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Overhead view of a person with a wide-brim hat in front of a spread out map. They are pointing to a location, and have two cameras, a passport, sunglasses, a macbook and a cup of coffee spread out on top of it.
While you’re planning your vacation, don’t forget to re-familiarize yourself with your auto coverage.

 

A road trip is intended to be fun, not to be spent at a repair shop. However, accidents happen when you least expect them and it’s a good idea to have a plan if they do. Here are a few considerations to help you figure out this tough situation.

Know your insurance coverage

Insurance coverage depends on where your trip takes you. Before you leave on your trip, check your insurance policy to see where you are covered and review the details of your coverage plan.

You are likely covered if your trip is in the U.S. or Canada. If your trip is to Mexico, Central America, South America, or any other location, contact your insurance agent regarding coverage.

As you travel, remember that laws are different from state to state and different in other countries. Check the driving and insurance laws for the location you are going (and all points in between). The minimum requirements for insurance coverage vary in different areas.

No matter where you are located, reporting the accident to your insurance company is the same.

If you get in an accident

Firstly, you’ll need to assess the damage. If your vehicle is still driveable, you must decide if you want it repaired at home or where you are at that moment. Your insurance agent can help you work out the details.

Consider whether you have a long drive back, and if driving such a distance in your vehicle’s state would be dangerous. Even if your vehicle appears to only have exterior body damage, it would be wise to get an auto body tech to take a look at it. Most body shops will give free estimates on damage.

Scheduling a tow

If you need a tow, most insurance policies will cover the cost within a certain radius from the accident. The insurance company can also schedule the tow no matter where you are located and can reserve a rental car for you, if needed. If you choose to have your vehicle towed home and you are far away, discuss the coverage with your insurance agent. It’s likely you will have to cover the cost for a long-distance tow.

If you need repair on your Texas road trip, Fogle Collision Centers has shops across Central Texas to meet your auto body needs.

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Small round dents stand out on the roof of a dark blue car.
Hail damage is among one of the common causes of small dents.

As a car owner, you have a decision to make about repairs if you have a dent in your vehicle that isn’t major damage. The smaller dents may be the result of hail, a minor accident, or anything else that struck your vehicle. More significant damage requires a visit to an auto body shop.

With smaller dents, you could choose not to make the repairs, especially if the repairs could cost more than the value of your vehicle. However, the fix may be easier than you think.

What is paintless dent repair?

Paintless dent repair, or PDR, is a process of removing dents from a vehicle without altering the finish on the vehicle.

Often, these dents are fixed by gently working out the dent from the back side of the panel. Some can be fixed pulling or suctioning the outside of the dent to pop it back out. This method is often for small dents, like hail damage.

This doesn’t work as well for fixing dents that have a crease or have damaged paint. The dent may be able to be popped out, but you’ll still need paint work to make it look like new. These, or bigger damage, are better fixed by traditional body repair.

Finding the right repair

As with any auto body work, the best process to finding the right place for repairs is shopping around. With damage from a major collision, the repairs must be made at an auto body shop. If the damage consists of smaller dents, you may have more options. Some repair shops that don’t specialize in body work will offer PDR.

If you have a regular body shop, ask if they provide PDR and what the price difference would be for that service versus collision repair.

Listen to the recommendations from auto technicians. If more than one suggests collision repair over PDR, it may be because the damage is greater than it appears. For example, a dent in a door may not look significant but could have unseen damage to mechanisms inside. This would require collision repair to fix the internal problem.

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