Last month, it was bad one for my vehicles. I was involved in two accidents. Fortunately, I am ok but it is unfortunate to have accidents and none of ’em is my fault. Both times, I was actually rear ended and spared with minor damages. It is not fun to get involved in any type of accident. That’s for sure. But what can we do, even if you drive safely and careful enough other drivers tends to just find us and hit.
First, it was my Ford Truck which is already 13 years old but runs quite well so I can’t complain. It was a teanage driver who was trying to squeeze her Ford Tarus car on the left side to take left turn while I was waiting infront of the light. She hit me on corner and caused small dent with scratches on the bumper. We stopped and witnessed the damage. I decided to let her go because it wasn’t that bad and truck was already old. I didn’t bother to get it fixed. For the benefit of her, I let her go even without taking any insurance information.
Next my Honda Accord which is only 6 years old. It is in good shape and I like to keep that way because it is our family car. This time it was lady again who thought I started moving after lights change and read ended directly behind me. I felt little neck pain but not bad. We pulled out of traffic and stopped near by to assess the damages. It wasn’t too bad outside but I was worried about internal cushion/absorber damage. So I took her license information anyways but didn’t call any cop for the report and we left.
In both the instances, damage was minor and nobody was hurt. Like any accident, they came shocking and unexpected, bringing in some kinda of uncomfortable feeling. At that moment, one has to act fast and think what needs to be done next. This only holds true when it’s a small/minor accident and you are in stable and consicous condition. Questions I started thinking were,
1. Do I call the insurance company and report?
2. If I want to report, do I need to call Police to get report?
3. Am I ready go through the hazzle of getting this small problem fixed?
Answers to all the above question depend on analyzing various aspects like,
I. How old is your vehicle?
II. Do you own the vehicle or lease it?
III. Are you some one who care so much about your car, even small scratch bothers you?
IV. Are you willing to go thru the hazzle of insurance calls and fixing the vehicle?
V. Are you in hurry to go somewhere?
For example, if it’s my own car, reasonably new and damage was physically visible, I would better call and report to insurance and also get a police report if I and other party has more time.
Let me remind you one important thing. As per the insurance contract, we all are suppose to inform the insurance company of any accidents to our vehicles. But how many people do it for sake of avoiding the hazzle and insurance premium increase.There are surely Pros and Cons behind reporting.
1. Increased resale value because of dent/damage free vehicle
2. Peace of mind because your Vehicle is safe without any internal damages
1. Your future auto premium can go up according to your Insurance score were claims are part of calculation. If you make more claims whether it’s your fault or not, insurer might have unfriendly logic to quote higher premiums as per my experience.
2. Hazzle and Time Consuming process – You either have to take your vehicle to body shop or make an appointment for an appraiser to come out and get estimate. Take to body shop to get it fixed. Meanwhile you need to get rental vehicle or alternative commute arrangement to work and list goes on.
3. Vehicle might not be safe to drive with damages unless they are cosmetic.
4. Carfax report gets updated with vehicle accidents and reselling might be hard. At the same time, if you didn’t fix the damages you won’t get price for the vehicle. It’s a catch 22.
So I would like to conclude by saying, Use your own judgement. My situation and decisions might not fit everybody’s. Try to use the lists of questions mentioned above which might help you to make a sound decision. Don’t drive a unsafe vehicle just because you need to spend some time and money. That would be my personal caution.