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This is terribly embarrassing, but I accidentally backed into someone’s mailbox on Christmas Eve.

Before you ask, no, I was not partaking of the “holiday cheer” and I am normally a very conscientious driver– I have never once had an accident. I feel just awful about this, because it was totally avoidable. It’s just that the street was so narrow, and there were cars all aligned down the road…it was also pitch black, since this street had no street lights. I honestly didn’t see it… I even checked my blind spots twice each…

Miraculously, there was no damage to the other person’s property aside from the mailbox being cocked to the side, which my fiance and I fixed before we left. No one was home for us to inform, we tried several times to contact the property owner, to no avail.

There was, however, a little damage to my car. A dent no more than 3-5 inches in length and no more than an inch across.Some of my paint got scraped off, two small abrasions or so, the biggest of which is about the size of a quarter.

My mother went ballistic on me for it…serves me right for being honest. But anyway, My question is the following:

1) Is this really worth getting upset over?

2) Should I report it to my insurance company (Allstate) and risk my premiums going up– or, would it be less expensive in the long run to repair the damage out of pocket?
I would really like to repair this, because it’s a newer car and it’s served me faithfully for about 3 years.

5 Thoughts on Should I report it to my insurance company?
  1. Reply
    Mark
    October 23, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    75 % of people would not even repair it if it just a small dent on the rear of a car.

  2. Reply
    Mushu
    October 23, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Get an estimate first. There’s a chance the damage will be less than your deductible. If so, don’t bother making a claim. If it’s more than your deductible, then you can make a claim and you won’t have to pay more than your deductible. Rates may go up, but not that much for such a minor accident.
    And don’t feel bad, accidents happen to even the most careful of drivers. Be glad you have insurance, for when you need it.

    Happy holidays

  3. Reply
    Brina
    October 23, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    I would not report it to my insurance company because they look for any excuse to increase your rates. It would be best for you to find a no name body shop to suck out the dent and repaint it for you. A similar thing happened to me. I went and got an estimate from an official body shop for free but then I ended up letting a family friend actually do the work. He did the work for a mere fraction of what the estimate was calculated to be. It was also cheaper than my $ 500 deductible. My damage was way larger than a 3-5 inch dent (whole door smashed in), so you will most likely be able to get it done for less than your deductible.

    Use this link http://www.instantestimator.com/

  4. Reply
    JasonR
    October 23, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Consider insurance coverage as being for catastrophic losses that would be financially impossible for you to pay yourself. If the damage is under $ 1000 or even $ 1500 to repair and the vehicle is safe to operate (no broken lights or glass and no mechanical damage), filing the claim with your insurer will cost you more in the long run than the repair will!

    All of your insurance claims will show up on a CLUE Report, which all insurance companies pull before writing a policy. The number of claims can result in much higher premiums or cause some insurers to refuse coverage outright. The claims remain on your report for five years and even $ 0 claims can show up if you make a claim but it doesn’t exceed your deductible! If you report a claim that ends up costing $ 990 to repair and you have a $ 1000 deductible, your insurance company won’t pay a penny but the claim will be held against you.

    Uninsured motorist claims are also used against you, a harsh lesson that my parents learned recently when they shopped around for a cheaper car insurance. The only claims they had were two uninsured motorists from 2007 and 2009 and no traffic violations, but some companies wouldn’t even quote them! Prior to that nasty surprise, my dad figured if he was paying for insurance, he should use it whenever anything happened no matter how minor. He also had a comprehensive claim for a broken windshield just over five years ago that had aged off the report, thankfully.

    All that say- NO, don’t report this to your insurance. Even if you report it but don’t follow thru, it can and will be used against you when your policy comes up for renewal. Allstate is one of the nastiest insurance companies when it comes to raising rates and refusing claims. I’ve had much better experience with GEICO, which I had for years, and now with Amica. Just remember, no insurance company is ever on your side….they’re out to make as much money as they can, period!

    Try to find a reputable local body shop and let them know you’ll be paying out of pocket. Get estimates from at least three shops to be sure no one is price gouging. Then you’ll know how much it will cost to repair and, even if you can’t repair it immediately, you can set a goal to save the money over a certain period of time (six months, nine months, one year…whatever you can reasonably afford). Then have the car repaired once you have the money to pay for it.

    You might also consider getting touch-up paint from the dealership and using it on the areas where the paint was damaged. It will prevent rust and probably help make the damage much less noticeable. If there is a significant dent, you should also have a paintless dent removal pro look at it. They are able to remove dents using suction and other methods that don’t require repainting. The cost is often less than $ 100 per dent.

  5. Reply
    Entidtil
    October 24, 2011 at 12:17 am

    You had a collision. If you have collision coverage on your car, it will pay to have the dent fixed but you must first pay your deductible. Simple math will help you decide whether to use insurance or fix it your self.

    As for the damage to the mailbox, your liability insurance will pay to have that repaired or replaced at no cost or deductible to you.

    The damage to your car and the damage to the mailbox are separate and you can claim one without claiming the other.

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