Considerations Before Filing an Auto Insurance Claim

Auto insurance is supposed to be simple: you get into an accident, you file a claim and let your insurer handle it. But in reality, this is not always the case as there are things you should consider before filing an auto insurance claim.

Although state laws mandate certain types of insurance coverage to legally drive, there are no laws on record thatrequire you to report accidents to your insurance company. Every time you do file a claim with your insurance company, it is marked on your permanent record. Although your premium may not go up immediately, if there are enough reports over time there can be a negative impact to the total cost of your auto insurance.

Before You File a Claim

When deciding between filing a claim with an insurance company, there are some things to consider during the decision making process. For example:

  • Will the repairs cost less than your deductible?
  • Do you have a large history of auto insurance claims?
  • Was your vehicle solely involved in the accident?
  • Have you had a previous accident that you were found at fault for and filed a claim?

If you cause minor damage to your vehicle and there are absolutely no other cars involved in the collision, you may opt to pay for the repair out of pocket. If the deductible of the insurance is greater than the total cost of the repair, you would end up paying the expenses anyway. In this case, there is no need to report the incident to your insurance company as you are the only one who suffered any damage and the choice is entirely up to you.

Reasons You Should File a Claim

However, if you were in a collision with another vehicle, it may behoove you to file a claim and risk the increase to your auto insurance rates. Even if the other driver involved in the collision begs you for mercy you should think twice. By not filing a claim with your insurance company, the other driver still may come around and sue you for their costs and if you never made the claim to your company, they will have a harder time fighting to protect you. Many people involved in a car accident will immediately assess the damage and make their own estimates of how much it will cost to repair, and they may be grossly underestimating the costs.