Ownership Dinged in a collision? Don’t let your wallet take a hit, too

21:12  22 june  2018
21:12  22 june  2018 Source:   driving.ca

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After almost any type of fender bender or minor collision , there’s often a request from the at-fault driver to not contact insurance companies or police due to the fear of demerit points — or worse — and the risk of increased insurance premiums.

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a person standing next to a car engine© Provided by Driving.ca

After almost any type of fender bender or minor collision, there’s often a request from the at-fault driver to not contact insurance companies or police due to the fear of demerit points — or worse — and the risk of increased insurance premiums. In these cases, those drivers will volunteer to cover your damages as well as their own out of pocket.

You may look at an innocent scratch on a bumper or a minor ding and think, ‘why not cut someone a break?’ But underneath the skin of today’s vehicles lie a lot of fragile plastics and a system designed to spread out impact forces to protect the passenger cabin structure. Simply waving someone off may be a big mistake.

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There are a few checks you can do at the curb to help find out if your ride just had its skin damaged or something worse. If the impact was severe enough to jolt you or your passengers against properly worn seatbelts, you probably have more than just a dent or cracked bumper cover. If either of the front seat belts forcefully pulled you back into the seat, an explosive recoil mechanism may have gone off. This always requires seatbelt replacement and they can be pricey, starting at $450 and up for parts alone.

Switch off the ignition and let it sit for 10 to 20 seconds before restarting. Then, check your instrument cluster for any warning lights. If any body-mounted sensors or their circuits have been damaged by an impact, they will likely ‘throw a code’ and light up a warning icon.

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When checking for visible body damage, especially on front or rear bumper covers, slap the damaged area with the palm of your hand and listen for any rattles caused by broken bits underneath. Check for any looseness where the bumper covers wrap into the front fenders or rear quarter panels. These areas are particularly prone to breaking, even in the slightest impact, and often the entire cover requires a pricey replacement as a result.

If an impact has been directed at the corner of a vehicle and it’s severe enough, it can shift the rectangular ‘cage’ that’s comprised of the sub-frame and attached panels. This is referred to as ‘diamonding a subframe.’ Check all the doors (especially those on the opposite side of the vehicle from the impact point) to see if they still open and close normally. Also, look carefully at any panel gaps at the opposite corner point to the impact. These will close up under the right circumstances.

If it’s safe to do so, take a quick peak under the vehicle to check for any fluid leaks or broken pieces. All jurisdictions in the country have laws and regulations regarding the need to report any collision if the damage crosses a specific dollar threshold.

If you’re in doubt, call it in to the appropriate authorities to avoid any citations against you for leaving the scene of a collision.

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