After a collision, most people are concerned with getting back on the road as soon as possible. However, if you’ve found out that your vehicle has suffered frame damage, you might wonder whether you’re looking at a total loss.
The answer is… maybe. While many people believe a bent frame automatically means a totaled vehicle, there are many times when our skilled technicians can repair extensive structural damage and get your vehicle back on the road.
How Do Insurance Companies Determine a Total Loss?
First, it’s important to understand how insurance companies determine whether your vehicle is a total loss. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not a matter of appearance or even safety. Instead, the decision is based on simple math.
The insurer calculates the total cost of repairing your vehicle and compares that to the current value of the vehicle. If the cost of repair is higher than an acceptable percentage of your vehicle’s value or it will cost more to repair the car than it’s worth, the insurance company will consider your vehicle a total loss and cut you a check.
The Difference in Modern Car Construction
While frame damage often used to mean a total loss, modern car design makes it easier and less expensive to get these vehicles back on the road. Most of today’s modern cars and car-based crossover SUVs are designed using a “unibody construction,” meaning that the body panels and underlying chassis are all one piece.
These vehicles are designed so that an impact to a pivotal point on the chassis will cause the unibody or the frame to break, bend, or become otherwise compromised. This helps to absorb the impact, so the driver and passengers are less likely to be injured. Unfortunately, that also means that, in most cases, if an accident has caused damage to the vehicle’s body, there’s likely also damage to the frame.
The good news is that the frames of most modern vehicles also come in pieces. If one piece is damaged, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire frame is a loss. In many cases, the damaged section can be replaced while leaving the rest of the frame intact. When this can be done at a cost that’s acceptable to the insurance company, it’s likely that they will pay for the repair rather than declaring your vehicle a total loss.
Beware of Driving a Vehicle with a Damaged Frame
Drivers should never continue using a vehicle that’s suffered structural damage and hasn’t been professionally repaired. These damages impact the vehicle’s ability to keep you and your passengers safe if you were to get into another accident. If the structure of a vehicle is damaged, it’s not stable and therefore isn’t safe to drive.
It should be noted that a vehicle that’s suffered frame damage could end up having other mechanical issues later on even if it is professionally repaired. These vehicles also have a lower resale value. According to CARFAX, a car or truck that’s had structural damage is worth 30 to 70 percent less than the same model without any damage.
Can Your Vehicle Be Repaired? Find Out Today!
The best way to find out whether your vehicle can be safely repaired to take it to a reputable body shop. At Auto Worx Collision Center, we’ll give you a fair and honest estimate. If we don’t think we can repair your vehicle back to its previous condition, we’ll let you know!
We’re committed to providing a stress-free experience for all of our customers and will even help you file your claim with the insurance company. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and experience the Auto Worx difference for yourself.