When Should You File a Car Insurance Claim? Most of the time, the answer to this question is easy. Filing an insurance claim is an obvious course of action following a car accident. That’s what insurance is there for – right? Well, usually. However, not all car collisions are serious enough to warrant an auto insurance claims. Especially when the claim can raise your premium.
Let’s look below at a couple of instances when you don’t necessarily need to file a car insurance claim.
When NOT To File A Car Insurance Claim
1. If you only damaged your own vehicle
If you were involved in a single-car accident, and you are not injured, then you should strongly consider not filing an insurance claim. Any claim filed in this situation would be considered an “at-fault” collision claim – and will most likely increase your premium. To find out more factors that affect your insurance rate and premium – check out our post here.
2. If the damage to another car was extremely minimal
If there’s little to no damage to someone else’s car or property, then you should strongly consider not filing a claim.
For example, you are in a packed parking lot trying to squeeze in between to cars. Your car gently rubs against a giant SUV, leaving a barely noticeable mark the size of a penny.
In this situation, you should exchange information with the owner of the giant SUV – and ask if they will allow you to pay them for the “damages” out of pocket.
When SHOULD You File A Car Insurance Claim
Now that we have looked at the two instances where you should strongly consider not filing an insurance claim, it is only right that we look at some instances when you SHOULD file a claim. We know, We know, not filing a claim seems very appealing – but it can be very dangerous and costly if you don’t file one when you should have.
1. If anyone is Injured
If there have been any injuries to anyone involved in the accident you should file a claim immediately. Even injuries that are considered “small” (like whiplash) have delayed symptoms that may not show up right away. You do not want to be held responsible for any medical bills down the road.
2. If There Is Any Significant Car or Property Damage
If there has been any significant car or property damage, even a fender bender, you should file an insurance claim. The damage may be more serious than it first appears.
3. If Fault is Unclear
If you are involved in a car accident that results in damage or injury, and the fault is in dispute, you should file a claim immediately. Your insurance provider is there to help in these situations and will represent you. Insurance companies work with other insurance companies in these instances to resolve disputes, assign responsibility, and arrange payouts. That is what they are supposed to do.
The decision to file a claim will vary based on each individual car accident. If there has been a significant loss or someone is injured (no matter how small the property damages are) you should involve your insurance company. However, if the damage is small or your vehicle is the only car involved, you may be better off paying out of pocket instead of filing a claim. If you are not sure but are leaning towards the option of not filing a claim…you can always get an estimate from a mechanic and then assess the situation after the estimate.
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I didn’t know you should file a claim if it is unclear who is responsible for the crash. My wife accidentally crashed into a school bus and we’re not sure who started it. I’ll have to consider your tips so that we can find out who is the culprit.