Two men looking under hood of a car

The aftermath of a car accident can be extremely chaotic and stressful. The safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in the collision should always be the primary focus. But once the dust has settled and the immediate shock has subsided, it’s important to carefully inspect your car to assess any detectable damage and ensure it’s safe to drive.

A DIY car inspection after an accident is essential. Even a minor fender bender can result in vehicle damage that impacts safety and drivability. Document any changes that you notice so you can get your car professionally inspected and repaired at a reputable collision repair shop.

Here are our top 5 tips to assess damage to your car after an accident!

Tip 1: Prioritize Safety First

Police lights on top of police car

In the moments immediately following a collision, your first priority should be safety for yourself and those around you. If possible, move your car to a safe place such as the side of the road or a nearby parking lot. If your car cannot be driven, turn your hazard lights on to alert nearby drivers and walk a safe distance off the road. Never drive away from an accident, even a minor fender bender.

Once you and other drivers/passengers are in a safe location, check for any visible injuries and take note of any aches or pains. Call 911 and request medical attention if necessary.

Getting into an accident is never fun. From repairing your vehicle to dealing with insurance claims, a collision can put your life on hold. That’s why Mackin’s Auto Body offers helpful accident resources for drivers in need of assistance. Our staff is here to help!

Tip 2: Document the Scene

Once everyone is safe and accounted for, it’s important to document the scene as thoroughly and accurately as possible. When police arrive to take accident statements, you should be completely honest and transparent in your report.

If you can, take pictures of the scene as soon as possible to capture the position of the vehicles, any visible damage to your car, and road conditions. Collecting your own documentation of the scene will help you with any insurance claims or legal processes related to the accident. In addition to our reliable repair services, Mackin’s Auto Body will assist you with the claims process.

Tip 3: Assess Visible Damage

Before you inspect your car after an accident, make sure you’re in a safe location away from moving traffic so you have space to move around your car and look for signs of damage.

Some types of accident damage are immediately visible. From frame damage or a broken window after a rear-end collision to paint scratches resulting from a side swipe, you may be able to see obvious signs that your car is in need of repair. Other types of collision damage may be harder to spot, but still visible with a little effort.

Here’s what to do when assessing visible damage:

  • Walk around your vehicle and look for any noticeable paint damage, cracked windows, or structural damage.
  • Check the bumper and fender for cracks and dents.
  • Carefully run your hand along your car’s body panels and feel for any bumps or unevenness.
  • Check your car’s doors to see if there are any abnormal gaps; they should be flush with the body panels when closed.
  • Try to open your car’s doors, trunk, hood, and windows to ensure they function normally.
  • Take photos and notes of any damage you see during the inspection to provide to your insurance company and your auto body repair shop.

Tip 4: Check Under the Hood

Woman looking under hood of car checking engine

Not all vehicle damage will be immediately noticeable. There are many potential hidden damages that can occur due to an accident. While you might not be aware of this invisible damage until later, it can impact the longevity and functionality of your car.

In addition to checking the body of your vehicle, you’ll also want to look under the hood to check for any internal components that might have been compromised in the impact. In most modern vehicles, the engine and transmission are located at the front underneath the hood. Be sure to look for any obvious damage such as broken belts, smoke, or fluid leaks.

Unless you have experience working with cars, you may not be sure exactly what to look for. That’s why it’s important to reach out to a high-quality repair shop so you can have your vehicle thoroughly inspected by experts.

Tip 5: Don’t Ignore the Interior

While the most common damages in a collision will affect the exterior of your vehicle, there are instances where the interior can also be impacted, especially if the accident was serious and involved water or shattered glass.

Some interior damage to look for after an accident may include:

  • Ripped or torn upholstery
  • Broken radio or navigation system
  • Dents or scratches on the inside of the doors
  • Broken seat belts

Does Car Insurance Cover Repairs?

cracked and smashed windshield

In general, your car insurance will cover auto body repair costs as long as you have the right type(s) of car insurance. You need to have either collision or comprehensive insurance to cover accident damage (caused by a collision with another vehicle or an object) as well as damage caused by a natural disaster.

    1. What does liability insurance cover?
      Liability insurance comes standard with most auto insurance plans and is required in most states. If you are responsible for the accident, liability insurance will help to cover costs of the other driver’s repairs and medical expenses as well as your legal fees in the event of a lawsuit.
    2. Who pays for repairs after an accident?
      It depends on the auto body shop you choose. At Mackin’s, we take pride in providing old-fashioned, high-quality customer service – and that means we can work directly with your insurance provider, with your approval. We can accept payment directly from most major insurance companies, taking the pressure off you and speeding up the entire process.
    3. What types of collision damage are covered by car insurance?
      In general, collision and comprehensive car insurance will cover all types of accident damage, including but not limited to: bumper and fender damage, dents, cracked windshields and windows, deep paint scratches, suspension damage, rear-end damage, frame damage, and more.

Secure Your Peace of Mind

old time photo

At Mackin’s Auto Body, we understand how frustrating and stressful it can be to be involved in a collision. That’s why we go above and beyond to ensure that car owners in the Portland/SW Washington area have access to comprehensive, expert repair services.

We’ll do everything we can to minimize the hassle for you and keep you informed throughout the entire repair process so you can get back on the road quickly and safely.

Contact us today to get your questions answered and schedule a consultation.