Posted on: 6 September 2022Share
There are a lot of issues to tangle with following an accident. If your accident was relatively minor, you might want to drive your car away from the scene. After all, dealing with a tow and the headache of arranging for a ride home can add more stress to an already stressful situation. Unfortunately, it's easy for "just a few miles" to turn into "just a few days," especially with an expensive repair looming.
If you're reading this article to know how long you can wait to have an auto body shop evaluate your car after an accident, there's a simple answer: you shouldn't wait at all. However, if you want more details, keep reading for three reasons why deferring an estimate and repairs is often a mistake, even with minor accidents.
1. You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover
Automotive damage repair is a complex field, and accidents can cause a surprising amount of damage to modern vehicles. While manufacturers often construct older cars like tanks, contemporary engineers understand that protecting a vehicle's occupants is more important. These designs focus on making parts of the car's structure sacrificial to avoid transferring excessive force to passengers.
Unfortunately, these engineering techniques mean that it can be hard to judge the extent of damage just by looking at the outside of the car. Dents and damage on seemingly cosmetic areas may impact the car's overall structural rigidity, making it unsafe to drive and especially unsafe in accidents. Only an evaluation by an experienced shop using sophisticated equipment will uncover these issues.
2. You Might Make It Worse
Driving a vehicle damaged in an accident without having a shop perform an evaluation is like rolling the dice every time you step behind the wheel. Without knowing the extent of the underlying damage, you can't be sure that driving your car won't make things worse. You may have hidden fluid leaks, damage to critical components such as your cooling system, or severe steering and suspension alignment issues.
Any of these problems can make your car dangerous to drive, and you may turn relatively minor damage into a much more severe issue. Having a professional auto body shop evaluate your car will ensure that you don't turn your accident into an even larger expense.
3. You Can Affect Your Insurance Settlement
The insurance company will want to evaluate your car to determine an appropriate payout. The normal process involves working with a body shop from estimate to repair, ensuring that your settlement is sufficient to restore your car to its pre-accident condition. However, driving your car can exacerbate problems from your accident, potentially leading to a reduced settlement.
The best way to ensure the insurance company can accurately estimate the damage to your car is to have an auto body shop perform an estimate shortly after your accident. The sooner you evaluate your car, the more likely you will avoid unnecessary disputes with the insurance company.