Please advice us what to do. Thanks

Dear Car Talk Community,
I need your help and guidance. My son ( not a minor) was parking and scratched the bumper of a 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali. He left a note under the windshield along with his cell number. The owner called him and said that he will get an estimate for getting the scratch on the bumper removed or taken care of.
Today he sent an estimate to get the entire bumper replaced and the cost is $1214.84. We thought that it might cost under 500 bucks to get the scratch removed and need not go through the insurance. Please let me know what to do. Not sure why the entire bumper needs to be replaced. Do I report this incident to the insurance company, pay the 500 deductible and have the guy get his bumper replaced? Or negotiate with the car owner and pay him 500 bucks and have him get the scratch taken care of. Do I go to the small claims court and get this resolved?

Turn it into the insurance company. It is what you pay them for.


Option 1 - pay the 1214.84

Option 2 - Turn it into your insurance and let them deal with it, Your rates may go up by doing this.

There is nothing to negotiate, the guy wants his car fixed correctly.

Why would you take the other guy to small claims court ? He is the one with damages that you owe for.


That call should have been made while standing by the vehicle he hit . I also don’t understand the small claims remark.

If this happened today, call your insurance agent NOW

give the agent all the information, including the other guy’s name, phone number, etc.

I’m kind of surprised the truck owner didn’t just contact his own insurance . . . it would have been a lot easier

When you handle things off the books, it can get ugly in a hurry

He took the truck to get an estimate, first he said he will get the scratch buffed and today he sent an estimate.

You should put your own insurance agent in touch with the truck owner . . .

will do thanks

Going against the grain here, pay the $1200 and be done with it, You can request second estimates but I d not think this guy is out to screw you.

Geez, that doesn’t look like $1200. I agree, turn it in on insurance. I wouldn’t be surprised if the guy just buys some touch up paint and pockets the $1200 if he gets the opportunity.

Latest update: My son called the guy for his name and number. He said that he will accept $500 bucks and get the bumper taken care of himself. This is the same amount as my sons deductible. In return, he is willing to sign a note stating that the bumper scratch has been paid for. So, what do you guys think?

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Get him his $500 before he changes his mind


Dear Car Talk Community,
Thanks as always for your advice. Have a pleasant night.

I agree. I rue the day when bumpers became a style item, and not real bumpers (something to bump into)

I park on the street about once a week, and all my cars wind up with extensive scratches on both bumpers, part of parking. If I replaced the bumper cover or touched it up after every scratch, I’d be spending a fortune.

Note that all of these scratches were while parked, and no-one ever left me a note about them.


Where do you live? If parking your car results in your vehicle touching mine you have done something very wrong and need further training. I’ve had cars that were 15 years old with 150,000 miles that didn’t have nearly as much bumper rash as you show.

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Maybe there’s a dollar amount he’ll accept in return for forgetting about who did the damage. If I were the one whose car got damaged like that, which is really just minor damage, if replacing the bumper cost $1200 and I was offered $500 in cash to end further discussion of the matter, I’d take it, and buff the majority of the damage out myself. Any damage remaining visible after my buffing job would remind me daily of my good fortune of $500 in found money. I’d use some of that $500 to take my significant other out to the movies & dinner, and then everyone winds up happy.

I agree with you, but apparently in many big cities this isn’t the mindset.

The parking garage is very tight. This car was sticking out of the lot, especially the big bumper. So, the minor accident.

I’m careful not to hit the cars in front and back. But what happens when my car is sitting there and the car in front or back leaves and someone else parks there, is out of my control.

Once found my car pushed about 5 ft into the pedestrian crossing.

Car was about 10 years old at that point. Boston.

Just yesterday my Corolla was parked on a neighborhood street, about 15 feet before an entrance to a parking lot . Somebody turning into the parking lot apparently wasn’t paying att’n and brushed against the front bumper, creating a couple of marks of silver paint. Fortunately the surface of the bumper is made of some kind of black rubber-like material and the marks rubbed off with a little soap and water and one of those green pads you wash dishes with, without much in the way of residual appearance. Stuff like that happens, and is best avoided by choosing the parking spot more carefully. I learned my lesson and won’t park in that spot again.