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When to File an Auto Insurance Claim and When It’s Smart Not To

by EINSURANCE

when to file an auto insurance claim and when not to

Should you, or shouldn’t you? It’s common knowledge that whenever you file an auto insurance claim your premiums might go up. So should you or shouldn’t you file a claim? Whether you should or shouldn’t file depends.

When It’s a Good Idea to File a Claim

Some typical scenarios can drive your decision as to whether to let your insurance company know about a crash include:

  • The incident involves another car. Some people make a deal and pay for the other person’s repairs so they won’t get a ding on their insurance records. But this is a risky move. You never know if the other person might sue in the future, especially for physical problems after the fact. Your liability insurance will cover your legal defense, so keep your provider in the loop.
  • You cause sizable damage to your own car. If your car’s repairs will cost more than the deductible you’d pay, or the total cost will be more than you can afford, inform your insurance broker or company.

When It Can Be a Good Idea to NOT File a Claim

  • If you don’t have collision coverage on your policy. Even if you have liability coverage, if you didn’t also buy collision protection, there’s no point in filing because it won’t be covered.
  • You cause minor damage to your own car and repairs are minimal.  If you dent your car and no one else is involved and repair costs are less than your deductible, go ahead and pay for the repairs yourself without filing. Some might decide to just live with the dent or damage.

Do Rates Always Go Up When You File a Claim?

Although it’s common to have your premiums go up after filing a claim, you may not be affected. It depends on your provider and what your claims history looks like. If the insurance company’s rules allow and you have a clean claims record, you may not see your rates go up.

Before you ever need to decide whether or not to file an auto insurance claim, ask your broker or insurance provider how much they typically raise rates after a claim, a process that’s called a surcharge schedule.

When it’s renewal time, it’s a good idea to see if you can get better coverage at a lower price. Use our comparison tool to see what else is available.  

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