When the careless driving of others damages your car it can be incredibly frustrating. Sure, every once in awhile whoever dented your car will actually leave a note on your windshield. But for the most part people who cause relatively minor damage to your car don’t stay around to take responsibility. Especially if you are someone who takes pains to maintain your car’s value and works hard to keep your car looking great, this can be incredibly frustrating.
So what should you do when this happens to you? While it may seem like there’s nothing you can do about it, there are actually some steps you can take to improve your situation when you find your car dented in the parking lot:
- Keep records. Whether or not the other driver takes off, you need to keep good records of what happened. Record all of the details about what happened to the car: the date, time, place, and specifics about the damage. Take plenty of pictures of the damage with your phone. Keep track of all of your expenses as you go through the process. If you do get some of the damage covered you may be able to get your expenses covered too.
- Call the police. It may not seem like an emergency, but you need to file a police report even if you don’t have very much information. Even if you’re not sure whether or not you will file an insurance claim, it’s crucial that you file a police report in a timely fashion in case you want to file a claim at some point. You will need a report while making an insurance claim.
- File a claim—maybe. If you have information about the person who damaged your car, this is an easy call; you simply file the claim with their insurance carrier. However, if you don’t have any information about the other driver, you’ll have to decide whether or not to file a claim with your insurance company. You can only do this if you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. This coverage will pay for repair to dents and dings, but only above the deductible that applies to your policy. Even if you do have this kind of coverage, it’s only worthwhile to file a claim if it won’t make your rates skyrocket, so research your coverage first. And remember, if you do file a claim, it will be on your driving record.
- Make sure your coverage is adequate. Do you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage? What is your deductible? Dents and dings can cost $100 or more to repair; if your deductible is $500 or more, your coverage is probably not very useful in this area. Does your policy include an accident forgiveness clause? If it doesn’t, making a claim for dings and dents will probably increase your premium.
Remember, taking your car to a Paintless Dent Repair specialist to be fixed without involving insurance companies is always an option. You can try to fix these kinds of problems yourself, but this isn’t easy, and you can actually make this kind of damage worse if you don’t know what you’re doing. It is definitely best to leave it to the pros. The cost for a professional Paintless Dent Repair will, more than likely, be less than your insurance deductible – meaning your insurance premium will not be impacted.
Knowing the facts makes it easier to deal with the inconvenience and expense of damage to your car. Keep this simple checklist in mind and deal with dings on your car the smart way.