will be a major determiner of whether or not you should file a claim. Here’s what you should consider:
● Who caused the accident? If you were at fault, do you have collision coverage? If you only have liability, your insurance won’t pay for repairs to your vehicle.
● What is your deductible? Is the damage so minor that repairing it will likely cost less than your deductible?
● Can you pay for the auto body repair yourself? If so, paying out of pocket may be your best bet since filing a claim may cause your insurance rates to increase.
● Is a minor rate increase going to be more expensive for you in the long run than paying for the repairs out of pocket?
If your policy has a moderate to high deductible and you’re looking at relatively inexpensive repairs, you may not even be able to use your insurance to pay for the work. Ultimately, you should only file a claim if it makes financial sense for you to do so.
Do You Want to Risk Further Deterioration?
Although the damage to your vehicle’s body paneling may not be extensive, even minor dents, scratches, and dings can set your vehicle up for problems down the road. Compromised paint and/or paneling can quickly develop rust, especially during winter when roads are constantly wet and covered in caustic road salt.
If you let the damage sit, your vehicle could end up needing much more expensive bodywork down the road. So think carefully about what you’re willing to risk and then decide accordingly.
Here’s what you can do to protect your vehicle’s paint throughout the winter season.
What Fender Repair Technique Can Fix the Damage?
When you bring your vehicle to an auto body repair shop, the technicians will conduct a thorough inspection to assess the damage. If there’s denting but the paint is still fully intact, paintless dent repair may be able to fix the problem.
Paintless Dent Repair (PDR)
This repair technique is highly effective, requires very little time, and doesn’t involve any paint color matching. For those reasons, PDR tends to be quite affordable even without insurance. If you have collision coverage and the deductible is fairly high, the cost of the repair may not even exceed it.
Never heard of this technique? Check out the advantages of paintless dent repair to learn more about it!
Body Filler and Paint Repair
If the fender has more severe damage, it may need more extensive work that involves welding, sanding, grinding, filler, and/or a paint touch-up, which will drive up your repair costs. If the damage is really bad, your car will likely need a complete fender replacement, which can be quite costly.
In either of these situations, it’s likely in your best interest to have your insurance help pay for the repairs.
Need Fender Repairs Near Plymouth, MN?
The next time you are in a collision, contact our team at Minnetonka Collision to get an auto body repair estimate for your vehicle. Our ASE-certified technicians can completely restore your car and have it looking like new once again. We work on all makes and models of vehicles and serve drivers in Plymouth, MN, and the surrounding areas.
To request a tow, get an estimate, or schedule auto body repair service, call us at 763-230-7805 or contact us online, and we’ll get in touch promptly.