Accidents occur in many forms, and at times we get confused on whether it is necessary to involve our insurer or not. In this case, we would say you should have your car inspected by an expert. Just because there’s no visible damage doesn’t mean all is well.
If, after inspection, the car is in a good state, there is no need to file a claim. The general rule with insurance is to skip the claim lineup if the issue can easily be resolved out of pocket. However, this is not a go-ahead to keep the accident hidden from your insurer.
If you are involved in an accident, whether serious or minor, whether you are at fault or not, always inform your insurer. Filing a claim or not is dependent on the nature of the accident.
Imagine that the damage done to your bumper is $200, and there is a deductible of $500 on your insurance policy. If you file a claim with your insurer, you would have to pay for your car repair out of pocket.
Now imagine that the repair on your car is $300, and there is a $200 deductible on your car policy; after paying your deductible, your insurer will only pay out $100.
Both instances paint a picture where involving your insurer is not necessary since you will not enjoy the full benefit of your insurance.
When To File A Claim With Insurance
There are two instances that will always require the involvement of your insurer, and that is:
1. When other drivers are involved
2. When serious damage or injuries are involved
Notify your insurance provider of any accident that involves other parties, even when it is minor or caused by someone else. It is risky to attempt to settle any issues without their involvement.
The first risk is that the other party could sue for damages in the future even when they have been settled. Without proper documentation, there is no way to prove that the issue had been initially resolved.
Your insurance company is experienced in dealing with such matters, and they are in the best position to protect you from lawsuits.
Another instance that requires your insurance company’s involvement is when there is serious damage to property or injury.
Here’s a summary of everything we said:
|You cause minor damage to your car||Filing a claim isn’t necessary|
|You cause major damage to your car||File a claim & consider the risk of having your rate increased|
|You cause minor damage to someone’s car||File a claim|
|You cause major damage to someone’s car||File a claim|
Medical expenses can put a dent in the wallet of even the richest man; after all, the more money they have available, the higher the quality of health care.
When Filing A Claim May Not Be Necessary
Earlier we gave two instances where you may consider filing a claim on your insurance policy, notice these two instances have something in common – the accident involves only you.
Most accidents that don’t involve a third party don’t need to be filed for. For instance, you were trying to back out of your garage and hit your rear bumper against the garage door, or maybe you scratched the side of your vehicle against something.
These are minor incidences that don’t pose a threat to anyone; filing a claim for such cases is unnecessary, especially since the cost of repairing them may not set you back financially.
Another time you may want to skip filing a claim is if you risk having your insurance rate increased. Many factors are used to determine whether your rate will be increased or not after filing a claim; some of these factors include previous claim history, company regulations, etc.
The most reliable way to determine if this will affect you is to request the company surcharge schedule or speak with an agent. Note that insurance companies, like most businesses, record their interactions with their customers. So, they will take note of your request.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Important Tips For Filing An Insurance Claim?
We’d say the most important tip for filing a claim is to understand what you are entitled to at all times, and to do this, you should know what your policy covers.
The second is to speak with your agent in times of confusion; they are in the best position to guide you on what decision to make. And finally, always file your claim promptly.
Should I Make A Claim Or Pay Out Of Pocket?
The best time to file a claim is when you cannot afford to cover the damages yourself. Usually, this is the case when you cause serious damage to other people’s property or have injured the cause you.
Chances are they might sue, or their medical expenses could set you back by thousands of dollars. It’s best to let your insurer handle this.
Filing a claim from your insurer is not always necessary, especially when you stand to lose more than gain. For example, mishaps that don’t result in serious damage to your property or that of a third party don’t need to be filed for. The same goes for accidents that don’t involve medical expenses.
The general rule is to always file a claim for accidents that involve damage to third parties and serious damage to yourself.
If the accident involves only you and it is minor, meaning you can comfortably afford to cover the costs yourself, then you skip filing a claim.
When to File a Car Insurance Claim – and When Not to
Should I Call My Insurance if a Car Accident was not my Fault