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Will Your Premium Go Up If You File A Claim?

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 12/19/2009

Important Things To Consider Before Filing A Claim

Will you have to fork over more of these if you file a claim?

Will you have to fork over more of these if you file 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.

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Todd Clay

Todd Clay is a former insurance agent with the largest insurance company in the United States. He earned his Bachelor’s from the University of Texas. He’s worked in several fields but has specialized in insurance, financial-related information, and technology. He blogs at Car Insurance Guidebook.

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Reviews (2)

  • Mike Clau

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    Good info Brandon on explaining how insurance premium may be affected. Suggestion: How about bringing to attention if one does change companies, they should verify with current agent of they will be eliable in future reiniate coverage at a later date should one decide to do so as some insurance companies can no longer issue new policies. This should be one of the first steps to consider before switching to another company.

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    • Brandon Clay

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      Great comment, Mike. Yes, if you anticipate switching back to your original company, you should check with your old agent about their requirements if you change your mind.

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