So you figured in a minor fender bender on EDSA with a fellow motorist. You step out of your cars, assess the damage, and try to sort things out. He admits he was in the wrong and asks if you can just settle this then and there for a couple of thousand pesos to avoid any more hassle.
Looking at your bumper, there really isn’t much to it—just a dent that looks like it can be easily addressed by a local mechanic. Since you’re both in a rush, you shake on it and are off on your way.
Well, you might have just made a mistake.
During a recent Calamansi livecast, lawyer and car enthusiast Carlo Chungunco said that this might be a case of an accident you should not immediately walk away from. According to him, the only time the true cost of an accident will emerge is when you are given an estimate by the casa or a mechanic.
“You should watch out for bumpers, headlamps, taillamps. What happens is yung bumper, front and back, they’re designed to crumple. Inside a bumper, you’ll see like a piece of styrofoam, so that will absorb the impact,” he explained.
“But yung nangyayari doon is you have to replace [either] that piece or the whole bumper. So it’s designed to break apart kasi it’s supposed to absorb the impact of any accidents small or big. So, it might look like a small hit, but when you look inside the bumper, you might realize yung impact styrofoam mo is gone na. That will necessitate replacing to make your car roadworthy again.”
The same goes for headlights and taillights, Chungunco stressed: “Headlamps, taillamps, yun medyo mahal kasi these parts are priced by dealers. I would know, I used to work for one. They’re priced by dealers higher kasi they know that these are parts that break easily and are normally covered by insurance,” he shared, adding that paint damage that looks like it can be buffed out might actually cost more than you initially think.
Chungunco said that you should always get an estimate before signing any documents or agreeing to anything: “When in doubt, you have each other’s contact details. Hopefully, you have a police report, you can go to your casa and have them give a quick estimate or maybe call a mechanic friend to drop by and see the damage.”
That’s sound advice. Again, looks can be deceiving when it comes to minor-looking car damage. If you’re iffy about costs following a minor accident, go the proper route with a police report and an exchange of contact information. Have you ever been in this situation?