A little general strategy question related to accidents. I have a 93 G20
I was trying to get to work early on Monday in the big snowstorm on the highway, and basically lost the rear end in the middle of the highay (I think I must have got into a rut or something, I was going straight ahead), tried to correct, spun the car and hit the highway divider wih the right side of the front bumper. It was a one car accident. I have not reported it to insurance, and the car remains driveable.
The damage looks surprisingly minimal (I thought the whole frint end would be done), the right front bumper cover and the licens plate holder are done, but the bumper itself looks ok. The problem is that everything is shifted over, the hood is obviously out of alignment, as is the bumper. There is a strange noise also coming from the engine occasionally, a whirring sound normally around the idle speed. There also seems to be a rattle coming from the right front that I don't remember hearing.
I have taken it to 5 body shops so far, and 4 of them have estimated $450 to $600 to put it on the machine and pull the frame back into spec, assuming nothing is broken underneath the car once they get it up on the machine. None of these places have put anything in writing. Those 4 places have told me that the bumper damage is cosmetic, and would need to be fixed if I cared about how it looked. One place told me I needed to have the bumper replaced, a bunch of other stuff done and that it would be between $1,000-$2,000 and that I should call the insurance company.
My deductible is $500, should I just take a chance that one of the places can get the car fixed under $1,000, rather than reporting it to the insurance company? I have a feeling that there's something rubbing in the engine, or under the right front. I am new to the New Haven Connecitcut area, don't know any body shops or anything, anyone have any general (or specific advice) on how to pick a body shop? What are your rights as far as a written estimate? If they provide a written estimate, go under the car and find something broken, do they have to call me before proceeding and charging me more money?
Any idea, or stories, about how much insurance goes up after an accident, average, if I were to report? I am 26 (I think I also have a moving violation, probably, on my record).
Thanks for any help.