Bumper damage certainly isn’t an uncommon occurrence for car owners. Bumpers are designed to take on impact. Whether it’s following a collision with another driver or from you accidentally tapping a lamp pole, you will most likely at some point have to repair your bumper. But if you’ve never gone through the process before, it can all seem a bit overwhelming. How serious is the damage? Do you file an insurance claim? How much will this all end up costing you? This post works to ease your concerns and answer several of the questions you may have when it comes time to fix your bumper.
Crash Course on Bumpers
Bumpers are a crucial part of your vehicle. They are on both the front and rear of your vehicle. A bumper is engineered to absorb impact and protect the rest of your vehicle from being demolished in a collision. But since they put themselves in the line of fire, bumpers are the most commonly damaged part of a vehicle. This is unfortunate given the fact that modern bumpers are very complex, and a number of features can be damaged just from a single accident. Bumpers contain components like lights and warning sensors that will need fixing if your bumper sustains enough damage. You must also tend to the trim and molding attached to the front and rear bumper. Due to all that goes into them, you always need to get your bumper looked at even after minor collisions. While it may just appear to be a bit dented on the outside, you don’t know what kind of attention the interior needs.
The Types of Bumper Damage
There are a few different types of damage your bumper may experience in its lifetime. Each of them come with their own issues and ways to repair them. They also all cost different prices to fix, which will be explored in the later sections. Outlined below are three common types of bumper damages.
Dents are some of the simplest kinds of damages to your bumper. They tend to happen following a low-speed collision. Maybe you tapped a trash can or lamp post. Other vehicles can accidentally tap your bumper as well, creating a fairly light dent. Dents are pretty straightforward to fix, and you maybe can even do it yourself in your garage. But if there is deeper damage, the bumper most likely needs professional attention.
Rear-end damage is caused by someone colliding with your vehicle. This most commonly happens after you suddenly brake and the driver behind you doesn’t have enough time to react. Sometimes, the damage can be minor but, most of the time, the bumper will be pretty badly dented, and you may even suffer some injuries from the crash. Rear-end damage may call for your bumper to be replaced based on how bad it is.
Deep Paint Scratches
Deep paint scratches and a bit more severe than dents and damage your car’s exterior paint job. It typically takes impacts at higher speeds for your car’s paint job to be ruined. This can happen following a collision or from you collide with a stationary object. Repairs for such a scratch are going to take some time and require a detailed paint job.
Bumper Repairs vs. Replacement
If your bumper is damaged, there are a couple of ways you can go about handling it. For smaller issues, you can usually just have your bumper repaired, but more devastating damage could require a full replacement of your bumper. It all really comes down to the extent of the damage on the bumper. Minor dents and scratches are pretty common when you own a car, and auto body shops tend to have all the tools on hand needed to repair them. However, if your bumper sustains deep cracks or partial detachment, it may be wise to just replace the entire bumper. As outlined in a previous section, modern bumpers are incredibly complex and have a lot of internal parts. What appears to just be a dent on the outside could be affecting a number of things internally, like lights and sensors. If such has been diagnosed by your mechanic, that may be a better case for a bumper replacement. Make note that replacements will cost more than repairs and should be done only if you and your mechanic truly think that is no way to save your current bumper.
Bumper Repair Costs
It is tricky to pinpoint how much you will be spending to have your bumper repaired. Different shops price repairs differently. Cost is also dependent on your vehicle’s make and model. Paint is another factor since different types are set at different price points. For these reasons, there are only some rough estimations provided to aid you in the process of getting your bumper repaired. Some repairs can cost you a few hundred dollars, while others reach up into the thousands.
Paintless Dent Repair
A paintless dent repair is a fairly straightforward process. This occurs when your bumper is dented, but your vehicle’s paint hasn’t been disrupted. Mechanics typically use a few tools and some heat in order to pop the dent out. The process tends to be short, and your bumper is practically good as new once they are done. Paintless dent repairs will generally cost you around $150-$250, depending on how many dents you need to be repaired. Keep in mind that if you have a plastic bumper, you may not be able to have it repaired. Plastic bumpers tend to need more than just a simple buffing.
Traditional Dent Repair
Traditional dent repairs are similar to paintless dent repairs except for the fact that they have disturbed your vehicle’s exterior paint. Due to this, the damaged area on your bumper will have been smoothed out and repainted to match your car exactly. This type of repair will be necessary if you have deep paint scratches and can cost you anywhere from $250-$600. Again, a lot depends on the kind of vehicle you drive and the extent of repair needed.
Scratches on Bumper
Scratches on your bumper can vary in damage. Some of them are light and usually fairly simple to fix. Other scratches may be deeper and result in paint chips so severe they reveal the metal or plastic material of the bumper. For these reasons, the amount of work required to fix bumper scratches can vary. No two scratches are exactly alike. You may be paying around $50-$600 to repair a scratched bumper.
Cracks in Bumper
Minor cracks and fractures on your bumper can be repaired by filling the cracks with plastic filler. Once it has been filled, the mechanic will smooth the area and go about painting your bumper. Such repairs can cost you anywhere from $300-$500. But don’t be surprised if you are paying higher than estimated. What type of paint your car requires can greatly affect how much you will be paying for the repair.
Bumper Replacement Costs
When the damage is severe enough, you’ll probably want to consider replacing your bumper. But, as has been explored in a previous section, it can be a bit more costly than simply getting it repaired. The type of vehicle you own plays a major role in the cost of replacement. This is due to the fact that typically these parts come from the manufacturer. The bumper alone is one fee, but you also have to factor in the cost for paint, labor, and materials needed to carry out the replacement. A new bumper can cost you anywhere from $100-$1,000 depending on the vehicle type and whether it’s an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or aftermarket bumper. You can also expect to pay another couple of hundred dollars for paint. You will also have to pay an additional fee for the cost of labor, which can get pricey depending on how complex of a bumper your car has. Everything is only escalated if you have a luxury vehicle. Bumpers for luxury vehicles can be $1,500. SUVs and pickup trucks also have pretty expensive bumpers to replace.
Be Mindful of Labor Cost
It is important that you remember labor costs when figuring how much you will be paying for a bumper repair or replacement. Labor costs are generally determined by how much work it will take a shop’s employees to fix your car’s bumper. Hourly labor rates vary greatly across the country. You rarely will find shops that charge the same, nor is there much of a fixed standard rate as some of the labor cost is determined based on your car and its issues. On average, auto body repair shops may charge somewhere between $50 and $215 per hour for repairs. Repairing a bumper can take upwards of four hours, depending on the case.
Some of the factors a body shop uses to figure their labor cost rates include:
- Skill levels of the technicians
- Type of repair shop you go to (independent, dealership, etc.)
- Makes and models of the vehicles needing repair (as always, luxury vehicles cost more to repair)
Filing Insurance Claim vs. Paying Out of Pocket
When it comes to deciding if you should file an insurance claim or pay out of pocket, there are three questions you need to ask yourself:
- What is covered under your insurance policy?
- What is your car insurance deductible?
- Were you at fault?
If you only have basic auto insurance, there is pretty much nothing insurance can do for your vehicle. However, if you have full coverage, which includes collision and comprehensive coverage, you are much better protected and may be able to file a claim. If this is your case, you will need to look at your insurance deductible next.
To fix minor damage to your bumper, it may cost less than what your deductible is set at. For example, if your deductible is $500, but the repair cost is $400, you’re better off paying out of pocket. But if your deductible is $500 and repairs cost $1,000, it would be wiser to file an insurance claim so your provider can pay the remaining $500.
When it comes to expensive bumper repairs or replacements, they are usually the result of a collision with another vehicle. Determining who was at fault for the accident will help establish how repair bills get paid for. If you were at fault, your liability insurance should pay for the other driver’s vehicle. However, your car will only be covered if you have collision coverage. When the other party is responsible for the accident, their liability insurance should cover your vehicle’s repairs.
Save on Bumper Repair Bills
As you have probably picked up on by now, damage to your bumper is going to cost you a pretty penny to fix. However, there are some ways you can try to curb the cost of repairs. Outlined below are some tips on saving money when you need to get your bumper fixed. Consumers can pull multiple estimates for repair and even try to request different materials to save money. You also don’t have to take it to a shop at all.
It’s important that you are getting your car fixed at a place that you not only trust but has budget-friendly prices. Your insurer may suggest a repair shop near you, but you do not have to go to it. Try to shop around and pull estimates from a variety of auto repair places to see where price ranges are averaging. But do not let price be the only factor you consider. Places with appealing rates may not always provide the best assistance. You should entrust your car with a shop that you believe to be knowledgeable and reliable.
If you’re on the fence about paying all this money to get your bumper fixed, there’s a good chance you won’t even need to take it to a mechanic. Some bumper dents and cracks can be repaired right in your own garage using equipment you already have on hand, like a heat gun and crowbar. There are countless video tutorials online that can help you with the process. Just make sure that you are comfortable around cars and using the required equipment. If you mess it up, you may actually end up paying more than you would have if you took it to a mechanic in the first place. Do-it-yourself is still a very practical, affordable option that’s worth considering if you are strapped for cash.
Switch to More Affordable Materials
Depending on the auto body repair shop you go to, you may be able to request they use certain materials in order to drive down the cost of the repairs. This could especially work with bumper replacements. For example, you might want to consider replacing your current bumper with an aftermarket part instead of an OEM part. Aftermarket parts are more affordable but can be of lower quality. You should weigh both the pros and cons when it comes to cutting costs with repair parts. Talk with your mechanic to see what options are available for your vehicle if you have concerns about paying for repairs.
Don’t let one collision drain you financially; get an affordable car insurance quote today. Insurance Navy offers free quotes online via our website and mobile app. You can also give us a call at 888-949-6289. More assistance may be offered in person at one of our many conveniently-located storefronts.