The last thing anyone wants to be involved in is a car accident. However, if you find yourself in that situation, it is important to know when to file an insurance claim. Is it better to pay out of pocket for a repair or to file a claim with your insurance company? Let’s explore!
Car insurance is designed to protect drivers from having to pay for auto damages out of pocket. Your coverage is based upon the events that damaged your car.
Incidents such as tree branches falling or hail damaging the hood of your car are under a separate coverage than if you hit another driver and damaged their vehicle. This is why it is important to be educated on your insurance plan and how it can impact your financial decision on how to repair your automobile.
When to file a claim with your insurance?
If someone has been hurt or if there is extensive damage to the vehicle, the costs mean that filing the insurance claim is a no brainer. In other cases involving another vehicle, even if the damage seems minor it is always a good idea to notify your insurance. There is a chance that there is more extensive damage to the vehicle than what meets the eye or that there are internal bodily injuries like whiplash, which might not affect the drivers and passengers until days later.
The worst-case scenario is that your insurer will say that the claim is not worth processing because of little damage, however, this protects you in the long run so that you’re safe in the future.
When to pay out of pocket?
For minor and single-vehicle accidents, it may financially benefit you to pay out of pocket. That is, depending on how big your emergency fund is. The choice is ultimately up to you whether you file a claim or not, here are factors to consider to assist you in your decision.
Is the damage less than your deductible amount?
After getting the damaged vehicle evaluated by a collision repair specialist, compare the estimate to your deductible. If it will cost less than your deductible, there is no need to file a claim because your insurance will not cover the costs to fix the damage.
How long has it been since your last insurance claim or traffic violation?
Filing too many claims or receiving too many tickets in a short period can raise your premiums and even cause your insurer to drop you once the policy expires. If it has been more than 3-5 years since your last speeding ticket or claim, then you are most likely safe from being kicked off your plan or seeing a drastic rise in your rate.
Does your insurer have a forgiveness policy?
The last thing that you may consider is that if your insurance has an accident forgiveness policy or a “get out of jail free” card. This allows you to file a claim but not penalized for it.
It is important to choose the right auto body shop after a collision to ensure that your car will operate properly and last as long as possible. At Ric’s Body & Paint, we seek to alleviate your post-collision stress. For all of your auto body recovery needs, check out our services and Contact Us Today!