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Old 05-29-2013, 11:36 PM
 
461 posts, read 586,274 times
Reputation: 227

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My 2013 Honda Civic sedan that is only 7-8 weeks old with 3500 mi on it got rear-ended on the stop and go traffic freeway this morning on the way to work by an uninsured motorist.

The traffic was stop and go and the woman behind me could not stop in time to avoid rear-ending my car. We both pulled over and she gave me her name and number. I also jotted down her license plate number and asked for her insurance information. She told me she had just gotten the car (it was not a new car) and was in the process of getting insurance...

I looked at the damage to my rear bumper and there were not dents, but there appeared to be indentations perhaps caused by her front license plate mount area... and there is a plastic piece that should sit flush under the bumper that was no longer sitting flush on the right side... I couldn't really see any damage to her front bumper, but her car was also dirty, so it was hard to be sure...


I called my insurance company, AAA, and gave them all of the information, and they told me she was at fault, and that I would be covered for repairs and car rental and that they would pursue her for expenses. They also said my $500 deductible would be covered, so I would not need to cover that expense.

But I could use the following advice:

1. AAA recommended using one of their approved body shops, touting the benefit of
lifetime warranty on any repair done.

Should I use them or find a different body repair shop than the options AAA gave me for
my area?

AAA says it's easier and makes the process smoother when dealing with one of their
approved body shops.

I've searched the internet and came across at least some postings saying not to use
the insurance company's recommended auto body shops, because they may try to
do what's in the insurance company's best interest rather than what's in your best
interest... In my case, rather than replace the bumper entirely and put on a new
OEM bumper, they might just resurface and repaint/blend the area where there
is bumper damage to make that area look as if there was never any damage there....

But they'll also remove the bumper to assess what damage there may be to the impact
padding and bumper bar... if there's damage to those areas, they too would need
fixing.

To me, resurfacing with some plastic filler or compound and then repainting the damaged
area to blend with the OEM paint to look like its original pre-accident state, still leaves
me unsatisfied. In that case, it doesn't seem to be back to pre-accident state, but
is merely patched up.

The auto body shop said that they recommend keeping original parts when possible, and
that replacing the bumper would require priming and painting of the bumper and it would
not have factory paint, so it would be best to keep my current bumper and just do
the patch job.

What do you guys think?

2. Now that it has been rear-ended, no matter if it's relatively minor damage to my
rear bumper, my 7-8 week old 2013 Honda Civic sedan with 3500 mi on it likely has
taken a hit on its resale value or trade in value, even if the bumper is replaced or
patched/restored to look like it's pre-accident condition.

I've read about Diminished Value and how some people have been able to have
their car appraised for resale/trade-in value, getting quotes for before accident and
after accident, to prove that the repairs alone have not restored things to pre-accident
state... that other losses have been incurred in the form of diminished value, so
that a car that could be sold for $18k had it not been in an accident can now only be
sold for $16k post-accident.

I live in California, AAA is my insurance provider, and the lady who rear-ended me did
not have insurance coverage (indicated she was in the process of getting insurance).
So it looks like I wouldn't be able to go directly to her insurance company to file a
claim for diminished value.

I was wondering if anyone knows the law in California and the policy of AAA on
diminished value claims. Is this a viable avenue for me to pursue to try to recover
what diminished value this accident may have caused?

3. Do I have a right to insist on getting the bumper replaced with a new OEM one, and
not have a patch job done on the existing one, or have a knock-off or used junk yard
pull used as a replacement?

I just want to restore my vehicle truly to its pre-accident state, and not just merely look
like it has been restored as so on the surface.

Thanks in advance for any advice I can get on this...
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:38 AM
 
3,185 posts, read 5,765,718 times
Reputation: 1818
All I know is they have to answer your questions about how they plan to repair your car before you give to OK to your insurance company. Very true that insurance companies work with body shops looking after their interest first. You have the right to get several estimates and pick who fixes the car as long as the estimate is legit from an established repair shop. Before anyone fixes the car you should label the to be replaced parts so you can go back and verify they are actually replaced according to the estimate. Not replacing things like fenders but patching them happens very often when they think the customer wont know the difference and will just go by cosmetic appearance when he picks up and signs off on the car..I know what I am talking about.I was in the business for many years.
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Old 05-30-2013, 03:03 AM
 
461 posts, read 586,274 times
Reputation: 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by crestliner View Post
All I know is they have to answer your questions about how they plan to repair your car before you give to OK to your insurance company. Very true that insurance companies work with body shops looking after their interest first. You have the right to get several estimates and pick who fixes the car as long as the estimate is legit from an established repair shop. Before anyone fixes the car you should label the to be replaced parts so you can go back and verify they are actually replaced according to the estimate. Not replacing things like fenders but patching them happens very often when they think the customer wont know the difference and will just go by cosmetic appearance when he picks up and signs off on the car..I know what I am talking about.I was in the business for many years.
Thanks for your reply. One question: am I at the mercy of my insurance company (AAA) as to whether the bumper damage just gets patched up and repainted or the entire bumper gets replaced? or does this really depend on where i get my estimates from (i.e. AAA approved body shop partner, vs one that I choose). And what if I get estimates from both.. do they end up just going with their partner's estimate?

I'd prefer the latter, because it's taking a new part and removing the old.. so it's more like making like new again... (my car is only 7-8 weeks old w/ 3500 miles on it), as opposed to getting a patch job done, which seems to me just outwardly maybe looking like it was originally before the rear-end collision, but it's still a patch job of adding some compound and smoothing it out...
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Old 05-30-2013, 11:16 AM
 
2,670 posts, read 4,482,905 times
Reputation: 1559
I would go with the body shop they suggest because of the lifetime warranty. My insurance offers something similar to that also. Basically if I was to move from the area that fixed it and something happens to the repair, they take care of it. As far as OEM vs aftermarket...check with your insurance to see what their guideline is. With ours 24 months after the manufacturing date they use aftermarket before the 24 months they use OEM.
As for them changing the bumper out or not, the estimator would be the best one to tell you if that would happen or not. I have seen bumper jobs get done in a day or two depending on the damage.
Pro's of using a preferred shop:
Lifetime warranty (by not only the insurance but the company as well)
if there are any supplements to the original estimate, they can take care of it with no issues
payment can be directly sent to them so you don't have to worry about that
Cons of taking it to a non-preferred shop:
If you move from the area or the shop closes and they offer you a lifetime warranty, chances of having any warranty work is out the window.
If there is a supplement your insurance may send out an adjuster. If they do this it can cause more time being without your vehicle and if the adjuster is not satisfied, there can be problems.
You would have to make sure all payments are in their hand before you can leave with your vehicle.

To me the pros outweigh the cons. Also I don't know if its like this in CA but I know here if your insurance company does an estimate any shop you take it to has to do the repairs based off that estimate. I've dealt with people trying to commit fraud by playing that game.
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
26,466 posts, read 62,739,275 times
Reputation: 30301
Use the Insurance recommended shop. tell them and write on the invoice "No Bondo" or any other limitations you think is reasonable. They are supposed to make your car as good as it was, not turn it into a bondo buggy. I have this particular fight with insurance companies twice and eventually won.
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:19 PM
 
10,475 posts, read 15,475,867 times
Reputation: 11730
You know, honestly, I'd just let it go. What you doing is slowly but surely turning it all into and outright war on her and expense for you. And for what? Damage you can't even see? I understand your concern, but in year or two of ownership, ANY new car driven around will acquire some dents and bumps here and there. Parking dents, bad parking in reverse, scratches appear on bumpers and doors out of nowhere.
So, is it really worth pursuing?
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,008 posts, read 16,015,200 times
Reputation: 12618
Quote:
Originally Posted by ukrkoz View Post
You know, honestly, I'd just let it go. What you doing is slowly but surely turning it all into and outright war on her and expense for you. And for what? Damage you can't even see? I understand your concern, but in year or two of ownership, ANY new car driven around will acquire some dents and bumps here and there. Parking dents, bad parking in reverse, scratches appear on bumpers and doors out of nowhere.
So, is it really worth pursuing?
Depends. I wouldn't personally change my opinion just because someone didn't have insurance. I'm pretty lax about that stuff just because it's too much hassle worrying about it. The first dent is always a relief. You get it, mope for a few days, and then don't worry about the next 25 you'll inevitably get. Other people don't think that way.
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:58 PM
 
2,670 posts, read 4,482,905 times
Reputation: 1559
I wouldn't let it go. I've seen people come in with a claim already on a vehicle and have a secondary in the same place just to be told by the insurance company that they will only cover X amount of the damage. For example your tire is part of the accident because there is x amount of wear on it. A new tire costs 120.00 they will pay $60.00 of replacing it and you would have to pay the remaining $60.
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:45 AM
 
Location: anywhere but Seattle
1,082 posts, read 1,893,446 times
Reputation: 983
Where To Take Your Vehicle For Repairs - California's Anti-Steering Law - Avvo.com
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:42 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
7,305 posts, read 23,437,919 times
Reputation: 5487
Sorry to hear about your misfortune. My 2012 Civic with 1200 miles was hail damaged today. I am sickened.
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