Owning and operating a vehicle can be overwhelming due to all the different tasks necessary to maintain its value and appeal. Unfortunately, you can never truly prepare you and your vehicle for an accident. While surprising to hear, an estimated 13 percent of accidents occur in parking lots. These fender benders may be minor, but they can damage your vehicle's body and create underlying issues. Fortunately, placing immediate importance on these minor accidents can prevent insurance rate increases and costly repairs. Using this guide, you will know what to do immediately after your fender bender.
Stop to Address the Accident
A collision in a busy parking lot, a tap in the rear while sitting at a red light, or damaging your own vehicle while backing out of the garage are all minor fender benders that deserve attention. As soon as you are involved, stop and address the situation.
If your fender bender occurs in a parking lot or traffic, call the local police. Contacting the authorities is not only smart for reporting the accident, but also for arranging emergency medical care and directing traffic. Many states will require you to report minor accidents, so contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles for laws in your specific location.
While waiting for police, exchange information with other drivers involved. Make sure to get their name, address, telephone number or email address, license plate number, and insurance information.
If you cause your own minor accident, you do not need to contact the police. However, calling 911 is smart to ensure you do not have any underlying injuries that require immediate attention.
Addressing the Damage
Use your smartphone to take pictures of all vehicles involved in the accident. If you do not see any damage, still take photos of the vehicles. These photos will serve as accident evidence, protecting you from possible lawsuits in the future.
If you damaged your own vehicle, you should still take a few photos of the damage. It is important to take photos of vehicle damage and any damage to other property. These photos will be beneficial if you plan on filing a claim with your insurance provider.
Repairing your Vehicle
Dents, dings, and scrapes on the fender and doors of your vehicle are most common in these minor accidents. You may feel this damage to your vehicle's body is not worth the repair cost or insurance increases. Unfortunately, without repairing this body damage, moisture can build up, increasing the risk of rust. Over time, this rust can cause your vehicle's body to deteriorate, decreasing its appeal and value.
To repair body damage after a fender bender without a large investment, consider the following tips:
- Paintless Dent Repair – PDR, or Painltess Dent Repair, is a more affordable option for repairing dents after a minor accident. Using specialized tools to apply pressure to the backside of the body panel, PDR removes dents with the costly sanding, body filling, and painting process.
- DIY Scratch Repair – Repairing minor scratches on your vehicle's body is also possible. To get started, use a 2000 to 3000 grit piece of wet/dry sandpaper. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap to a bowl of cold water before dipping the sandpaper into the solution. Use the wet sandpaper to sand over the scratched area of your vehicle's body. Then, apply touchup paint over the scratch.
- Replace Parts – Ordering new bumpers, fenders, or other parts after a minor fender bender can be overwhelming. Thankfully, you can reduce costs by using used parts. Visit your local auto salvage to locate replacement parts in good condition. Hire professionals to replace or consider installing the used replacements on your own.
Your fender bender may seem minor, but it still deserves immediate attention and care. If you lack the skills needed to repair your car, contact an auto repair shop like Brandywine Coach Works. Using these tips, you will know what to do after these minor accidents to ensure your vehicle is back in good condition.