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Know When to File an Auto Insurance Claim

iStock_000026312631_SmallAlong with all of the other hassles involved in a car accident, you might worry that filing a claim on your insurance will result in a rate hike. This isn’t always the case, but it’s a very real possibility if the damages are serious or you’ve been involved in more than one accident in the past few years. If you’re debating whether to file the claim, here is what you need to know.

File a claim when…

There are other drivers involved in the accident. Your auto liability insurance protects you against damages to their car, but also against all of the costs involved with being sued. You might be tempted to offer to pay for repairs yourself, especially if the damages aren’t very serious. But that could backfire if the other driver later decides to sue you for “pain and suffering” or some other consequence of the accident.

Damages or injuries could be hidden. You might think a minor fender bender couldn’t cause serious damages to either vehicle, but you would be wrong. In one crash-test study, researchers focused on collisions between cars and SUVs traveling only ten miles per hour. The cost to repair damages ranged from 850 dollars to 6,015 dollars, due to the fact that the vehicles’ bumpers did not line up with one another. Like unexpected damage to vehicles, some personal injuries aren’t readily apparent at the scene of the accident. If the other driver later develops symptoms of whiplash, for example, you could be on the hook for medical bills. This is why you have insurance.

Don’t file a claim when…

You are the only driver, and yours is the only car, involved in the accident. For example, you back into a pole in a parking lot. Get an estimate for the damages before filing a claim. If the damages are less than your deductible, filing a claim on your auto insurance won’t help you cover the cost of the repairs.

If you only purchased liability coverage, and you’re the only driver involved in the accident, your insurance won’t cover the damage to your car. There is no point to filing a claim in this case.

If you do file a claim on your auto insurance policy, and we can help you locate the right insurance policy at the lowest cost to you.