Few things can ruin your day quite like causing an accident or waking up to a tree that has fallen onto your roof. While we hope you never have to experience these types of scenarios, it helps to know that insurance is there for you to help yo recover. In many cases, insurance can help shield you from a significant financial loss that could have set you back many years of savings and income. In other cases, filing a claim might return nothing for your trouble and could even cost you money in the long run. Continue reading to learn when filing a claim is a good idea, and when you might want to hold off.
Are Other People Involved?
If you cause a collision involving another driver and their passengers, report the accident to your insurance company right away and call the police. Accidents involving other people, whether drivers, pedestrians, or guests in your home, could lead to a lawsuit. Filing an early report allows your insurance company can begin investigating the incident right away, even if the victim seems to be uninjured. Sometimes, accident-related lawsuits can come weeks or even months after an incident occurs. If your insurer was not notified of the incident when it occurred, you might be left out in the cold if you are ever sued.
No Victims? Take Inventory of Your Loss
If the only damages from an incident were isolated to your personal property, take time to calculate the value of your loss before filing a claim. Minor damages, such as a dented bumper or a damaged fence gate, might cost hundreds to repair; but the cost of those repairs might still be less than the cost of your deductible. If your losses are less than your deductible, you will be responsible for paying the entire cost of your repairs out of your own pocket. Even though you received no reimbursement from your coverage, the insurer can still mark your record with a claim if you file one.
What Do You Have to Lose?
While loss reimbursement might appear to save you money up front, there are other ways that it could actually cost you money. In fact, you could stand to lose much more from a claim than it might seem on the surface. Talk with your independent agent about the components of your coverage, including any preferred policies you may have or reduced rates you may be enjoying as a result of your claims-free history. Filing just one claim – even for something ‘small’ – could disqualify you from those benefits.
Keep in mind that insurance companies often look back on your claims history up to 3, 5, and sometimes 7 years depending on the insurer and your state. If you already have a history of recent claims and then file a new one, you could risk new surcharges on your premiums and in some cases, non-renewal of your policy. Before you file a claim for a small loss, make sure you are prepared for the potential consequences it could have upon your future coverage.
Talk to Your Independent Agent
Your independent agent is a priceless resource when it comes to navigating your insurance coverage. If you are on the fence about a claim, we can help you weigh the benefits against the disadvantages so that you can make an informed decision based upon your individual circumstances. For more information or to request a free insurance quote, contact our office today. We look forward to serving you soon.