In today’s tough economic times, when a vehicle is involved in an auto accident it seems many drivers are putting off repairs unless it is an absolute necessity or there are safety reasons. I live on the outskirts of a major US city and travel often for my business. I am amazed at the vehicles I see with dents, dings, scratches, and scrapes that in years past would have been repaired but today in my opinion the owners are opting for later repairs or not repairing at all.
I completely understand that if the vehicle is 100% owned by the driver it is their prerogative to repair or not especially if it’s an older vehicle. However, if the vehicle is leased, financed, or a newer model in decent shape, chances are there is full coverage on the vehicle and should be repaired. This is where many are playing a risky game of fix it now or pay later.
Shops are feeling the squeeze because auto claim volume is down. I have spoken to many auto insurers this past year and they report claims off anywhere from 10-20 percent. This drop in activity accompanied by the reluctance to even repair a vehicle has many shops questioning their survival. Where in the past these vehicles would be repaired, we now find more and more people shopping their estimate, looking for deals on saving their deductible, or simply not repairing the vehicle if they can get around it.
In many cases this impacts the quality of the repair or compromises the safety of the vehicle. Most vehicle owners cannot determine if there car is safe or not once it has been involved in an accident. That is the job of a licensed appraiser or a quality repair shop to make the determination. Let’s face it, some of the minor dings and dents we see can be lived with without repair if you so desire. However, the majority of what I have been seeing lately on I-95 need quality repairs and not alternative ways to “fix it later”.