That incident in the parking lot may end up costing you more than a new taillight. When you file too many claims with your insurer, you can end up hiking up your insurance rates and costing yourself thousands of dollars over the next few years.
That said, paying for car accident repairs, even small ones, can bite into your budget. Here are a few tips you can use to help you save money on your auto body repair.
Don’t make any major financial decisions immediately
It’s important to give yourself time to cool off after a car accident, especially if it was a serious one. Make sure you’re safe, your family’s safe, and anyone else involved in the accident is okay. Contact the police and make sure the accident is reported the right way and then seek medical attention. Even if you don’t show any visible signs of injury, adrenaline can keep you from feeling any internal injuries that may have been caused.
File a personal injury claim if the accident wasn’t your fault
It’s not a good idea to file a personal injury claim if you know you were breaking the rules of the road in some way. About 96% of personal injury cases are settled pretrial, and a plaintiff who is determined to be more than 50% at fault for a collision isn’t entitled to recover any of their damages. However, if you know the car accident was entirely the fault of the other driver whether because of their negligence or malicious intent, you could have your car’s damages covered by the other driver’s insurance company.
Get multiple quotes
Not every car owner has a favorite auto body repair shop on speed-dial. About $60 billion worth of vehicle maintenance goes unperformed every year. Even if you did have a go-to mechanic, though, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best deal before settling on a repair shop.
Many auto body repair shops offer competitor price matching. Some even charge less than their competitors to attract new customers. Don’t be afraid to shop around and get different quotes for your repairs. However, don’t automatically go with the cheapest quote, either. Make sure to do your research and check out customer reviews. Sometimes auto repair shops have lower prices because they don’t offer the best work.
Don’t assume your car is fine
Just like your body, sometimes it takes a while for auto body damage to become obvious after a car accident. After all, there’s a reason why those who are shopping for used vehicles tend to avoid the cars that have been involved in a prior accident. Hidden damage is especially common in rear-end accidents. While you might not notice a dent, there could be an issue with the framework of your car. Ignoring potential problems is a recipe for disaster, and it’s best to take care of those problems now rather than later when they can become more expensive.
The aftermath of a car accident can be stressful, especially when it comes to your finances. But that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank on your car repairs. Making the right choices after an accident can help you keep your money in your wallet instead of on the road.