Author Topic: Minor car collision: use insurance or make a deal with person at fault?  (Read 1067 times)

pdxvandal

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Hello fellow Mustachians.

Yesterday, a 16-year-old boy backed into my Prius with his Jeep Laredo. He's had his license for all of 3 weeks.

Anyway, I've attached the damage done, which is a tennis-ball sized hole and part of the bumper detached. It's not major by any means, and his deductible (his parents') is $500. My rough estimate of repairing this, which likely consists of replacing the bumper, is $1,000. I plan to take it in this week for an estimate.

Since this car is 10 years old and has 285k miles, I'm not really concerned with its appearance, although if I tried to resell (there is demand for a Prius in Oregon still), it would be more difficult. Part of me is leaning toward having them give me $600-$700 and call it good, as if they go through insurance, I can't imagine how much more expensive the kid's premium will go up. I'd say considerably.

What do y'all think?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 02:01:10 PM by pdxvandal »

sol

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Re: Minor car collision: use insurance or make a deal with person at fault?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2018, 02:06:13 PM »
If you're confident that there is no other damage, I would consider giving the other family the option of going through insurance, or settling for a cash amount to be negotiated.  They might be horrified at the idea of not filing an insurance claim.  They might be horrified at the idea of having to pay huge new premiums after their kid wrecked.  But I wouldn't presume to give them any kind of ultimatum.

esq

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Re: Minor car collision: use insurance or make a deal with person at fault?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2018, 02:09:41 PM »
Do you have proof he did it? I had someone back into me and beg me not to call anyone. I felt sorry for her so I didn't. Then she turned around and claimed she never hit me, and her insurance company believed her. I couldn't prove a thing. One of the reasons I have a dashcam now.

Sorry, not a big truster of people in these types of situations.

pdxvandal

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Re: Minor car collision: use insurance or make a deal with person at fault?
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2018, 02:20:50 PM »
I'm not giving them any ultimatum -- it will ultimately be their choice. I already spoke with the kid's mom and they are willing to just give me cash IF it's under $500 worth of repairs. I just don't think it will be near that, but I'll find out soon enough. I'm not sure if I would just accept $500 and move on, especially with their premiums due to rise and the possibility I may sell the car in 1-2 years ... but maybe.

I have a witness in case I need one, so there's very little chance they won't be at fault, in addition to my near-zero claims history in 20+ years and this kid's had his license for a few weeks.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Minor car collision: use insurance or make a deal with person at fault?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2018, 03:31:17 PM »
Maybe I'm underestimating the market for a Prius with nearly 300,000 miles, but this looks so minor, I'd probably give the poor kid a stern talk and let him off the hook.

But yeah, ask them how they want to handle it.

Syonyk

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Re: Minor car collision: use insurance or make a deal with person at fault?
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2018, 05:57:00 PM »
Anyway, I've attached the damage done, which is a tennis-ball sized hole and part of the bumper detached. It's not major by any means, and his deductible (his parents') is $500. My rough estimate of repairing this, which likely consists of replacing the bumper, is $1,000. I plan to take it in this week for an estimate.

Look for hidden subframe damage when they're doing the estimate.  A depressing number of "minor fender benders" like that end up bending the unibody, and impacting the car's safety/alignment.

If it's just the bumper, on a 300k mile car, I'd take the cash and get some white duct tape, personally.

But their insurance payments aren't your problem, and if it's an expensive repair, get it fixed properly.

GuitarStv

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Re: Minor car collision: use insurance or make a deal with person at fault?
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2018, 06:08:05 PM »
I'd report it to the collision center and go through insurance personally.  That's why everyone who drives has insurance, and it's the way least likely to end up screwing you over in the long run.

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Minor car collision: use insurance or make a deal with person at fault?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2018, 06:18:44 PM »
If it's just the bumper, on a 300k mile car, I'd take the cash and get some white duct tape, personally.

But their insurance payments aren't your problem, and if it's an expensive repair, get it fixed properly.

This is what I'd do.  Was it reported to the police?  If so, his insurance will likely go up anyway.

pdxvandal

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Re: Minor car collision: use insurance or make a deal with person at fault?
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2018, 07:24:55 PM »
Didn't report it to police, and typically wouldn't unless it was major damage. Certainly leaning toward the duct tape, but still want to get it checked out re: subframe damage (unlikely, but not going to risk it). I do feel for the kid, but I also would prefer not to deal with this or have my car value take an unnecessary 10% hit.

ltt

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Re: Minor car collision: use insurance or make a deal with person at fault?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2018, 09:51:23 PM »
A few years ago, we had some damage similar to that--where the bumper separated.  Hubby just duct taped it.  It lasted for quite a while, until we eventually needed to have it repaired because the bumper was separating more.  Also, you could probably duct tape that hole from the back side.  I don't think it was terribly expensive.