When is the right time to make an insurance claim?

September 7th, 2011
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Insurance claims form

Did you know, when you are involved in a car accident and file a claim with your insurance company, the claim payment is then reported to a national database known as the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, this is the same system used by insurers to review the loss history of a prospective client.

Insurers study ‘claims frequency’ as well as the amount paid, and numerous small claims could have the same impact as one or two larger ones, which could set off red flags to your insurance company and they could potentially cancel your policy.

Every accident situation is unique and will have a different outcome every time, so take into consideration what it might end up costing you more before you file a claim. Below is a general guideline of what you should and should not claim, and claims are not limited to this list. If you are ever in doubt always call your insurance company.

Do NOT Report

  • Below Deductible

If your vehicle has been damaged and does not involve another person or vehicle, get an estimate from a body shop before you call your insurance company. If the estimate is less than your deductible there is no coverage, so save yourself the hassle and pay it yourself.

  • Small Claims

Your vehicle has damage estimated just a little over your collision deductible, sure it’d be great to save a couple hundred dollars but still consider if it is worth filing such a small claim and having it stamped on your record, which may backfire later on.

  • Minimal Damage

You back into an unoccupied parked car, causing very minimal damage. You might consider paying for the damages out-of-pocket, since no person was involved and there is no chance of injury.

DO Report

  • Potential Injury

You are in a small accident, both you and the other driver evaluate the damage and agree that the damage is very minimal and possibly not worth reporting to your insurance company since no one was injured. To be on the safe side, notify your insurance agency about the incident incase someone pops up 6 months later with an injury from the time of the accident.

  • Pedestrians, Cyclists, or Minors

Always report an accident of any kind involving a pedestrian, cyclist, or a minor no matter who was at fault. Give your insurance company a detailed description of the incident and any witnesses who saw what happen. This type of incident could end up being a legal disaster and needs to be documented in order to protect you from a potential lawsuit.

Being educated when it comes to filing a claim with your insurance company can save you a lot of time and money, by picking and choosing which incident to claim you can protect yourself from becoming a potential risk for your insurance company.

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