Should You File Auto Insurance Claims?

should you file auto insurance claims

Welcome to Ben’s Chronicles

Hello! I’m Ben from EINSURANCE. Trust me, I know there are plenty of things we’d both probably rather be doing than discussing insurance. But although insurance gets a bad rap, it does have its benefits; especially when you find the right coverage and carrier.

Unfortunately, throughout my life I have had a knack for being at the wrong place, at the right time. Given my gravitational pull toward bad luck, I wanted to share a few of my life experiences with you in hopes that my bad luck could benefit you. So, bear with me over the upcoming weeks, because I’ll be sharing little nuggets I’ve learned through navigating the insurance world. If my mishaps and theories don’t directly help answer any of your insurance related questions, I promise they’ll make you laugh, albeit at my expense…

If you would like me to discuss a specific topic, feel free to email me at [email protected].

Today our topic is:

Should You File Auto Insurance Claims?

To File, or not to file an auto claim

For better or worse, our society finds itself in a perpetual state of rushing. Whether you’re walking to your favorite sandwich shop for lunch, or driving to the neighborhood grocery store, you’ll find fellow patrons whizzing by, around, and sometimes through you to get to their destination.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we may even find that we are indeed the patron in a perpetual rush. Even with the thorough understanding that accidents tend to occur when people throw caution to the wind and yield to the urge to hurry, we still succumb to operating in haste. Sometimes urgency is necessary, and one does need to act with haste, however, this is not the case 100% of the time.

Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way. It was the end of a long day, tucked at the end of a long week, and I simply wanted to get home, to my bed as quickly as possible. Not a true emergency, but at the time, my mind and body would have argued differently. My ultimate destination, my bed, was only a few miles drive from where I was, but it seemed I was hitting every stoplight in sight. To make matters worse the city seemed to be experiencing an elongated rush hour. I ultimately found myself in the perfect driving storm; tired from a hard week of work, anxious to get home and in stop and go traffic. I’d like to blame what happened next during this memorable ride home on exhaustion, but in reality, I know it was my false sense of urgency, and efforts to rush to my destination.

Green light, GO!

I found myself sitting at one of the many stoplights that caught me en route to my home. Anxious to ensure I was one of the cars that were able to proceed under the next green light, I was fixated on the stoplight. So much so, that as soon as it turned green, my foot hit the accelerator. Unfortunately, not every driver was as fixated on the light as I was. The result was a plethora of delayed reactions to proceed through the green light. One doesn’t have to be a physicist to understand you can’t move your car until the car in front of you moves. In this case, I moved well before the car in front me. As a result, my car moved his, by rear ending his vehicle.

In a way, I was lucky given the accident occurred at a low rate of speed. This muted the amount of damage the other car sustained. I immediately felt awful, knowing that I was in no rush and in fact now had prolonged the time it would take to get home. We both moved to the side of the road, exited our respective vehicles, and reviewed the damage. My vehicle had virtually no damage, but the bumper of the other car was dislodged. I instantly began to think about the financial repercussions this accident could have in my future, by way of insurance rate increases.

I essentially traded getting home 2-3 minutes earlier for perhaps hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars’ worth of rate increases in the years to come. I then went into sell mode, and tried my best to negotiate settling any damages outside of getting our respective insurance companies involved. Given the light damage, and kindness of the other driver, we agreed to handle all damages without the involvement of our insurance companies. I ultimately had the driver of the other vehicle visit my neighborhood mechanic, paid the mechanic, and within days, his car was as good as new. Just to ensure the other driver didn’t attempt to file a claim in addition to having me pay for the damage to his vehicle, I had him sign a Car Accident Release of Liability Form.

Lesson learned!

Although this was an expensive lesson, I was able to curb the financial pain by not formally filing a car accident claim. We’re always in a rush, and sometimes it can cause accidents. If you find yourself susceptible to this rushing ‘urge’ and get into an auto accident, try to slow down, clear your mind, and assess if it truly makes sense to file a claim. Typically, if the damage is less than your deductible then you should try to settle payment for any damages outside of getting your respective insurance companies involved.

Best of luck on the road and sidewalks, as we rush from point A to point B!

About Dale Williams

Dale Q. Williams, MBA, is a well-respected financial executive whose experience spans from insurance to investment banking. Dale has first hand underwriting experience through working for one of the largest U.S. based insurance carriers, and advisory experience from working for several bulge-bracket and middle-market investment banks. Dale also received his MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with concentrations in finance and accounting.