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Parking Lot Scrape turns very expensive

by Jim

The other day, I backed into another car in a supermarket parking lot.

It was your typical "nudge" of bumper to bumper that often occurs in lots. This nudge left a slight scratch on the other party's plastic bumper.

Most people would wave it off as too minor for repair. The other party, however, was concerned because their car is leased.

Anyway, they've presented an estimate from a body shop for $652.
This floored me and I question whether the body shop is padding.

My question is -- should I go ahead and file a claim with my insurance company (USAA; New York State)and give them my take on this, or settle out of pocket so as to avoid a premium hike?


Hi Jim,

Well, it depends. If you think this person can come back and hunt you back for more money (i.e. the repairs are not done correctly, so they have to redo, and/or there is a possible injury), then I would let your insurance deal with it.

If you think this person is straight and they do not want to "take advantage" of the situation, I would pay them the estimate, but I would have them sign a release of any and all claims against you. Basically, you pay them once their estimate and nothing else after that. IF they don't want to sign this, then turn it into insurance.

$652 is not as much for a claim and it could increase your premium a little. You will end up paying on the long run. However, you should protect your interest in case this person starts to treat you like a "cash cow."

Good Luck,

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