Just a normal day of going to work. Bang! I got hit by a flying object … :(
How it happened
This video best explains it:
Getting a quote
While I am pretty sure that this should be a comprehensive claim, I wanted to avoid it if this can be repaired under a few hundred dollars. The common saying is that comprehensive claim will not increase your premimum, but there is also saying in the web that said if you claim three times in a three year period, it might. I went ahead to get quote from two shops, and turned out that it is way more than I expected: they range from $1800 to $2200!.
First, let’s take a look at my damanges:
The scratches are all over, and the most severe one, as shown in the first image, is that my base layer seems to be damaged.
Depending on different level of damage on the layers, including base, prime, base (paint) and clear coat layer, this is the hardest one so it actually takes quite a lot money to fix. For a simple clear coat damage, it is easy enough to DIY, and I’ve found some awesome tutorials online, including this and this. There are also a bunch of videos online.
Unfortunately my problem is way over that, and I guess I do have to make a claim. I do need to pay $500 deductible, so the insurance will actually pay $2k-ish minus deductible. The good thing is that while my car is being fixed, I still got a ride from Hertz, paid by my insurance company.
Making a claim
Making a claim is easy. Just called the number and make the case. A case number will be created and an insurance adjuster will be assigned. After discussing with the adjuster, I can take the car to the body shop and an appraiser will come and do an inspection.
Getting the paint repaired
Well, just drive the car to a body shop, share your insurance info and let them get approval from the insurance company and bill to them. As a unspoken rule, they typically jack up the price if you have insurance. You can pay less if you decided to pay cash yourself. Unfortunately, even though going through the insurance route does not affect your out of pocket (you just pay the deductible), it will certainly increase your insurance rate more over the next couple years when the payout is higher. Essentially you are paying the increased amount via your premium in installments.
This is really unethical practice across the insurance industry in the US IMO. The worst place happens in medical bills. You literally see thousands of dollars billed to the insurance, while you can typicall negotiate a lower price if you don’t have insurance.
My overall experience with comprehensive insurance has been very good. I have claimed it a few times to repair not-at-fault damages, and in fact it already paid off my insurance premimums paid these years… However, I do have to pay deductible per-case basis, which is non-trivial also (except glass claim). Getting a zero-deductible claim will increase the premium a lot, so it seems $500 deductible is the norm.