Check For Collision Damage

Don’t wait for your adjuster to evaluate your collision damage if you’ve been in an accident. Check out the vehicle yourself, if possible, to get a handle on the extent of the repairs. Your initial impressions of the damage can be used to estimate repair costs online or obtain a quote from a body shop representative before he sees the vehicle.

Instructions

1. Document your evaluation with written notes and photos, if possible. Keeping a disposable camera in your purse or bag comes in handy for emergencies like accidents, and having written information about the collision specifics and the vehicle damage can prove useful when you call your insurance agency.

2. Stand at the front or back of the car and look straight down the side of the vehicle. Look for dents, scrapes and exaggerated gaps between doors and pieces of molding or paneling.

3. Make a note of all of the damaged glass on the car, noting which windows will need to be replaced.

4. Try to open all of the vehicle doors and the vehicle trunk. Make a note if they appear warped in any way, seem to stick or are wedged completely shut.

5. Inspect the headlights, taillights and brake lights for damage to the lenses or the light fixtures. Do not turn the lights on to check their function, however, as an electrical short could spark an explosion or fire.

6. Look inside the vehicle to determine if one or more airbags deployed during the collision. Remember that airbags cannot be repaired once they deploy, so they’ll have to be replaced by a professional.

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7. Determine if the vehicle is drivable. If the axles or tires were damaged in the accident, it is not safe to drive the car because it may not steer properly.

8. Remember that, while you may perform a cursory check of the vehicle damage, the insurance adjuster and auto body shop will conduct a more thorough, educated assessment of damages and provide final repair estimates.