Just a Scratch? When NOT to File an Insurance Claim

So you’ve gotten into a car accident. You’re not alone. Each year, there are around 6 million crashes in the United States, from serious, fatality accidents to what may seem to be minor, non-incidents. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, accidents in the United States cost about $230.6 billion each year — about $820 per person.

Keeping unforeseen costs down is one of the main reasons for getting automotive insurance. In situations where there is significant property damage or medical injuries, auto insurance can help to cover the costs that might exceed what the individuals involved can afford. Sometimes, though, filing an auto insurance claim might cost you more in the long run, and it’s good to know whether that small bump in your door will cause a much larger bump in your premiums.

When it is Advised NOT to File a Claim:

 – When you can cover the damage repairs yourself

It’s a good idea to double-check your deductible if you don’t already know what you’ve set. If you have a high-deductible policy, it may be better, in the long run, to pay the costs yourself, rather than filing an insurance claim. For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible, and your repairs are only going to cost about $1,300, paying the entire $1,300 out of pocket will keep the price at $1,300. If you file a claim, however, even in situations with little to no monetary impact on your policy, the mere act of filing a claim could cause a spike in your policy.

– When you’ve caused little to no damage to someone else’s vehicle

Sometimes a bump is just a bump. If you’ve barely tapped another vehicle, yes, it’s still good to talk to the other party and assess the damage if there was any. However, if both parties agree there was no damage, filing a claim could be a costly phone call. It is still advisable to file a police report, though, so that both sides are covered in the event that legal action needs to take place down the line.

– When you’ve been in a one-car accident with no injuries, or with medical expenses that you can cover yourself

Many people have accidently backed into items, with little to no damage, and the only injury being to their pride. In these situations, even if you did sustain some injuries, as long as the expenses don’t exceed your ability to pay, it’s better to cover the costs yourself and avoid filing an insurance claim.

– When someone has hit you with little damage, and they agree to pay for the cost of repairs

If you trust that the person who was at fault will indeed pay for the repairs, both parties could benefit from not filing an insurance claim. Even if you weren’t the party responsible for the accident, filing a claim could still increase your rates. WARNING: It is NOT advised to entrust a total stranger to pay for any repairs caused in an accident.

Do Your Homework

Before you decide whether or not you should file a claim, it’s important to remember that when there is more than one party involved, calling to get a police report is important to prevent any contradictory stories from coming out in the future. Also, keep in mind that insurance laws and requirements vary from state to state, and from company to company. Understand your policy requirement, consider the long-term implications of not filing a claim, and you could see some significant cost savings.

In some circumstances, not filing an auto insurance claim is unavoidable. Personal injuries and extensive vehicle damage are prime reasons for why insurance is so crucial to have as a licensed driver. If you need to file a claim or would simply like to review your current auto insurance policy, contact Waitte’s Insurance by clicking here.

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