If you’ve been driving for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard the term fender bender thrown around. But what exactly is a fender bender? In essence, it’s exactly what it sounds like: minor damage to a vehicle’s fender. However, lots of folks use the term fender bender to refer to minor collisions of any type.

In most cases, this type of minor damage won’t affect a vehicle’s ability to operate. However, our Minnetonka Collision team would like you to know that any type of body damage should still be repaired as it can lead to corrosion, rust development, and general deterioration.

If you’re ever involved in a fender bender, here’s what you should know to handle the incident and subsequent auto body repairs.

Immediately After the Accident: Communication Is Key

Just because an auto accident is minor doesn’t mean it should be treated differently than any other type of collision. In fact, you and your passengers can sustain an injury even during a low-speed collision.

Immediately after a fender bender accident, you’ll need to act quickly.

Keep a level head and follow these steps:

● Make sure everyone in the vehicle is safe and uninjured. If anyone believes they’ve sustained an injury, call 911 or contact a medical professional immediately.

● Call the police to have an officer join you at the scene of the accident. You’ll need a police report if you plan to file an insurance claim.

● Call our team at Minnetonka Collision to have your vehicle towed off the road, if necessary. We offer 24/7 towing, so feel free to contact us at any time.

● Exchange your identifying information with the other driver. Be sure to exchange insurance details.

● Take photos of the damage for your insurance company.

Should You File an Insurance Claim for a Fender Bender?

Many motorists are under the impression they must file a claim with their insurance company, no matter the extent of the accident. However, if the damage is minor and you can pay for repairs yourself, that may be a better option.

Filing a claim—especially if the accident was your fault—can increase your insurance rates, so keep these considerations in mind before making the call:

● Have you received an estimate for the cost of repairs? Can you pay for it yourself?

● Will an increase in your insurance rate make it more difficult for you to pay your bill?

● Does your insurance claim meet Minnesota state requirements?

● Does your insurance company stipulate that you must file a claim for any type of collision?

If there’s considerable damage and your deductible is low enough to make filing a claim worth it, chances are it’s in your best interest to have your insurance cover the majority of the repairs.

In many cases, insurers don’t increase premiums significantly (or even marginally) when the damage does not exceed a certain dollar amount. If you’re worried about a considerable rate increase, you may want to inquire about the potential for a premium hike if you do file a claim.

If you plan to use your insurance, you’ll definitely want to check out your consumer rights when using insurance for auto body repairs.

Get Auto Body Repair Estimates

After you’ve documented the damage and decided whether to file a repair claim, it’s time to start getting estimates. Ideally, you’ll want to get a repair quote from at least three body shops to ensure the quotes are relatively in line with one another.

Your insurer may recommend preferred or approved shops (Minnetonka Collision is one of them!) that they’ve worked with extensively. Those businesses are always a safe bet.

Keep in mind, too, that it's always a good idea to ask lots of questions when you visit each shop for a quote. For suggestions on what to ask, check out Getting Auto Body Repair Estimates? Tips for Selecting the Right Shop.

Schedule Your Fender Repair

Once you’ve ironed out payment details, it’s time to schedule your auto body repair with our team at Minnetonka Collision. We’ll perform a full inspection of the visible damage as well as the surrounding areas to make sure no internal components were harmed.

If your vehicle only requires minor repairs, paintless dent repair (PDR) may be a possibility if the paint within the damaged area is still fully intact. This repair technique involves pulling the dent out gently, but it’s only feasible when there are no cracks, serious scratches, or major scuffs in your vehicle’s finish.

If you’re considering this option, check out What Are the Advantages of Paintless Dent Repair? for more information.

On the other hand, if your fender or bumper suffered denting along with paint damage, or if it’s partially detached from your vehicle, a complete fender or bumper replacement will likely be necessary.

Need a Reliable Auto Body Repair Shop in the Twin Cities?

At Minnetonka Collision, we’re true auto enthusiasts. We deeply appreciate a flawless, aesthetic vehicle, and we know you do, too. For decades, we’ve been helping vehicle owners throughout Plymouth and the surrounding Twin Cities metro restore their damaged vehicles, and we’d love to help you, too.

To learn more about our auto body repair services and how we can help you with your fender bender repair, give our team a call at 763-230-7805.

You can also get in touch with us on our contact page, and we’ll get back to you shortly! For your convenience, feel free to schedule your free repair estimate online.