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Old 02-06-2013, 06:00 PM   #1
Roadking64
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Rear end Damage

My 2009 Focus SE coupe was rear ended. I am interested in doing this myself. I found a guy who can paint a new cover but I am unsure about what may lie underneath the cover at this point, it just happened today. The car is driveable, but the civic that went under my rear end is messed up pretty bad!
I figured there is a bumper absorption piece, license plate light and another flat black trim piece that was broke that goes under the bumper and around the exhaust tip. These parts are about$400 at partsgeek.com. I bought a wheelwell from them for $25 and it was great. worked perfect. I have many tools, and buying more. rebuilt my harley motor last year and have done all kinds of work to cars over the years, but never body work. but this is mostly snap on pieces with a few screws. Can anyone tell me if its that hard to replace? Am I correct, just a bunch of snaps and a few screws? Appraiser is coming and I am going to use his parts/price list to figure out the best way to do this. Hell, I might make a $1000 for my pocket and have fun doing it.
thanks for your help.


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Old 02-06-2013, 11:25 PM   #2
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go to some body shops and get a couple appraisals first before talking to your insurance guy. And say nothing that you will be doing the work.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:13 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info.. sounds like good advice.. so ,, if they body shops are higher than the appraiser,, should I try to convince them for more money upfront? if so, will they oblige and how long does that take? not worried, car is fine and driveable and I have 2 other modes of transportation!
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:42 AM   #4
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Absolutely don't mention you're doing the work. And casually ask if the ins.co. will be checking out the quality themselves. They may want verification a shop did the work, depending on what you still owe on car. Some will not cut a check except in a body shop's name unless you own car clear and free of banker. Some are very antsy about owner doing repairs if they think you could let car later be repoed and they then suffer a loss later because car didn't sell as high as they thought it should. Get several estimates and toss the lower ones. Ask who they cut the check to.

Lots of time what's under cover is a styrofoam form insert and simple metal or plastic bumper that insert fits in, The styrofoam is way overpriced but if dent is simple then sometimes no need to even touch it, the cover covers any slighter damage. I've glued back together styrofoam cleanly broken in half to continue using it. As long as not crushed greatly. The bumper itself if metal sometimes easily pulled back into good enough shape that you can't tell at all once cover installed. Depending on forces involved and directions, the snap fasteners can shear or enlarge holes to not work again, I've drilled new holes to use hardware that positively screws down part solid to bypass buying a two or three hundred dollar part, who cares what holds part on if you can't see the backside, even use rivets, whatever needed. All that matters is does car look good once back together..............

I have an '00 that I stupidly ran into someone else with, $5K estimates in damage to front, I had just dropped insurance because car older. I fixed it for $600 (didn't fix airbags, not needed here in Texas for inspect), that was 2008, car still runs and drives perfectly now. I almost junked it, but once I realized the main box frame in front was still dead square then it became a challenge to see if I could recover the car. So, you could easily make that $1K back...............
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:06 AM   #5
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if you were rear-ended it's likely going to be ruled not your fault and so it's the other party's insurance that will pay. Unless you live in a no-fault state.

If you have comprehensive insurance than by all means file a claim against your OWN insurance if you do NOT live in a no-fault state. The reason is that your own insurance company will simply claim it against the other drivers insurance company and so they will not lose any money, thus they have no incentive to fight down the cost of repair. And your rates will not go up because blame will be assigned to the other driver.

If you have collision only then you can't claim against your own insurance they won't allow it. So instead you have to file a claim with the other company and this is where it can get ugly. They have a big incentive to not pay out. So they will argue over everything.

What you want to do in those cases is the following:

1) DON'T allow their insurance adjuster anywhere near your car until AFTER you have obtained estimates and given the high-bid ones to the insurance company. He will just write a rediculously low estimate and then they will stonewall and refuse to pay you anything higher. If you get the estimates first and then he writes a lowball estimate then it looks like they are trying to cheat you so you have a basis to argue from. if you can, don't let an insurance company adjuster near your car.

2) Go to the most expensive body shop in the city, the one that fixes the rich people's cars. There are likely 2-3 of those places. Get estimates from 3 of them. And also, make absolutely sure that they include parts scavenging labor. In some of these cases the parts are no longer available from the dealership or the aftermarket because the car is older, they are only available from a wrecker. I've had body shops give me book estimates for parts costs, then I make them call the place they would get the bumper or whatever from and they find out it's discontinued. So I then say "well WTF are you going to do if I tell you to repair the car" and get a bunch of mealymouth rubbish about how they will have to call around to wreckers and so on. In other words, they will have to spend hours of time sourcing a part from halfway across the country and of course they are going to charge a lot of extra for that. Make them put that extra time on the estimate.

3) Ask what body shop the other insurance company suggests and make a point of not going within a mile of it.

4) Make sure all police reports are filled out and filed immediately. List every possible bit of damage on the report. Also if you got ANY kind of medical injury - even a minor bruise, head got banged, whatever - put it in the report, even if you didn't go to the hospital.

5) Refuse to allow them to pay the body shop directly. If you are collission only and are filing a claim against the other drivers insurance, that insurance company cannot force you to accept a payment to a body shop.

6) DON'T allow them to total out the car. Find out the blue book of the car and take a payment at least $50 to $100 UNDER the blue book in order to prevent the car from being totaled. If they total it then your title is branded salvage and then the car becomes worthless even if you fix everything.

Insurance co's greatly prefer to total out cars because they know that once they total a car the driver will never be able to file a claim against them for further damage to the car again.

Insurance companies also have sweetheart deals with certain body shops in the city. There are body shops that are experts at cutting corners and just getting the car to LOOK ok but the damage isn't actually fixed, they do stuff like not hammering the dent out completely so you get inch thick layers of bondo, sanding and painting over rust instead of burning it out, buying very cheap aftermarket body parts that don't fit so well, and so on. If an insurance company that is liable for a claim is able to they will "steer" you to one of those shops for an estimate.

Also keep in mind the Insurance company's primary goal is to close the claim. Many will issue you a check only on condition that the check closes the claim. Once the claim has closed then you cannot add to it. So if in fact there IS any medical issues, you may need to pay the medical bills yourself and keep the claim open as long as your state allows it. In some states were people buy collision only they still have to buy personal injury protection and so you always claim medical against your own insurance regardless of who is at fault.

Anytime you get hit in a car, even if you feel fine, you should always complain loudly to witnesses and the other driver that your hurt or feeling sore. Of course don't overdo it because the last thing you want is some do-gooder calling an ambulance. But none of those witnesses will be helping you to argue against the insurance company weeks later and it's really none of their business whether you got injured in the accident or not, so you do not want them saying "he looked fine to me" if they get asked. And if a medical claim is ever involved believe me they will be asked.

Lastly, you gain an advantage to sound as stupid and dumb as possible. Insist on getting the check cut to you directly and when they ask, instead of telling them something reasonable, tell them that your aunt matildia got screwed over once when she got in an accident and the insurance company told her they were paying the body shop directly but didn't. In other words you want them believing that they will be arguing with a body shop over the price of the repair, and your just the proxy. If they think for a minute that your educated enough to do your own repair then they know that the entire thing is a giant game and all you want to do is profit from the repair and then they will have no qualms about fighting the price down.

Your time is worth something. You have had a lot of it wasted already, you wasted it when you had to stop and exchange info after the accident, your going to waste more by hauling your car around for estimates, etc. No matter how you slice it this is a financial loss to you that morally, the other driver (and by proxy his insurance company) owes you. Thus, do not feel the slighest qualm about pulling every trick in the book to jack the estimate for repair up as high as possible, no matter how high you get it, it won't make up for the total financial loss you take.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:03 PM   #6
Roadking64
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Thanks for the info and time to reply! I have pretty much done what most of you said. She admitted fault to her insurance and it was easy getting them to cut the check, and to the amount I expected as I took it to one of their preferred shops for a quote. I got a lot since she went under my rear end and dented up the spare tire pan. I have bought all the parts, new and with paint job, it should be about $800 for me to do this, plus a weekend day or two under the car, should be fun.

Only question I still have is this, how do I go about removing the old bumper cover and reattaching the new one? There is some sort of 'snap' on attachment on the left and right side that hold it on. Just not sure if its a special tool or just a 'lift and snap off' kind of thing.
thanks again..
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:02 PM   #7
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Seeing as how you were rear ended and more than likely not at fault in this accident. I would definitely recommend taking it to Ford dealerships that have body shops. They tend to give higher estimates than local body shops. As others have said, never let their appraiser near your car until you have had estimates on it.

As for the damage, as long as it was superficial I see no wrong in you doing the work yourself as most of it is pretty much straight forward and easy to follow. But I would at least make sure there was no structural damage before going forward with that plan.
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:47 PM   #8
Roadking64
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I did take it to ford dealer. that is who their preferred shop was. their estimate was only $300 more than the insurance adjuster and I got half of that once I explained i was doing the project myself. Took a gamble, but figured they couldnt do anything about it here in Missouri. Once I got the rental money, I was sitting good. There isnt structural damage that is noticeable. but once I get it all put together, i will get the body alignment checked, as both estimates said that was something I'd want done. Just wish I knew how to take off and put on that rear bumper!
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