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Dents are a common type of damage that vehicles sustain. Most often they are caused by accidents or collisions with other vehicles but they can also be caused by the effects of the weather. Dents tend to be noticeable, diminishing both the quality and value of a vehicle. Unrepaired dents may eventually begin to rust, especially if the paint has been deeply scratched, further damaging a vehicle making it more costly to fix. As well, serious dents and damage could affect the performance of a vehicle or make it unsafe for the road.

Depending on the circumstances and amount of damage to a vehicle, getting a dent fixed could be costly. Minor dents are relatively easy to repair. If there has been no paint damage then a paintless dent removal should be a repair option. Bigger dents caused by more serious accidents or collisions will likely require more time and work to repair because they need to be filled and repainted. If a dent covers a larger area of a vehicle then it may be necessary to replace an entire panel which will cost substantially more to repair.

In this article we will discuss the costs of repairing dents, if auto insurance covers the cost of dent repair, whether small dents are worth fixing, and what paintless dent repair is.

What are the costs of repairing dents?

The cost of repairing a dent primarily depends on the severity of the damage. The cost of repair also depends on the make, model, and type of vehicle. For obvious reasons, luxury vehicles are more expensive to repair than the average sedan, but that does not mean that minor dents cannot be fixed at a reasonable cost.

  • Upwards of $100 for small dents not requiring repainting or touch ups
  • Between $500 and $1,500 for larger dents or deep scrapes depending on the type of vehicle.
  • Anywhere from $500 to $15,000 for serious dents depending on the type of vehicle and if more than a single panel is damaged.

The cost of large dent repair may be surprising to some but it is important to think about the materials, time, and labor it takes to fix them. The cost of parts and skilled labor does not change with older or newer vehicles, however, modern vehicles are built using newer manufacturing technology so it tends to make auto body repairs more expensive. Large dent repairs involve multiple steps such as stripping, filling, sanding, priming, painting and blending multiple color layers, and polishing. The damage caused by a dent may also be more significant than it appears making the repairs more challenging and costly.

What is Paintless Dent repair?

Paintless dent repair or removal (PDR) is a method where dents are removed from a vehicle’s body without retouching paint finish by either pushing or pulling the dent. So long as the paint surface is intact, this specialized type of dent repair can be used on aluminum or steel vehicle panels with impressive results. The repair technician either pushes on the panel’s backside to pop out the dent or uses a special bonding tool to pull the dent out from the front side. By doing so the dent can be removed without any need to repaint or refinish the damaged area.  Certain insurance providers may already have affiliations with repair shops that offer paintless dent removal that they may require you to have your vehicle sent to. Be sure to double check with your provider to see if this type of repair service is covered and offered at any local repair shops so that you can any dents fixed quickly and at cost.

Does auto insurance cover the cost of dent repair?

Whether or not auto insurance will cover the cost of dent repair depends on the circumstances of the accident or collision and the type of coverage a driver has. If the vehicle has sustained a minor dent then auto insurance should cover the cost of repair under collision coverage.

  • Collision Insurance: fender benders like bumper dents or minor damage to the main body of the vehicle caused by accidents with other cars as well as other objects like telephone poles, trees, and fences. It also covers both you and the other driver in the event of an accident
  • Liability coverage only covers the other driver if the accident is your fault.
  • Comprehensive Insurance: dents and scratches caused by fallen objects, the weather, and moving objects such as trees, branches, wind, hail, shopping carts, and other acts of nature.

Although collision insurance is not required, you should have some as you need this type of coverage in order to get your vehicle repaired if it is damaged. Collision coverage can cover the cost of small dent repair but it is still subject to your deductible. The deductible is what you are required to pay in the cost of repairing your vehicle. This means that depending on the cost of getting a small dent repaired you will have to pay your deductible before the balance is covered by the auto insurance company. For example your deductible is $500 and the cost of repairing the dent is $1,000 therefore you will have to pay your deductible before the balance is paid by the insurance company.

Should you file a claim if you have dent damage on your vehicle?

The answer to this depends on who caused the accident, the severity of the dent, and the age of the vehicle. If it is a minor dent that you have caused then it may not be worth filing a claim for as you would likely save more money by paying for the cost of repairs out of your pocket.

 Should not Claim Accident

  • The costs of repairing the dent are below your insurance deductible
  • Your vehicle is an older model with a lower overall value of claim
  • If accident is with another motorist and you both feel the damages are minor

Should Claim Accident

  • The dent caused by another motorist and they want to claim for damages on their side
  • If the cost of the repairs is more than the deductible

The Hidden Costs of Claiming

Calling the insurance company to talk about the accident,  even if you don’t claim, is stilled considered a claim in the eyes of the insurance company. Also, if the cost of the repair is about the same as your deductible or less then you should think about how a any claim may end up costing you more in the long run due as your insurance company will raise your premiums.

Claims and Deductibles
When you report a dent to your auto insurance provider, your claim will be reviewed by an adjuster who will determine whose fault the accident which can decide whether you have to pay a deductible. If the dent was caused too long ago or if the adjuster thinks that you may have caused the damage or that it was not the result of an accident then your insurance provider may not cover the costs of the repairs. If the accident is considered to be your fault or an at-fault accident, then your premium will likely rise anywhere up to 40 percent. So it is important that you take the time to weigh the costs of the repair and check it against your existing insurance coverage to make sure that you are making the best and most informed decision for your particular repair circumstances.

Are small dents worth fixing?

After determining the costs associated with any small dent repairs you should consider whether it is worth fixing. If you have a relatively new vehicle then you may prefer to have small dents or imperfections fixed as soon as possible so that you can enjoy it in its best condition. As well, keeping a new vehicle in good condition is important if you are thinking of eventually selling it or trading it in for another model at some point in the future as you will want to have the best possible return of your investment.

 If you have an older, things to consider before you decide to repair dents.

  • What is the value of the vehicle?
  • How high is the deductible?
  • How long do you intend on keeping the vehicle for?
  • How high is your deductible?

If you are not intending to keep the vehicle for much longer then you should probably leave the damage, especially if you can safely drive with it still. Any damage to the vehicle will also likely lower the resale value so you need to keep this in mind when you want to either resell or trade it in for another vehicle.  If the cost to repair the dent damage is close to or more than the value of the vehicle then it is probably not the best idea to have it professionally repaired. Finally, your deductible cost needs to be considered as well. If your deductible is high on an older vehicle then it may not be worth it either. In this case you should consider trying to lower that deductible and looking into other solutions for repair.

Try not to stress too much about small dent repair unless the damage is more than your deductible or if you are unable to safely drive your vehicle. No one likes to have blemishes like dents or scrapes on their vehicle but if you can save some money by not claiming and getting the damage repaired yourself then you could avoid paying higher insurance premiums. Repairing small dents using DIY solutions can be done successfully but it is recommended that you seek professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic before trying to do so. At the very least you should be calling local repair shops to get an estimate on the repair damage before you make any decisions to do so.

Ultimately, before you commit to getting any dents fixed or paying for any repairs, weigh the costs of repair against the value of the vehicle, be sure to check your insurance for appropriate coverage, and make sure that you call your local repair shops and get any free estimates you can so that you can make the most informed decision.