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Dents and Insurance

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Dents and Insurance

Ben Mester
November 20, 2010

Ben Mester

I've had more dents than I care to own up to, and have destroyed a few bumpers and dinged a few side panels in my day. And though a person can often use a simple repair system of dent removal tools and bring the dent out, often times they can't. This bothers me. Bumpers are probably the flimsiest part of the entire car, even though they're often the first point of contact. Does that really make sense?

In my mind, bumpers and side panels are being designed these days as just another way for the auto industry to make buck from the hard working backs of honest people. Bumpers can often cost over a thousand dollars and can even be integrated into the side panels of a car, making it so that if the bumper needs replacing, the whole part needs replacing, sometimes costing over a thousand dollars. What kind of sense does that make?

As a child, I loved going to the bumper car derby, smashing into friends in head-on collisions of 15 miles per hour. But even at that rate, when you combine 15 miles an hour with another vehicle moving 15 mph in the other direction, you get a combined impact of 30 mph. That's pretty impressive for a bumper car to take that kind of abuse day in and day out without so much as a scratch. As for my car, an impact of 5 mph against a stationary object is enough to send me off to the body shop with a bill of $500.

When did cars become so much about beauty and so little about transportation? Why is the average ding and dent so easy to get and so expensive and difficult to get rid of? Just knowing that there are cars out there on the road that cost upwards of a hundred thousand dollars makes me shudder. What would happen if I ever had an accident with one of those things? My insurance would never be the same, increasing by who known what. If I had things my way, cars would be designed much more like bumper cars and much less like luxury vehicles, and dent removal tools would be standard issue at the dealership for those just in case impacts that actually do cause damage to the body of the car.

I just hate the fact that the auto industry has taken advantage of the fact that insurance pays for all the little accidents out there, giving them the ability to charge huge premiums for car parts that are easily damaged. It puts us in a hard spot when a friend causes an accident with your can and you feel bad for them, not wanting their insurance to be adversely effected for three years. But you also don't love the idea of driving a car around that has a broken tail light and a cracked bumper. Cars are so fragile these days. So many of the outer components are made from cheap plastic and breakable fiberglass. If everything were made of metal, it would be so much easier to use simple dent removal tools and pull the dents and dings out of the vehicle. As it is, whole panels and bumpers have to get replaced. Will it ever change? I think not. I just wanted to rant for a little bit.

Thanks for reading my frustrations with how things are made these days in the auto industry. Cars of the future will hopefully be less susceptible to dents, dings, and damage.

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