Need advice on next step to repair damage I caused to guy's car?

#1

I opened my car door on a windy day and it slammed into the guy’s 02 Lexus car parked next to me. My front driver’s-side door edge nailed his right passenger door’s molding and left a scrape on only the molding, scaping off the paint down to the plastic (damage covering 1.5"), but leaving no dent nor displacing the molding.



We’re in the Chicago area.



So, he’s sent us his body shop esimates and a 3-day car rental charge he’d like us to pay. One estimate, from a “private” repairer, is under $500 (required “in cash”). The other three estimates — called “insurance estimate” on the printout — are in the $800 and $900 range, and list the passenger rear door as well, although the only damage is on the front door molding.



Being a gal who’s been lucky to avoid accidents, I’m not sure what’s the best way to proceed. Do we pay him a check to cover his lowest estimate and his request for a rental? Do we contact our own mechanic to see if these are reasonable charges? Do we call the body shops who provided the estimates to inquire about the mysterious rear-door repairs included, and ask for a non-“insurance” estimate? Do we contact our insurer and tell them to deal with it, and then (unluckily) deal with a higher premimum ourselves (which is inevitable, right?)?



Any advice? Of course, we want to minimize the cost to us the repairs to the guy’s car and any impact on our insurance, to take the smallest financial hit in these tough times.



(I searched this forum and couldn’t find answers beyond how expensive it is to repair scratches, dings, and dents in the metal body.)

#2

You pay for insurance. Use it. Let THEM take care of it. Call your agent and tell him what happened. By the sound of it, this is just a minor paint touch-up. Almost falls into the “act of god/normal wear and tear” category.

#3

Usually minor incidents (this one is) under $1000 or no collision have limited if any effect on your rates unless a regular thing. I would let insurance deal with it and forget about it. Your insurer are experts of getting that estimate to $500 + renting cars at very cut rates.

#4

Talk It Over With Your Insurance Agent

I have a human agent (as opposed to cyberspace alien agent) and I trust her with advice on issues like this. I had dealt with her for years when she just worked at the agency. Now she owns it.

Since the cars were not moving, this may not be a “collision,” and may not endanger your rates. Explain your situation to your agent. People without friendly, helpful agents should consider this when shopping for insurance.

Also, you don’t mention what “$$$ deductible” you are responsible for. This matter could influence your decision.

#5

Of course the “insurance estimate” is higher than the “cash estimate” because the body shop can get away with a higher mark up through insurance than they can with cash paying customers [i.e. “We have to replace the rear door to get it to match the front door” - more parts and labor, but more profit margin also].

I echo the other comments to let your insurance company handle it. Give them the whole story, including the “cash” estimate. They might write a check directly to the other driver for that amount.

I wouldn’t call it a scam, but you could pay the other driver in cash yourself and he may choose not to have the repairs done, if it is really insignificant.

If you are dealing with a mainstream insurance company and have a clean record, chances are you won’t see a rate increase - at least not because of this incident.

#6

If you don’t have your insurance company handle the details, and pay cash, then make srue you get the car owner to sign a liability release and a mechanics lien release, to insure that the funds you provided to the car owner are used as intended, and you don’t get double-billed by the body shop if the car owner doesn’t pay the body shop as he should.

#7

Deductible is irrelevant if you cause damage. It only matters if you want to collect for damage to your vehicle if you have the appropriate coverages.

#8

Deductible is only for collision portion of insurance…NOT liability. Any damage you do to another person or property falls under liability. Any damage done to YOUR car falls under collision coverage. Only collision and comprehensive will have deductibles.

#9

If you don’t have your insurance company handle the details, and pay cash, then make srue you get the car owner to sign a liability release and a mechanics lien release, to insure that the funds you provided to the car owner are used as intended,

The owner of the car does NOT under any circumstances have to get his car fixed. It’s totally up to his discretion. This applys if you are dealing with cash or with an insurance company. It’s the LAW.

#10

Personally, I think you should turn this entire thing over to your insurance agent and let them handle it. If there’s any funny business going on they will bring it to a stop.

Don’t worry about this driving your rates up. Odds are quite likely it won’t make any difference at all.

#11

I can’t say about Illinois but in California the damaged party is under no obligation to take the lowest estimate. He doesn’t have to get more than one estimate and he may take it to any shop he chooses. It doesn’t matter what you or your mechanic thinks is reasonable.

In California we are required to have insurance and to provide that information to the other party in an accident. If it is the same in Illinois, the other party doesn’t have to worry about what you do. He can file a claim with your insurance company whether you like it or not. You cannot control him. All your efforts to minimize costs are not binding on him. It’s his decision.

If he agrees to a direct payment from you instead of filing a claim, that’s up to him. If it was me and you tried to lowball me, I’d probably simplify my life and file a claim.

#12

Speaking of insurance, this guy should use his insurance and have you cover the deductible - which YOUR insurance should do.

#13

This guy is trying to milk it. Turn it into your ins. company.
At the most this is a 2 day job if it is a moulding only. 1 day to paint and dry and 1 hour the next to install.
But if planned correctly this is a 1 hour job. The shop gets the part in and prepaints the moulding if this is an easy color to match. When the paint is ready to install bring the car in and R&I the moulding. 1 HOUR !!! This guy does not need a 3 day rental. HE IS A MILKER!!!
If there is a dent under the moulding it could be 2 days and AT THE MOST 3.

#14

Guy’s got a 7 year old car, let the insurance handle this.

#15

If you damage MY car, I am not going to have my insurance pay for it. You broke it, you are responsible for fixing it.

Interim exception: I did have my insurance collision cover it until my insurance company could get the money out of the other guy’s insurance. Months after the accident my insurer recovered what they had paid me, and I recovered the deductible. Slow-pay as a business strategy.

#16

Interim exception: I did have my insurance collision cover it until my insurance company could get the money out of the other guy’s insurance. Months after the accident my insurer recovered what they had paid me, and I recovered the deductible. Slow-pay as a business strategy.

But we’re talking about the person who damaged your car and THEIR deductible. Their deductible does NOT apply when they pay for damage to your car. I’ve done exactly what you did before. I couldn’t wait for the guy’s insurance to pay for my car. They were dragging their heals because this was the guys 3rd DWI when he hit me.

#17

$500 is NOT unreasonable to fix this. If the scratch is truly down to the metal…then the door/panel will have to be repainted. Any touchup will look like crap.

#18

These estimates are entirely reasonable. And if I were the damaged party I’d avaoid the “cash only” guy like the plague. He’s likely avoiding dealing with the insurance because he doesn’t want his work subjected to any standards.

Personally, once I’d confirmed that by doing so I wasn’t violating any accident reporting laws or insurance reporting requirements, I’d send the guy a check for $1000, additional sufficient to cover a decent rental, and a gift certificate sufficient for two to a popular local restaurant. I actually did this years ago in an extremely similar situation.