Dinged a car with a kayak - suggestions?

-- Last Updated: Aug-23-16 4:07 PM EST --

Not while moving -- this was in the lot at a local park while loading. Never happened before but I'd been boxed in (after trying to park out of the way) and the wind caught my 30 lb SOF as I tried to slide it up. The wooden tip of the upswept bow just barely clipped the other vehicle's door. It was less than a 1" long shallow ding but right on a styling crease in the middle of the door panel -- did not even scratch through the paint. Yeah, I probably could have just driven away but that's not me -- I hate when people damage my car and don't own up to it.

I located the car owner, let her know it was me who had nicked it and offered to pay for having it repaired. I've had such dings repaired on my own cars and recently got an estimate of $700 for far more extensive rust-through damage on both rear quarter panels of the Subaru I sold last year. I've even fixed larger dings like this myself by pulling off the inside door panel, tapping the dent out with hammer and a piece of wood, smoothing it with some Bondo, priming it and getting a local shop to shoot it with matching paint and buff it out for $50. So I figured it would be from $100 to $150 to get the repair done.

So I get the call this morning from the car owner and she claims the estimate from the garage she patronizes is over $500! Nothing fancy about the damaged car, a late model import sedan in the common dull silver finish.

So I have two questions for anybody who's had this happen -- first, does one's car or homeowner's insurance cover such events? I have $250 deductible on both and no claims ever. Second, have you had such repairs done recently and, if so, what did they cost you? Because this seem like an exorbitant price for such a tiny repair.

No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.

First, you are a good person
for being honest and responsible, and my congrats to you for that.

Secondly, why not tell the person that you think the estimate is high and you would like to get two more estimates from reputable auto body repair shops and then go from there.

jack L

most shops

– Last Updated: Aug-23-16 7:08 PM EST –

want to paint the entire door for any scratch or ding. They may even blend in surrounding areas. That is what they get for that. I had a brand new Chrysler 300 SRT-8 in black and the stump removal guy hit front fender with a rock when grinding a stump. Tiny chip but hey I didn't want to look at it. If it was my truck I would not of even said anything. He ground the stump for nothing sadly. He did put of protection and car was fairly far away. I ask if he wanted me to move it.

There was a service around here where the pop out dings where there is no paint damage. Was on TV so try googling car dent removal in your area.

Ask to see the written estimate.
Am betting it’s a minimal charge to fix the dent with the balance going for a paint job on the entire door.

Only reason I know that is I backed my 2016 Honda Fit into a hidden log at a launch site and put a dent in the lower portion of my rear plastic bumper and scratched off some of the paint. Repair shop quoted a bit over $500 to heat gun the bumper dent and paint it. Paint portion of that bill was $350. My deductible is $500. Second quote was a couple thousand as they wanted to replace the entire bumper (in their dreams…)

I’ve opted to have them do the heat gun work but not the paint job. Figured I’ll buy a couple of kayak bumper stickers from Pnet and stick them over the missing paint. Bumper is plastic and $4 is a better deal than $350.

Agree with JackL that you should get estimates from other repair shops and specifically if suction repair would fix such a small dent. Also check with your insurance agent. In Michigan it would be covered under no-fault (we pay the highest car insurance rates in the nation).

Accolades to your strength of character and ethics.

Try homeowners
Once my bicycle put a dent in a brand new Lincoln. My homeowners covered it since the bike is something that is normally kept at home. Where do you keep your kayak?

My bike hit that Lincoln in the nineties. The dent was only about a the size of a quarter. It was a few hundred bucks back then.


agent told me to file a claim
Unfortunately, since the dent is on the crease line in the door it can’t be suctioned out and will require tapping out from the inside and then some body putty. Cars used to have sacrificial chrome trim strips along that vulnerable area but now that they all have to be “aerodynamic” those features are gone.

Since we both have State Farm car and home insurance, my agent (who I finally reached this afternoon) said to file a claim and they’ll see to it that it gets a fair estimate and I’ll only have to pay $250 deductible. I’ve been paying them around $1400 a year for 12 years with no claims so it’s the least they can do. He didn’t say whether it would be a car or home claim.

I did suggest that the car owner just wait until she’s having other service done on the car and having any other dings touched up. It’s cheaper to have them all done at once since it’s the paint mixing, spraying and cleanup that are the time sucks on body work.

Good of you to be honest
Unfortunately, a dent that cannot be removed by the likes of Dent Doctor et al IS expensive to have repaired at a body shop.

If paint is broken or the dent removal means breaking paint surface, to match the rest of the door means repainting the entire door, at minimum.

You are actually lucky that the estimate is not higher, sad to say.

repair inflation
Yes, I suppose car repairs have undergone substantial inflation in the 3 decades since I used to do the books for my ex-boyfriend’s foreign car repair and body shop. I suspect they got the estimate from a dealer who subs out such repairs, so there would have been a markup as well. Better for the car owner if we file a claim anyway since they may be able to get a rental car gratis while it’s in the shop.

that’s karma for you
Glad you’re covered. Letting the owner know was the right thing to do, the suggestion about waiting to fix a bunch of bodywork at once was a bonus. Good on you.


– Last Updated: Aug-24-16 9:16 AM EST –

is for the panel that dent is in. Not the gouge, the panel. Panel needs match the adjacent panel color.

Your position is repairing damage to the state before the damage. Thus gouging the door on an Apache already pocked with bondo filled holes is different than repairing a well cared for panel on an Aston Martin.

Prices are high but everyone wants a split level rancho in the burbs so .......prices are hi for everyone.


Did you read the OP?
Late-model car with silver finish.

Not an old junker, and metallic paint is harder to match than enamel tones.

I’m sure he has a fix
…that somehow involves drills, hammers, cardboard, duct tape, and two paddle floats.

He should make an amphicar
Those materials sound like a recipe for a Kinetics contestant.

2014 VW Jetta on a lease so it is probably clearcoat as well. Fortunately, the owner found a shop that will do it for $435 and I turned in the claim, so it will only cost me $185 out of pocket, and she’ll get a courtesy car for the day it’s in the shop.

metallic paint
yes costly esp the clear coat requiring a panel redo…

odd, I never trust folk with metallic paint.

see the video of woman in MB backing into a Ferrari at a GT meeting ?

familiar with car painting
I used to do prep work on vintage car and motorcycle bodywork restorations that my ex-boyfriend did in his shop, so I’m familiar with the processes. German cars tend to have particularly crappy paint – at least the one I hit is new enough that the substandard clearcoat hasn’t degraded yet (which makes blending a repair a real hassle).

I manage a collision repair centre and see this kind of damage all the time. If the paint is not damaged, it may be a candidate for “Paintless Dent Repair”. Even if it is on the style line! Contact your local body shop and see who is qualified and available in your area, provided they aren’t all out chasing hail storms!

Now THAT will be a repair bill.

Dent Wizard

– Last Updated: Aug-25-16 12:13 PM EST –

You might want to look into any local companies that can rub the dents out, such as Dent Wizards. They rub the dents out , pushing the metal back into proper position without damage to the paint.

note on coverage for kayak drops
Finally got the claim filed with State Farm today and learned something that might be of interest to other paddlers. According to the claims agent, if the kayak had slid OFF my roof rack to hit and damage the car beside me, they would have filed it under my auto insurance. But since I dinged the other car when the boat slipped off balance as I was trying to load it (and it was not yet on the rack) it gets filed under my household liability insurance as an “accident” (gravity and wind were factors) and I won’t have to pay a deductible.

The car owner found a shop that will do it for $480 total. I’m pretty familiar with body work and the ding was too sharp to be “popped out”. It had actually deformed the metal enough that they will have to fill and sand it to reshape the trim line.

Bottom line is that I won’t try to solo load a kayak again with a car parked that close beside mine.