What Is Frame Damage to a Car?

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  • What is it?
  • Repair costs
  • Frame types
  • Car safety
  • Collision
  • Affect on value
  • Insurance
  • FAQs
A car’s frame helps hold the car together and frame damage can leave a car vulnerable to handling issues and accidents.
Frame damage can be very expensive to repair, so if you don’t want to get stuck paying out of pocket after an accident, you will want to make sure you have enough car insurance to cover the cost.
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Jerry has put together a guide on what you need to know about frame damage and how to find the right type of insurance policy to protect your car.
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What is frame damage?

Every car is built on a structural foundation called a frame, and damage to this frame can leave your car unsafe to drive. A car’s frame is designed to help the car hold together in an accident, so frame damage could leave you at risk.
A car’s frame could be damaged by an accident, alterations or repairs, or external events, like storms. If your frame is damaged, your car might still drive reasonably well, but it will lack the structural support you need in a collision.
Key Takeaway Frame damage is a serious problem that will compromise the structural integrity of your car.

How much does frame damage cost to repair?

It depends—but it could be costly. Even minor frame damage to a component like a side panel could end up costing anywhere between $600 to $1000, and that’s without paintwork.
If you don’t want to get stuck footing the cost of frame damage after an accident, Jerry can help you find the collision insurance that you need to help cover the often hefty expenses associated with frame damage.
External events like severe storms can also cause frame damage, so you might want to consider upgrading to a comprehensive insurance policy if you live in a high-risk area.

Bent frame repairs

If your frame is bent, your car will require significant repairs that could easily cost upwards of $10,000.
The bent component will need to be cut off, replaced, and welded back on, resulting in a hefty repair bill. If you don’t have collision insurance on your car, you could end up paying to repair a bent frame out of pocket after an at-fault accident.
When you use a free broker app like Jerry to help you shop for your insurance, you can find the best savings on the coverage you need fast.

What are the different types of car frames?

Although most car frames are unique to the make and model, they will usually fall into one of two categories listed below.

Unibody frames

In a unibody frame, the frame is not separate from the overall structure of the car itself. Basically, the frame and the body of the vehicle are the same thing.
Unibody frames are composed of numerous sections and parts that help maintain the structural integrity of the car.
Unibody frame damage often translates to a bent frame as well as serious problems, like handling difficulties. After frame repairs, a unibody car is likely to be more vulnerable to damage and will likely lose some of its value as a result.

Ladder frames

Ladder frames are an older design style that is often used in modern truck frames.
A ladder frame is composed of two symmetrical rail bars that are connected by multiple crossbars. The drivetrain components, like the engine and transmission, are mounted directly onto the frame and the body of the car sits on top.
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Will frame damage make my car unsafe?

Frame damage may or may not make a car unsafe to drive, but it could easily compromise the structural integrity in a collision. Once a frame is bent back into place, it will never be as strong as it was before, so frame damage will almost always reduce the safety of the car as a whole.

What if my car is in a collision?

A car with frame damage will have less integrity in a collision—making serious damage or injuries more likely. Even worse, the cost of repairing frame damage can be staggering if you don’t have enough insurance to cover you after an accident.
If you want to save money on car insurance without having to cut back on coverage, the Jerry app is a good place to start.
A licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding the cheapest quotes from the top name-brand insurance companies and buying new car insurance. Jerry will even cancel your old policy for you.

Will frame damage have a negative effect on my car’s value?

It might, depending on how the damage was documented. If the repairs were recorded on your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you would almost certainly see your car’s value decrease as a result. Even if your frame damage flies under the radar, your vehicle is unlikely to meet the same safety standards it did before the damage occurred.
If you live in a diminished value state, you may be able to make a diminished value claim for frame damage that resulted from an accident where you weren’t at fault.
Key Takeaway Frame damage will almost always have a negative effect on the value of your vehicle.

How to find the best insurance for frame damage

Purchasing a collision insurance policy is one of the best ways to protect yourself from frame damage expenses after an accident.
If you’re hesitant to switch plans or insurance providers because you’re worried about the work involved, don’t be. Jerry does all the paperwork for you. You’ll never have to print out anything, go to the post office, or get on the phone. Jerry handles it all. Really!
The savings keep coming even after Jerry finds you great insurance at the lowest price. Before every policy renewal period, you’ll be presented with new competitive quotes. So basically, you’ll always have the best coverage at the best price.
Jerry customers save an average of $879 a year. Oh, and we should mention … Jerry is free.
“Jerry is the most useful app I’ve ever downloaded. I’ve been dealing with agencies and quote websites for the longest time—and Jerry just made car insurance shopping so much easier. In a matter of MINUTES, I was able to get multiple quotes, cancel my policy, start my new one, AND save $230 a month.”—Satisfied Jerry user
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FAQs

Can a car with frame damage be fixed?

A car with frame damage can be repaired, but it will almost always be left weaker where there was damage. A bent frame is just like a bent tin can. You can mold or weld it back, but it will never be as strong as it was before.

Should you buy a car that has frame damage?

Generally speaking, it is better to avoid buying cars with frame damage.
There is really no way to tell just how strong a frame will be after it is repaired, and unless you are experienced with cars or using cars for parts, it probably won’t be worth the safety risk.
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