Options When You Have Damage from a Prior Accident

A client called me yesterday with an interesting dilemma. Said that recently, when his car was parked on the street, it was hit by a Fire Truck on a call. Kind of unusual as Fire Truck Drivers are usually pretty good at what they do.

Nevertheless, he was concerned because on the same side of the car there was some damage from a prior accident and wanted to see if he could get that fixed at the same time. He also wanted to make sure the paint matched the rest of the car. So here’s the advice I offered to Steve.

The insurance company is only going to pay for the damage that was a direct result of the accident caused by the Fire Truck. Nothing more, nothing less.

Your best bet is to make a deal with the body shop OUTSIDE of the parameters of the insurance company settlement. Here’s why.

Anytime you repair a car there are some fixed expenses that are there regardless of the size of the job. The car has floor time, rack time, parts to order, paint booth time, drying time, set up the paint sprayer time, set up the sander time, on and on and on. The body shop will appropriately include most of that in the estimate for the insurance portion of the repair. Then the body shop might go ahead and fix your “other fender” for less because they have to go through all that set up stuff anyway.

Talk to your estimator at the shop see if you can’t make a bettter deal. I bet you can.



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