The pivotal question when filing a car insurance claim: Can you comfortably afford to cover all the necessary expenses out-of-pocket?
This isn't the only factor, but it's the primary question that your decision is going to hinge on. Insurance is there not so much for minor fender-benders and broken windows, but to ensure that we don't bankrupt ourselves in the event of an accident. Here are a few things to consider when filing a claim:
- Is the deductible considerably less than the damages?
- Is the other party willing to handle it without going through their insurance?
- Can you afford to pay for the damages?
With a claim comes higher premiums. Too many claims in a single year and you might even wind up having your policy canceled, or they may choose not to renew it. So, it's not a bad idea to avoid a claim when possible. However, there are some risks that go along with personal settlements.
Namely, you need to consider that the other party might agree to a settlement, only to sue you a few months later because they feel they didn't get a fair amount. Going through your car insurance provider can help to reduce the odds of this happening. So, there are a few things you'll want to do when reaching a personal settlement:
- Make certain that nobody suffered a personal injury. These are the costs that can really add up, and the main reason we carry auto insurance in the first place.
- Get repair quotes before agreeing to anything. It's not uncommon for what looks like a $200 repair to wind up costing $1,000 or more.
- Get everything in writing, and with multiple copies. If you know an attorney, this would be a good time to enlist their services.
Finally, be realistic about whether you're going to want to go through your insurance. You might have just enough money on hand to cover the damages yourself. But, if your deductible is significantly lower
No one wants to file a claim unless absolutely necessary, but you do have insurance for a reason. It would be unwise not to take advantage of that safety net when the situation calls for it.
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