Author Topic: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?  (Read 1181 times)

KBecks

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Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« on: August 02, 2019, 05:15:44 PM »
My car suffered storm damage and we have an insurance claim.  An initial repair of the windshield was made so the car would be driveable and then I took the car to a body shop for an estimate.  The next day I received a check from the insurance company made out to us for the insurance adjuster's estimate of what the body repairs would cost.  It was more generous than the body shop's bid.

My spouse says -- why not live with the body damage and keep the check?  I am not fond of the dents.  I might see if I can get other bids through a paintless dent removal place and save some money.  Note that the car is paid for and I don't have to worry about a lender.

Would you drive a car with body damage to keep the insurance money?  It's not a ton of money $2.6k

Have you have any experience with paintless dent removals?
« Last Edit: August 02, 2019, 05:22:50 PM by KBecks »

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2019, 06:15:59 PM »
Depends on the car.

New $40k car.......I would fix, maybe.....depending on how bad it looked.

Ten year old $14k car....I would drive the wheels off and pocket the money.

Fifteen year old $4k car..........you would be crazy to fix.

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2019, 06:52:22 PM »
I had my 2 year old Honda Civic hailed out and kept the almost $4K check. It was a good thing since a couple years after that I backed into a cement wall, then I hit a skunk going 80mph that ripped out some bits around the wheel well, then a year after that I hit an elk. My car is very much a conversation-starter now! (though usually the conversation is: "dude, what's wrong with you?")

KBecks

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2019, 07:46:38 PM »
Car is 5 years old and worth about $18-$20k.  We plan to keep it for years.  I'm going to check the paintless dent places and see if they can work on it to make it better, but not necessarily perfect.

RWD

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2019, 06:43:29 AM »
It's certainly not going to be worth it to fix financially, especially since you plan to keep it for a long time. Just a matter of how much the cosmetics are worth to you. I am assuming there isn't a risk of rust with this damage.

Chickadee

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2019, 10:33:22 AM »
Depends on the car.

New $40k car.......I would fix, maybe.....depending on how bad it looked.

Ten year old $14k car....I would drive the wheels off and pocket the money.

Fifteen year old $4k car..........you would be crazy to fix.

Very fair advice here.

I would use this. We fixed because car was worth 30-35k when accident happened, it was our "good car" and we felt sad/bad when we saw it. The last one is up to you. We did not feel good seeing it and decided that well... it will make us happy and makes our car new again. We also dug out of debt by that point and had no impending high costs coming up so we weighed that.

JLee

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2019, 10:35:23 AM »
Depends on the amount of damage, type of damage, and the car.  If you live in the rust belt, unrepaired body damage is inviting rust.

Fishindude

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2019, 10:50:18 AM »
I would get it fixed and keep it in good shape.   If you start neglecting your car like suggested, it soon becomes easy to neglect other things like oil changes, brakes, washing and cleaning it, etc., and next thing you know you are driving an ugly pile of junk with very little value come trade in time.

Jon Bon

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2019, 11:57:58 AM »
So hail damage then? Not like a tree branch or anything?

I did some DIY repair on my bumper and pocketed about $1500 so that was worth ti for me. 1 year later someone crashed into me so I got a new bumper anyways!

Hail is always a difficult call. It does not usually get through the paint, But does cover a large area. A single dent I might get a suction cup on, pull out and try and repaint. But hail usually just requires a new panel or more work then can be done by an amateur. On a work truck Id probably take the money. On a DD I would probably fix.

I think I would have it fixed if it was over a wide area (roof/bonnet/boot)

Let us know what you decide.


KBecks

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2019, 05:12:14 AM »
Tree branch on the hood. with several very noticeable dents. I'm going to get an estimate(s) for paintless dent removal and don't expect it to be perfect, but an improvement, and hopefully spend a portion of the funds and save the rest.

Dee18

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2019, 05:54:25 AM »
I would get it fixed since you are planning to keep the car for years.

Before you take it to the shop though, if the hail dents are small, you could try using the heat from a hairdryer to repair them.  When my car suffered hail damage years ago, I took it to be repaired.  When I went to pick it up, I saw a worker using a hairdryer on another car.  He said it was a common technique for getting hail dimples to pop back out.

sytar7

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2019, 08:42:30 AM »
Tree branch on the hood. with several very noticeable dents. I'm going to get an estimate(s) for paintless dent removal and don't expect it to be perfect, but an improvement, and hopefully spend a portion of the funds and save the rest.

Put an alert at local junkyards for the make/model and color. The yards around me have online forms and send alert emails. Cheap way to just replace the hood.

It also helped me to realize I can't see the damage from inside the vehicle (hopefully the same is true for you)

Good luck

ChpBstrd

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2019, 02:27:53 PM »
I would get it fixed since you are planning to keep the car for years.

Before you take it to the shop though, if the hail dents are small, you could try using the heat from a hairdryer to repair them.  When my car suffered hail damage years ago, I took it to be repaired.  When I went to pick it up, I saw a worker using a hairdryer on another car.  He said it was a common technique for getting hail dimples to pop back out.

Iíve also heard of using dry ice to pop dents out. A cheap experiment anyway.

My advice: Take the money. Youíll get used to the dents but the money, if invested, will last a lifetime.

chemistk

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2019, 05:52:51 AM »
Tree branch on the hood. with several very noticeable dents. I'm going to get an estimate(s) for paintless dent removal and don't expect it to be perfect, but an improvement, and hopefully spend a portion of the funds and save the rest.

Put an alert at local junkyards for the make/model and color. The yards around me have online forms and send alert emails. Cheap way to just replace the hood.

It also helped me to realize I can't see the damage from inside the vehicle (hopefully the same is true for you)

Good luck

Second this. It would be much cheaper to have a junkyard hood installed than to have the dents fixed, even if the paint had to be matched to your car. What kind of car do you have? Many modern cars now have aluminum hoods which can't be easily fixed and are often better candidates for replacement.

Jon Bon

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2019, 05:58:51 AM »
Try a dent popper kit on amazon. Its basically glue on suction cups that you pull out the dents with. Costs <$30 bucks. Not gonna fix everything, but might make it 80% better. I had good success with it.

If that is not good enough, Have it fixed. Its a dent you are going to see when you are DRIVING the car are you not? That would annoy me to death it was obvious. I would fix. For me a bit hood dent changes a car from "Respectable DD" to "Winter Beater" over night.

Junkyard hood might also be worth a shot.

Chickadee

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2019, 06:27:01 AM »
Try a dent popper kit on amazon. Its basically glue on suction cups that you pull out the dents with. Costs <$30 bucks. Not gonna fix everything, but might make it 80% better. I had good success with it.

If that is not good enough, Have it fixed. Its a dent you are going to see when you are DRIVING the car are you not? That would annoy me to death it was obvious. I would fix. For me a bit hood dent changes a car from "Respectable DD" to "Winter Beater" over night.

Junkyard hood might also be worth a shot.

Great advice also here. Depends on if it bothers you.

Now my car has a big ole dent but its older and I can not see it when I drive.... and my car has a "good side" like a bit of fashion model!
Our other car was a eyesore dent..lovely perfect car except that BIG dent after we babied it so long ....so we fixed that one.
We say my car is the hauler grocery getter daily driver and fun one.....and when we have company or my husband has to drive my parents take the husband's "beauty" haha!


MilesTeg

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2019, 10:45:13 AM »
My car suffered storm damage and we have an insurance claim.  An initial repair of the windshield was made so the car would be driveable and then I took the car to a body shop for an estimate.  The next day I received a check from the insurance company made out to us for the insurance adjuster's estimate of what the body repairs would cost.  It was more generous than the body shop's bid.

My spouse says -- why not live with the body damage and keep the check?  I am not fond of the dents.  I might see if I can get other bids through a paintless dent removal place and save some money.  Note that the car is paid for and I don't have to worry about a lender.

Would you drive a car with body damage to keep the insurance money?  It's not a ton of money $2.6k

Have you have any experience with paintless dent removals?

I've never filed a claim for a car so excuse my ignorance, but how did you did cut a check given directly to you? Did the insurance company waive your deductible, or did they cut you a check for the adjustment minus your deductible?

More on topic, if it's a newer vehicle (<5 years old) I would definitely get it fixed based on my past experience. I was in a similar situation, I had a ~5 year old car that someone backed into and put a huge dent in the fender. It was a hit and run while I was parked in a shopping center and the police never found the person.

Despite being a "car guy" that maintains my vehicles to OCD levels, I decided to save the money after getting a couple estimates for repair. (around $1500). 10 years later I go to sell the car and get quotes/blue book/other info that show pretty clearly that with that older car the huge dent lowered the value of the vehicle by the majority of the amount of that repair (despite the fact that the vehicle is relatively low mileage and in great mechanical shape -- people care more about appearance than that). So I drove a car and hated that dent for 10 years and it really didn't save me a significant amount of money. If I had gone about the repair in a more frugal way (e.g. a junk yard part as mentioned here) it could have saved me money in the long run.

Obviously I will get plenty of flack for that opinion on this forum, but if you do care about the damage and it's not causing you significant financial challenges I would fix it.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 11:00:22 AM by MilesTeg »

KBecks

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Re: Fix car body work or pocket insurance check?
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2019, 11:18:43 AM »
Good suggestions, everyone.

I went to another body shop and asked for paintless dent removal.  I was told that it's not possible on the hood, the dents are too big, and because the hood has support structures underneath, the access isn't wha'ts needed.  The other car repair person pointed out more hail damage on the roof.  I don't look at my minivan roof often.

Their price for just fixing the hood was $1,300.  They said that a new hood is less expensive than a junkyard hood.  It's a two day turnaournd compared to a week for the full service repair.

I am still pondering what to do.

We paid a $500 deductible when the smashed windshield was replaced to make the vehicle driveable. It was in another part of the state when a wind storm downed trees and damaged the vehicle.