Your neighbor Bob may tell you one thing. Cousin Jeff may tell you another. It seems everybody has an opinion. When should you file an insurance claim with your automobile insurance company and when should you just try to take care of the consequences on your own?
The discussion usually centers around the potential rate increases you could see in your automobile insurance if you file a claim. There’s much more to consider, however. So, when should you file a claim and when may it be best to NOT file an automobile insurance claim?
You put a small dent in a car owned by someone else.
It can be tempting to settle this type of claim privately. The problem is you don’t know who you may be dealing with and they may request more funds in the future. You should file a claim in this situation.
You cause an accident that involves injuries.
When injuries are involved in an incident you caused, it is critical you contact your insurance company. This could eventually involve significant medical bills and you want the support of your insurer.
You cause significant damage to another vehicle.
Because there may be more damage than initially thought, you should always let your insurance company know if you cause an accident with serious damage.
You cause serious accidental damage to your own car.
You may want consider whether or not to make a claim under this circumstance based on your deductible and on the possibility your rates could go up upon renewal. Of course, if you just have liability coverage, there will be no need to file a claim.
You cause minor damage to your own car.
If you only have liability coverage or if damage is less than your deductible amount, there is no need to file a claim with your insurance company. Even if damage is slightly more than your deductible, you may be better off handling the situation on your own.
In reality, there are few circumstances when you will not want to notify your insurance company of an incident. This is particularly true if injuries are involved.
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