Important Things To Consider Before Filing A Claim
So you’ve had an accident and you may need to file a claim? But you’re worried about the effects on your next renewal. Will your insurance go up or will it stay the same?
It’s a no-brainer if your premium stays the same – file the claim. But if your rates go up, isn’t that where the insurance company gets their money back? I know what you’re thinking because I ask myself the same questions.
Here are some things to think about before you make that fateful call.
Your Insurance May Go Up
As usual, each claim situation is different. The first question to ask is ‘who’s at fault?’ If you’re not at-fault, you should not be surcharged for the incident. However, companies often use claims history in their renewal calculation. Even though there’s no surcharge, there could be a hidden increase. Rating is a complicated matter and many factors play a part.
However, if you are at-fault in the accident, there’s a good chance there will be a surcharge on your next renewal – probably extending for several renewals thereafter. It’s not so much a case of the insurance company getting their money back, but more of a “friendly” reminder from your insurer that you should drive safer.
Severity Determines The Consequences
The severity of the at-fault incident determines the severity of the consequences. If you are partially at-fault for an incident, there may not be a surcharge for the event. Each insurance company is different, so that’s not a guarantee. However, if the incident is serious enough (Example: Driving drunk, causing an accident, and inflicting injuries on another person) it’s possible your policy will be non-renewed. That translates to exorbitant rates when you get a new policy.
Another thing to consider is losing accident-free discounts. If you’re currently enjoying a discount because you have not had an accident, then a claim may remove that discount. You should be able to see that discount on your policy. Claims can affect that discount and how much you pay on your next renewal.
Call Your Insurance Company
Regardless of the severity of the incident or who’s at fault, you should report all incidents to your insurance company. Accidents can get complicated very quickly. If you fail to report an incident and the other party decides to sue months later, you could have more problems. Your insurance company may question why it took so long for you to report the incident. They may even non-renew your policy.
Play it safe. If you have an accident, call your insurer or agent. If they recommend it, file a claim. After all, that’s why you bought car insurance.