In the blink of an eye, a car accident can shake up your sense of safety and present you with a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. Not only that, but you may also worry about your car insurance rates skyrocketing if you file a claim.
As a rule, filing an auto insurance claim isn’t mandatory after an accident. Not doing so may put you at risk for further financial damage, however.
When to File a Car Insurance Claim
Most of the time, you should file a car insurance claim anytime someone else is involved in the accident. Whether you caused the accident or the fault lies with another person, accidents can get complicated when others are involved. Even if no injuries immediately arise, another driver or passenger may later decide to file a lawsuit against you.
Waiting too long to file a car insurance claim can also affect whether or not the claim will be approved. For example, say you are in a small accident with another person. You both agree to settle the costs out of pocket and part ways. However, six months later, the other driver files a lawsuit for increasing back pain they have suffered due to the accident. If you call your insurance agent to file a claim six months after an accident, you may not be approved for compensation. This means any damages or legal fees you face could come out of your own pocket.
When to Not File a Car Insurance Claim
There are some circumstances where you may not need or want to file a car insurance claim. For example, say you back up into your own mailbox. With such a small accident involving only you and your own property, you may not want or need to file a car insurance claim.
Another reason is if you cannot reach your deductible and your car insurance claim would be denied. If you run over a median and damage the bottom of your car, for example, you would have to reach your collision coverage deductible. If this deductible is $1,000 but the cost to repair your vehicle is only $500, it would be more cost-effective to pay for repairs out of pocket than to file a car insurance claim. This also applies if the value of your vehicle is less than the cost of insuring it.
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