When should I file a car insurance claim?

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Things to Remember...

  • Believe it or not, filing a claim is not always the answer
  • It also makes sense for the car owner to file a claim if they are making payments on a car
  • For minor accidents that do not involve anyone else’s property and that do not involve injuries, it is certainly best not to file these claims if they are less than your deductible
  • If you are responsible for an accident resulting in injuries to others, you must file a claim

If you’re paying for car insurance and an accident occurs or your vehicle is damaged due to another reason, your first instinct might be to file a claim with your insurance company.

After all, you’re paying for the insurance, might as well use it, right? Believe it or not, filing a claim is not always the answer.

It’s important to know when you should file a claim and when you shouldn’t. Start comparing auto insurance rates now by using our FREE quote tool above!

There are many different scenarios to think about if you are trying to determine whether or not to file a car insurance claim. Some of the more common ones that you need to consider include:

Filing a Claim When Your Car Is Financed

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Many people finance a car when they buy it. If your car is financed, your lien holder will require you to have physical damage coverage on your vehicle. The purpose of this requirement is to make sure that the financial interest of the lien holder is protected.

With physical damage insurance in place, lien holders can rest assured a car that is wrecked, stolen, vandalized, or otherwise damaged will be repaired and the lien holder’s interest protected.

Unfortunately, lien holders understand that a wrecked car that cannot be fixed may be abandoned by its owner for other transportation.

It also makes sense for the car owner to file a claim if they are making payments on a car. You’ve got money invested in the car in the form of payments you have already made and you’re responsible for future payments as well.

Just like the financial interest of the lienholder needs to be protected so does the financial interest of the vehicle owner.

Exceptions To Filing a Claim When Your Car Is Financed

Physical damage coverages come with deductibles, the portion of the claim that the policyholder is responsible for. Any damages that fall within this deductible amount will be your responsibility.

Since your loss experience can have a direct impact on your rates, there may be times when you might not want to file a claim.

For minor accidents that do not involve anyone else’s property and that do not involve injuries, it is certainly best not to file these claims if they are less than your deductible.

Even if they slightly exceed your deductible, you might want to consider paying the damages yourself so that you continue to be viewed in a favorable manner by your insurance company.

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Filing a Claim When the Property of Others Is Involved

If you’re the at-fault party in an accident and you damage the property of others, you will need to file a claim so that the other party can make a claim against your liability coverage.

It may be that the damage you cause is minor and perhaps you can pay for the damages yourself. This may be tempting but be careful.

If you pay for minor damages, there is the possibility the other party may decide they are not satisfied with the repairs and you can find yourself looking at an amount you are not willing to pay if they ask for more.

If you have not previously filed a claim, your insurance company may not appreciate the fact that you have tried to handle the matter yourself but are now asking them to step in and take over.

Filing a Claim When Injuries Are Involved

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Whenever a car accident results in injuries, it is imperative that a claim is filed. If you are the injured party, you may have coverages on your policy that can help with medical bills and lost wages.

These coverages may be available if you are at fault or not. If your injuries are serious and you have such coverage, they may be the very resource that makes it possible for you to pay your medical bills and cover some or all of your income during the time that you are not able to work.

If you are responsible for an accident resulting in injuries to others, you must file a claim.

The increasing costs of medical treatment and the loss of income is not something that injured parties are expecting or that they want to deal with.

Unfortunately, our society has become very litigious and you may find yourself being contacted by an attorney representing the injured parties.

Insurance companies have adjusters and other specialists that are trained to deal with such claims and with attorneys. While the claims professionals are dealing with the injuries and damages of the others involved, you can be taking care of getting your injuries and damages resolved.

In a perfect world, no one would ever need to file a car insurance claim. However, we don’t live in a perfect world and accidents can and will happen. You need to know when you need to file a claim.

The bottom line is that if you are not sure or if your situation can go either way, it is always best to file your claim and let the trained professionals, who are paid with your premiums, get you and your car as well as any other parties involved back up and running as soon as possible.

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