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RV Collision Hidden Damage

idden damage is generally internal damage not visible to the naked eye. It is very often left unrepaired on motor homes and travel trailers because it was not discovered.

I have written several articles before about incomplete repairs. An RV’s windshield popping loose because the inner frame structure was bent, the broken frame on a trailer and the bent axles on trailers. How can this be so common that damage is missed after a repair is considered completed? I can speculate all day and not be correct on each incident because there are so many variables. The one thing they all have in common is someone failed to inspect the damage completely. The vehicles were released to the owners and later the hidden damage was discovered when problems occurred.

The RV has obvious minor damage to the front lower panel. Photo by Don Stec
The RV has obvious minor damage to the front lower panel.

These types of vehicles have heavy frames, axles, wheels and tires. The body panels (outer shell) however, are light weight. Many panels are also flexible and when impacted they may be driven inward several inches. The panels spring back to their original shape leaving the impression the damage is minor except for a few visible stress cracks. Internal support damage may not be discovered.

Broken windshield panel, photo by Don Stec,
Did the windshield just pop out? Is there internal damage that should be looked for?
Damage to inner body of RV, photo by Don Stec
Damage to the inner body support caused the front panel to move inward too far, causing the windshield to pop out of it's retainer.

Coachmaster has written many estimates where other shops have been a thousand or more dollars less in cost. Evidently the shops did not understand the extent of the damage and could not include the hidden damage on the estimate. Fortunately, in almost every case, the customer selected Coachmaster because of our thorough estimate. An accurate and thorough estimate is what an RV owner expects and so does his Insurance Company.

I especially remember an estimate from another RV repair shop because it was so poorly written. The parts were not named correctly and the list of necessary parts, labor, and repair was incomplete. The Insurance Company adjuster called Coachmaster for assistance…even though Coachmaster was not going to perform the repair. The RV owner was a personal friend of the RV business owner and insisted the repairs be completed at his friend’s business.

The Insurance adjuster called Coachmaster’s RV estimator, Allan Gordon, for assistance. At their request, Allan traveled to the other shop and prepared an estimate. Insurance Companies require a very detailed estimate. The Department of Insurance Regulations require specific details of repair procedures to be included on an estimate. Not all Insurance Companies have trained RV adjusters. They hire independent adjusters or depend on a professional repair facility to write a complete and accurate estimate. In this case, the Insurance Company agreed to compensate Coachmaster to prepare an accurate estimate.

Unusual? Yes, but this Insurance Company went way out its way to protect The RV owner it insured. The Insurance Company’s decision to obtain an accurate estimate most likely saved a friendship between the RV owner and the RV shop owner as well as avoiding a large headache for themselves.

Repairs required removing the windshield. Green and blue area indicate repairs to fiberglass fractures. Photo by don Stec
Repairs required removing the windshield. Green and blue area indicate repairs to fiberglass fractures.
RV bus after repairs by Coachmaster autor repair, photo by Don Stec
Completed repair

Coachmaster Collision repair* -- founded in 1969 is the best equipped body and paint shop in the North Valley. Contact Allan Gordon for an estimate on your car, truck or any type RV. Ask about the many other services we provide. Call 530-243-1310 or visit the business at 6851 Eastside Road, in Redding California. *Click here if you are using a smart phone or other mobile device.

More columns by Don Stec


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