Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products, including home, life, auto, and commercial, and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, mainly in the insuranc...

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UPDATED: Oct 19, 2021

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Important facts to know...

  • Bumpers are engineered to be able to absorb the impact of a low-speed collision but can still be damaged
  • If your bumper is damaged or destroyed in an accident, you’ll need collision coverage for your insurer to pay
  • Before your own auto insurance policy pays, you’ll have to cover your collision deductible and the insurer will pay the remainder
  • When filing a collision claim, you may have to worry about your future personal rates going up
  • If the other party is at fault for the accident, your bumper coverage will be covered under a third-party claim

If you collide with another car or some other object, one of the first things that is going to make contact is your bumper. A dented bumper is one of the most common damages sustained to private passengers vehicles when they are in even the lowest speed accidents. Without that bumper though, people could suffer injuries more easily during accidents, so it’s still a good thing they exist, even if they get damaged.

The entire purpose of the bumper is to absorb the impact so that components under the hood shift as little as possible after a collision.

It would be very discouraging to auto insurance consumers if they learned that their bumpers weren’t covered under their insurance, especially since the bumper is designed to help mitigate injuries and loss as much as possible when there’s a collision.

Luckily, your bumper damage will be covered as long as it’s sustained in a covered loss.

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What type of bumper damage is covered?

Auto insurance isn’t meant to be some sort of warranty that covers your car bumper to bumper. If that were the case, there’d be no reason to have insurance and a warranty. Each product is necessary, but one doesn’t replace the need for the other.

Even though auto insurance is the only one legally required, you should always do a cost-benefit analysis before rejecting a warranty.

Auto insurance strictly covers damage that is sustained in a sudden and unexpected loss. If the damage to something covered under warranty happened over time as opposed to happening suddenly, it would be excluded even if you had the appropriate coverage.

Here are examples of losses that your insurance would pay for with the right coverage:

  • Damage sustained in a multi-car collision with other vehicles and or cyclists
  • Damage sustained in a single-car accident with a pole, tree, or another object
  • Damage sustained after contact with a live animal like a deer or dog
  • Damage sustained when the vehicle is stolen and then recovered
  • Damage caused by a vandal during an act of vandalism
  • Damage sustained in a storm or after a flood
  • Damage to the bumper caused by a runaway cart in a parking lot

Before filing any insurance claims after an accident, make sure that whatever has been damaged is covered, that way there won’t be any confusion.

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What type of bumper damage isn’t covered?

There’s a long list of different types of damages that are covered, but that has to leave you wondering what type of damage is excluded. After all, it doesn’t seem like there are many forms of damage that aren’t mentioned.

While there is a tiny category of damages that aren’t covered, it’s important to know what they are. Here’s are some of the claims that can be denied:

  • Damage sustained to the bumper when the owner intentionally strikes or damages the car
  • Damage sustained to the bumper while the vehicle is being operated by an excluded driver
  • Damage sustained when the driver intentionally causes an accident out of anger
  • Rust damage that worsens over time because of oxidation
  • Damage to the bumper after an at-fault accident when you don’t have the right physical damage coverage
  • Damage to the bumper because of a theft or vandalism without having comprehensive coverage
  • Warped or peeling paint that worsens over time

Plus, anything that warranties would cover. You would want to see what sort of warranties come with your vehicle, to make sure that even minor damage would be taken care of. Plus that way, you would know if you had to have the repair done under warranty or through your insurance policy.

What type of coverage do you need for an accident?

If you’re in an at-fault accident and your bumper has gotten the worst of it then you’ll need collision coverage for any type of first-party protection. Your car insurance doesn’t pay for your own repairs unless you have collision on the vehicle that’s damaged.

Collision insurance also pays if someone runs into your bumper and they don’t have insurance as long as you pay your deductible.

What type of coverage pays for non-accident damage?

Getting in an accident is scary for sure, but you don’t have to experience even a minor accident in order to end up with major damage that needs to be repaired.

If you have a mishap in a parking lot, something falls on your car, someone vandalizes the car or your bumper somehow catches fire, you’ll need comprehensive coverage to pay for it. Comprehensive insurance is the other half of your physical damage coverage.

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How much will your insurance pay for a bumper?

Insurance companies set limits. If there weren’t limits, you could claim thousands of dollars for a minor repair so you could get the work done at a repair shop that only high end vehicle owners go to. Some people would even attempt to cover work that is considered regular maintenance, which is why there are limits. Attempting to pass off normal wear and tear as damage isn’t going to make it past insurance companies.

The limits for third-party claims are strict but limits for your own damage claims can go up and down depending on the value of your car.

Insurance companies will only pay up to your car’s actual cash value when settling a claim for any damage no matter how minor or major. Anytime the damage goes above and beyond what the market says the car is worth, the insurer will only pay the value of the car. This is why it’s critical to understand how depreciation works; your car slowly loses value over time. It’s only worth a certain amount of money at any given time, and it’s never going to be as much as you paid for it.

In addition to ACV limits, the company can also set limits to how much they will pay by the hour for labor and aftermarket parts. Natural wear and tear is usually not covered either.

What is the average cost of bumper repair?

Fixing a bumper isn’t cheap. There are federal guidelines that say that all modern bumpers must be able to absorb the impact from an accident if you’re traveling at least five miles per hour.

Since the engineering requirements are more strict than ever, the cost to replace a bumper can be higher than you’d expect.

The cost to replace your bumper is between $100 and $1000 for just the bumper. It depends on the material that the bumper is made of and where the part was purchased.

You also have to factor in the cost to paint the bumper, which may be high depending on the paint used on the rest of the car. This is why comprehensive plans can come in handy; they can end up saving you a lot of money down the road.

Your full coverage insurance will cover the bumper damage. If you’re not to blame for the loss, file a claim against the other driver’s insurance. Don’t automatically assume that you’re fully protected.

You may not be satisfied with the policy you have currently, especially if it doesn’t include complete coverage that would fix your bumper. Check your policy, price the cost to buy insurance elsewhere online, and then build a new comprehensive policy. If you need assistance, contact your provider to see if they’d be able to help. Compare car insurance quotes and options today using our free rate comparison tool below.

References:

  1. http://www.iii.org/article/understanding-your-insurance-deductible
  2. https://www.irmi.com/online/insurance-glossary/terms/t/th ird-party-liability-coverage.aspx
  3. http://www.360financialliteracy.org/Topics/Insurance/Cars-and-Auto-Insurance/Tax-Planning-Tips-Auto-Insurance
  4. https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-comprehensive-coverage-527110
  5. http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/100215/how-car-insurance-companies-value-cars.asp
  6. http://www.iii.org/article/will-my-insurance-pay-loss-my-car%C2%92s-value-if-it-damaged-collision
  7. https://one.nhtsa.gov/cars/problems/studies/Bumper/Index.html
  8. http://cars.costhelper.com/fix-car-bumper-cost.html