One of the most common damage claims that could be made following any car accident is bumper damage. The simplest fender bender can easily result in a dented bumper with a small amount of damage. Are these damage claims handled the same way as serious car accidents?
How does bumper damage affect your claim? We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, about what you should do. Here is what she had to say:
Should You Call the Police?
Many people are hesitant to contact the police because they consider the damage not significant enough to require reporting. It depends on the circumstances of the accident as to whether the police need to be called. Some states require reporting for any accident that involves an injury.
Others require drivers to report accidents if the damages are over a specific threshold, such as $1,000. It can be hard to determine whether you are over that amount, however, unless you are educated in how much damages tend to cost.
If you believe the damage amount is close, it is safer to contact the police and make the report.
If the other driver is not being cooperative in exchanging information, including contact information and insurance, it is advisable to contact the police. Many times, they can make this process easier by having law enforcement present.
If you believe that the other person will dispute damages, contacting the police is a good idea.
Should You Contact Your Insurance Company?
It is also advisable that you contact your insurance company if you believe a claim will need to be made. Many people try to avoid alerting the insurance company when a minor fender bender takes place because they assume that their insurance rates will increase or the driver wishes to work out an agreement with the other side outside of insurance involvement.
Keep in mind, however, that essentially ever car insurance policy has a clause that requires policyholders to report any accident in which they are involved. If it is later discovered you did not report the accident, albeit minor, you could be penalized later.
Is It Worth Filing a Claim?
The biggest consideration in deciding whether to file a claim for bumper damage is: is it worth it? Review your insurance policy closely. What is your deductible? Most policies set anywhere from a $500 to $1,000 deductible.
You may end up paying the deductible before you even reach the point where insurance would kick in. Many factors can play into how much the damage is. Depending on how new your car is and how hard the impact was, it can be costly, however, when repairing or replacing the bumper.
The cost of the bumper depends on the type of car and model year you own. Also, the cost of the car’s original paint job as well as the material of the bumper is a consideration. Further, was the bumper an aftermarket part or part of the original manufacture of the car?
If your car is older, the cost of replacing the bumper could be as simple as going to a salvage yard and finding a replacement part. Costs normally range between $400 to $1,000 for replacement of a bumper, which does fall right in the deductible range.
If headlights were damaged, as well as the frame of the car, that will add to the cost. Many of the newer models require full replacement of additional parts that are part of the bumper component which cost much more than the $1,000 limit. In those situations, it is wiser to file an insurance claim and cover the additional damages.
Your insurance policy may cover a replacement bumper, but if a paint job is involved on top of this repairs, you may need additional coverage under your comprehensive policy. It is important you review your policy to see what is covered and what is not before filing a claim.
Contact an Attorney Today
If your bumper has been damaged and you have questions about whether you have coverage for damages received, it is recommended you contact an attorney to ask any questions you may have.
A licensed personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine if you have a claim against the other party’s insurance company. To receive the compensation for your medical bills, property damages, and pain and suffering, you should speak with a personal injury attorney in your area today.