So I tried to do a sharp u-turn around a parking garage column that didn't go so well...Luckily I was able to wash off most of the initial "damage" on the door and saw that most of it was scraped-off paint from the column and there's no damage to my door at all, not even a scratch in the paint.
However, there's a really deep dent and a corresponding scratch on the body just to the side of the rear passenger door. This scratch is all the way down to the metal and some paint is already peeling from it. Plus, the door has separated a little from the panel attached on top. That panel (the extra bit that runs across it horizontally) also may have a deep scratch but I wasn't able to clean it thoroughly enough to see.
I did a bit of reading around online and apparently scratch repairs on doors and their panels are super-expensive because usually body shops remove the door to repaint the entire thing to make sure the color is even. I don't particularly care about my car's paint matching (it's only a year old but I'm not planning to sell it), and I don't believe having someone else repair a scratch warrants even one full week of my salary (if it's gonna cost $600 or more), so I plan to fix the scratch myself. Apparently it's not that hard even when the scratch is deep, I just need the right supplies and some patience. I'm not too worried about immediate corrosion because I cover my car when parking it at my apartment every day.
However, I'm not sure if I should repair the structural damage. The dent isn't THAT noticeable and I can open that door fine. I'm a little concerned about the panel separation. It doesn't flap in the wind or anything, it's just separated at the door's edge by about 1-2 millimeters. I don't know if that's important for structural safety. If it is, I'll take it to a body shop to get fixed. I just wanted to get some opinions. Obviously, having to get your car fixed sucks and it sucks even more when it's only the exterior and it's expensive all the same, haha.
Obviously I don't think this warrants getting my insurance involved. Since it was my fault, I'd expect my premiums to go up if I filed a claim on it. Plus I'd be able to afford such a repair, it's just that I would like not to pay for repair that's not necessary for the function or the safety of my car...
Thanks in advance!