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Body Damage

Things you need to know about taking your car to the body shop

Fig 1. Badly dented rear quarter on an Alpha Romeo. This kind of damage should be dealt with immediately and needs to be repaired at a car body shop.


If you are involved in a collision with another vehicle, somebody else's property, or another person, to which you cause damage, you should contact your insurance company at the earliest opportunity. Even if it appears that no damage has been caused to the other party, you should still report it incase problems come to light at a later date.

If you damage your car without damaging anybody else's property, for example, You scrape a bollard (and there is no damage to the bollard), you nudge a wall in the multi-story car park, or you back into the lawnmower in your garage. In all these cases, nobody is likely to write to you demanding monies for damage caused, so the damage to your vehicle is all that needs to be addressed. If this is the case, the damage may fall beneath the cost of your excess and it may be possible to get the damage repaired without the need to claim on your insurance. The type of damage in Figure 1 above would cost between £150 and £250 to repair at a body shop. Most damage of this sort will cost more than your excess and so you will need to claim on your insurance.

Fig 2. Scraped Peugeot - damage to wheel arch and door, because of the colour, two thirds of the side of the car will need to be resprayed to avoid demarcation lines.

UPDATE: If you are going to an insurance approved body shop, and they don't do a proper job, then it's not your problem... right?
It will be your problem, because a lease inspector checking the car later doesn't know if you went to an approved body shop or if you got your brother-in-law to do it on the cheap. All he knows is that it's a poor quality repair and he will mark it down as a fail.

We have found that this is one of the things that lease companies are making more charge-backs on. We do see quite a few cars with poor body shop repairs or smart repairs that were not appropriate. Treat the car as if you owned and you had to sell it -- don't take short-cuts and ensure all work is carried out to an acceptable standard, anything else is false economy!

Article: Shortcut to finding a great body shop/panel beater.
Article: Smart Repair, Body shops, and why we ask you to send us photos.
Article: Car Cosmetics.

Fig 3. Scuffed wheel arch. This kind of damage can often be treated without the need of a body shop by using smart repair techniques, a repair of this sort will cost £78.00
See next page for more on scuffs.

Figure 3 shows body damage which can be repaired without the need of body shop repairs. A localized 'Smart Repair' works out much cheaper than having the whole panel resprayed. If you are having difficulty telling the difference then please send us a photo and we'll tell you with no obligation.

If you have damage similar to that shown on this page and you are wondering if and how it can be repaired, and how much it will cost, upload a photo to Ask the Experts and we'll advise you - no obligation.

Ask the Experts
De-Fleet Services

Our End-of-Lease Services provide quality repair for excessive wear and tear, and is acceptable and appropriate for Contract Hire, Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), Private Lease, Contract Purchase and Lease Purchase. Fleet managers wishing to efficiently prepare off-lease vehicles can contact us or send their drivers directly to our Q&A. Our advisors are trianed by Manheim to work to the BVRLA guidelines.


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This page was last updated on Wed, 12 October, 2011
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