Jul 242012
 

car band aidDo you know what to do when someone dings your car door, and how to get them or their insurance company to pay for repairs?

Several months ago, a client asked me to come to his work location in San Ramon to fix a large door ding his wife’s sporty black Scion. His insurance company had recommended me as a preferred provider, and I was able to repair the ugly dent quickly, flawlessly, and at no cost to the client.

I thought I would share this story to illustrate what what to do when someone dings your car door so that you may not have to pay out of pocket for repairs.

This particular client had been to dinner in San Ramon with his wife after work. They finished their dinner and returned to the car, where the client immediately spotted a sizeable ding in the passenger side door that he knew had not been there when he closed the car door to go into the restaurant. There was a small streak of white paint in the ding, which clearly showed against the shiny black paint of the Scion.

The client then looked at the white mini van parked next to his car. He remembered that the van was parked in a spot that had been empty when he had parked his wife’s car. He noticed that the van was parked hapharzadly, at an angle, and crossing the line into his parking spot, leaving little room for the van’s passenger door to open.

It was obvious to the client that the mini van’s occupants were responsible for the door ding in the otherwise showroom-condition Scion. So he began taking photos of the dent, the van’s position relative to the Scion, and the van’s license plate–just in case.

He and his wife then decided to wait for the van’s owner to return to the car after dinner.

About 15 minutes after the client and his wife decided to sit and wait in their car, a family of a mom, grandma, and two children came out of the restaurant and walked toward the mini van. My client and his wife got out of their damaged car, and calmly approached the family. My client asked the woman walking to the driver’s side of the van, “Were you aware that someone in your van dented our Scion?”

The woman darted a glance down at her son, who had gasped and covered his mouth with his hands. She looked up and said, “I’m sorry. My son wasn’t paying attention, and he banged his door into yours.” My client calmly replied that those things do happen sometimes. He smiled at the boy gently, and then quietly, but firmly asked the woman for her insurance information. The woman balked at this, apparently regretting her admission of guilt, but it was too late. My client informed her that he had photographed the damage and her vehicle license plate, and suggested that they call the police to resolve the issue, so the woman gave the client her insurance information and phone number.

Long story short, my client was able to get the other party’s insurance company to pay for repairing the car door ding in full. He and the insurance company both chose to have PDR (paintless dent removal) service instead of using traditional body shop repair methods because the cost for my to repair the dent was far less than a body shop would have charged. The client did not need a rental vehicle while leaving the car in the shop, as I was able to go to his work location in San Ramon and fix the dent in about half an hour. And the vehicle was literally restored to a flawless, factory finish–that’s especially important on a black car, which tends to show every tiny scratch and dent.

I hope this story helps you to know what to do if someone dents or dings your car–even when their vehicle is not in motion. You do have rights, and if you approach the situation as sensibly as my client did, you may be able to get the other person’s insurance company to pay for repairs in full, with no out-of pocket expenses for you. If you are not able to contact the vehicle owner, or they do not admit guilt, you may still be able to collect. Take as many clear photos (with time and date stamps) as you can to document the damage, the location, and the vehicle that damaged yours, including the licence plates. Ask any witnesses to sign statements and give you their contact information. Then call your insurance company as soon as possible. If you can call your insurance company from the scene of where the damage occured, this may help them to advise you better.

If you would like Diablo Dents to come to your home or office to repair your vehicle’s dents and dings, phone [ico_phone]925.462.1200[/ico_phone] or [ico_mail email="[email protected]"]email[/ico_mail] us today to make an appointment. We work with all major insurance carriers.

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