Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • There are several things to consider when determining if you should file an insurance claim for your car.
  • For example, if your vehicle was hit by another driver, then you may want to consider contacting their insurance provider.
  • If you were at-fault for an accident, then you may need to file a claim through your insurance provider.
  • In the event your claim is not related to a collision, then you may want to look at your coverage options before filing a claim for your car.
  • If needed, you may always contact your insurance provider to discuss your situation and determine if filing a claim is right for you.

When it comes to deciding if you should file a claim or not, it can be difficult to determine if it makes sense to do so. For instance, if you are involved in an accident, then you may end up filing a claim regardless; through your provider or the other driver’s insurance provider. However, if you are not involved in an accident, then there are other factors you need to consider before filing a claim for your vehicle.

Been in an accident and looking for a new policy? Need full auto coverage but lower rates? Check out our free insurance quotes tool above!

Were you involved in an accident that would be considered a collision?

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Filing an insurance claim is often one of the first things that happen after being in a collision with another driver or an object. It’s important that you determine which driver was at-fault for the accident, as well as which insurance company should be providing coverage. While you may always need to make an insurance claim, you may not need to make it through your provider.

If the other driver is determined to be at-fault, then you may want to speak to their insurance provider first. You will normally need to provide some information about the driver you were in an accident with, and then you should be able to file a claim for the damages. During this process, make sure you are honest and open about the accident, any damages, and any bodily injury that has occurred.

If you are involved in a collision with a tree or guardrail, however, then you may need to file a claim through your provider for coverage. It’s important to determine if you have coverage for this type of event before filing. Filing a claim without having coverage may result in premium increases or a drop in your coverage without providing any settlement for your accident.

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Do you carry the proper coverage options for your claim?

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When determining if you should file a claim, and it’s not related to a collision, then you may want to review your insurance coverage first. Different types of damage are covered by different options in your insurance policy, meaning you may not have coverage for an incident when it occurs. Reviewing your auto insurance policy and the coverage you selected before filing your claim may help you avoid a future premium increase.

For example, comprehensive coverage often provides protection for any animal- or weather-related damages. If your vehicle is damaged in a hailstorm, then your comprehensive coverage would provide protection.

However, if you do not carry this coverage, then it may not make sense to file an insurance claim for your car. Filing a claim in this situation may result in a premium increase in the future without providing any coverage for your claim.

Are there any state-specific regulations that apply?

In some states, there are specific regulations that may determine how your claim filing works in the event of an accident. For example, if you live in a no-fault insurance state, then you may be required to file a claim through your provider; regardless of which driver is at-fault for the accident. This means that your insurance provider will be handling the claim settlement instead of the other driver’s insurance company.

Can you pay the deductible before your coverage takes effect?

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Your insurance coverage may require that you pay a deductible before your coverage limits kick in. A deductible is a portion of your loss that you pay so that your insurance company is not responsible for the entire loss. Many times, the deductible has to be paid before your coverage will provide a settlement for the remainder of your loss. This means that if you cannot afford the deductible, you may want to consider avoiding a claim.

There are situations where your insurance provider may work with you regarding your deductible. However, this may result in a lowered claim settlement, as your provider may reduce your settlement by the amount of your deductible.

If you have questions about how this works, it’s important to speak to your insurance provider. They will be able to explain how these coverage options work and how your deductible applies in different situations.

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Is the potential premium increase worth it?

In the event a claim is filed, insurance companies often review your policy at your next renewal period. Many insurance companies are looking to provide insurance to good drivers that are low risk. If you file multiple claims or claims that result in large settlement payouts, then your insurance company may raise your policy premium.

For example, if you file a claim every year for three years, then your insurance provider may determine that you are a higher risk driver than originally anticipated. Due to this, they may raise your premium amount to offset some claim settlements they may be paying out. Any increase in your premium often remains for years after, until you have shown a history of safe driving and reduced claim filing.

If your premium goes up, you may want to look around for other insurance quotes or for providers that offer claim forgiveness. Comparison shopping may help you get a better idea of what providers are offering as well as help you find a lower rate. Make sure that you are honest with potential providers are your driving record and any previous claims, as these could affect the quote they provide.

Conclusion

Filing a claim for your car is not always as simple a process as it may seem. If you are not familiar with your coverage options or are unsure of how your insurance policy works, then you may want to contact your provider for more guidance. Your insurance provider can explain how your policy works as well as any state-specific regulations on how your policy works. Also, you may contact your state’s Department of Insurance if you have questions about state-specific regulations or other insurance related concerns.

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