DEAR ABBY: "Watching My Assets" put a dent in the door of his friend's pickup when he closed it by pushing it with his rear end. Please pass on this information: In newer cars, one can take off the door panel and pop the bent body back out. Only minor paint damage will remain to be repaired. Most repair persons won't tell you this because repairs are their bread and butter.
Another "fix-it" for such a problem is to put dry ice on the spot. Due to contraction, the dent will pop out. It doesn't work on all materials, but on many. This is an old science trick -- hope it helps. -- SCIENCE TEACHER AND BACKYARD MECHANIC
DEAR S.T. AND B.M.: Yours is not the only letter that arrived from helpful readers wanting to resolve "Asset's" problem. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Watching My Assets" reminded me of a similar incident that happened to me many years ago. My friend "Carmen" "rear-ended" my passenger door while trying to close the already locked door and she, too, left a large dent.
Without a moment's hesitation she asked if I had a toilet plunger (we had just pulled up to my home). Plunger in place, out popped the dent! Good as new, no insurance claim necessary. -- GENIE SAFFREN, LOS ANGELES
DEAR GENIE: The longer I write this column, the more I learn from readers. Your letter is a hoot. I wonder if that solution would work today on cars that are made largely from plastic instead of metal. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Watching My Assets," who had a question about whether or not a claim should be filed under his friend's insurance policy, prompts my own.
Your answer was wrong for a few reasons. Yes, his friend should file a claim. This was an accident. Granted, it was not your run-of-the-mill accident, but it was an accident. If the guilty party wants to help his friend, he should volunteer to pay the deductible.
Second, the only time an accident counts against you is if you are the majority at fault -- in California, 51 percent or more at fault -- for the accident. In this case, the person filing the claim would not have his rates go up or have his policy canceled.
Please advise your readers that if they are in an accident and have ANY questions, to refer the question to their insurance agent. After all, they are paying a premium for insurance, and if they get into an accident, the person who sold them the policy is obligated to help them out. -- ADJUSTING CLAIMS FOR AAA IN FRESNO, CALIF.
DEAR CLAIMS ADJUSTER: Thank you for pointing that out. I'm grateful for the reminder. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: You were correct in advising "Watching" that although it was unintentional, he did, indeed, damage his friend's door by denting it with his posterior. Therefore, he is the one who should be responsible for the repair.
He should be able to put in a claim under his homeowner's or renter's liability coverage, since it covers damage to other people's property, as well as injury to others.
Hope this information is helpful, Abby. -- BEA IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR BEA: You bet it is. Thank you for the golden nugget of information.