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Do You Fix Your Dings?

Less than two years after buying a new pickup truck, I had received not one, but two grapefruit-sized dents – one for each side – thanks to two different drivers’ reluctance to use a rear-view mirror.

Less than two years after buying a new pickup truck, I had received not one, but two grapefruit-sized dents – one for each side – thanks to two different drivers’ reluctance to use a rear-view mirror.

My truck must have a big bulls-eye on it, as it was stationary both times.

I got insurance info for one dent; the other was a hit and run, but I haven’t fixed either dent. Yes, it’s a bit embarrassing to be driving around in a newer truck that looks like it’s been used for Hollywood stunts. But here’s the deal:

I don’t plan to resell the truck. I drive about 25,000 miles per year, so by the time I am done with the thing it will have so many miles, it will be worthless.

Assuming I filed insurance claims for both dings, the repairs would cost me $1,000 in deductibles, possibly only $500 if the first blind reverser’s insurance paid up.

I estimate that fixing the dents out of pocket would run between $2,000 and $3,000.

Also, I’m not an auto insurance expert, but I worry any claim could bump up my premium which, thanks to years of perfect driving, is as low as it can be.

To me, having a perfect-looking car just isn’t a financial priority. It gets me from point A to point B reliably and safely, which is all I need.

What about you? Do you repair small dings and scratches to your vehicle? Do you file insurance claims or pay out of pocket?

Published or updated on November 6, 2007

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


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  1. Jenn says:

    I don’t repair scratches or dents on my car but I DO file insurance claims when I can. I drive an old Mercedes (1989) that my dad got when I was three- incidentally, when I was three was also the only time I have ever damaged a car- I opened my mom’s car door in to my dad’s. That was fixed, as were various dents along the way from people (repeatedly!) hitting the rear bumpers of my car back when my dad drove it to work- the cement poles were just to hard to park around for people I suppose.

    That being said, my car is in great condition and has low miles on it (I don’t drive much) but the body on the outside shows some wear. A basketball hoop fell on my car in a wind storm and left a nice dent in the front of my car and on the sunroof. Not a big deal since the car was already oldish by that point (maybe 6 years ago now).

    A couple years ago I got rear ended HARD by an old guy who didn’t see my (very obviously) stopped car, which squished in the frame of my car a couple inches in the back and killed my trunk. Trunk was fixed, the damage the the frame was deemed not necessary to fix (you couldn’t tell by looking at it and it didn’t change the soundness of the car). Car was declared mostly a loss, but we were able to convince the insurance not to total my car- which would have been a major pain. (It doesn’t take much to declare a Mercedes totaled).

    Not long ago my car was rear ended again, this time tapped just barely by a jeep. Killed my trunk AGAIN, took out my lights in back. Boy is that getting old. My car was declared totaled this time, no way around it. *But* I was able to buy it back for the grand total of …242 dollars (plus new title fees and the like). My trunk now closes- and works better than it did after the last rear ending- thanks to my dad taking a sledgehammer to my car. Kept the money from the totaling to be used towards my next car (same as the last time)

    My car doesn’t look perfect any more- the paint is not peeling off, so that is all that really matters. I have no intention of selling my car until it stops running well, so it is silly for me to fix cosmetic stuff, Mercedes or no. I (and my dad, and my mechanic) know the car too well to want to give it up for a car where I don’t know what the problems will be.

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