Auto Body Damage Explained

July 2, 2019 9:54 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The price you’ll have to pay for professional repairs depends on the level of damage to your vehicle: minor, moderate, severe or a total loss. What does these designations mean? What do you say when your auto insurance company asks how badly your vehicle is damaged? Here’s what you need to know about the four types of auto body damage and when you should—and shouldn’t—move forward with collision repair in Visalia, CA.

Minor damage: Level 1

In the world of automobiles and auto insurance, the minor damage category typically refers to the smaller, less concerning damages. It’s more of a cosmetic situation than anything else, meaning replacement parts are not necessary. This list includes scrapes, scratches, scuff marks and dings, like a small dent on the hood, a cracked headlight or damage to the plastic on the bumper cover. If you decide to fix minor damage, you can expect the work to take one to two hours at most.

Moderate damage: Level 2

A vehicle that has level 2 damage usually has a large dent in at least one area—the hood, a door, the fender, anywhere on the car. Other signs of moderate auto damage include jammed doors and deployed airbags. If your airbags deploy, a thorough inspection by a mechanic is needed to determine whether the impact has caused damage to crucial parts or to internal connections. The airbags should be checked for damage and reinserted into their designated storage compartments.

Severe damage: Level 3

Level 3 damage is very heavy damage. Everything from bent or twisted frames to broken axels and other suspension damage is placed in this category. In severe collision situations—such as a rollover or getting T-boned at high speed—the airbags almost always deploy. This type of vehicle damage is so severe that salvaging it or any of its parts may not be in the cards.

Total loss

This final category references catastrophic collision or impact damage—in other words, vehicles that are a total loss. Cars that are a total loss have sustained damages that exceed their actual cash value as determined by your insurance company. Your insurance may deem it a total loss when the cost of repair exceeds what your vehicle is worth. However, they must give you a written notice explaining what a total loss means to them, how they determined your car’s value and what you should do if you don’t agree with their conclusion.

Reputable auto insurance companies use evaluation services to figure out the values of their clients’ vehicles, but they are required to give you the appraisal or valuation reports they used to determine the value of your vehicle so you can dispute and potentially prove a higher value. Many car owners in this situation will investigate the fair market value of their cars on sites like Edmunds or Auto Trader.

Tom’s Body & Paint Inc. is here to help you with collision repair in Visalia, CA. Call us today for more information!

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