Car accidents can be frightening even long after they’re over, and many people wish to file an insurance claim immediately. Some, however, may not want to file a car insurance claim immediately. There are many reasons you may not want to file a claim, such as if you have already had a recent claim or had another accident just drop off of your record.
There is good news and bad news. On one hand, you can choose not to file a car insurance claim. On the other hand, you run risks by not doing so, and not filing a claim doesn’t necessarily keep your insurer from knowing about an accident.
Investigating the Damage
Before you consider filing a car insurance claim, it is important to take your vehicle into the shop and have the damage appraised by an expert. In some cases, the damages may not be severe enough that you wish to file a claim. For example, if your collision deductible is $1,000 and your collision with a friend’s mailbox results in $200 in damage, you won’t be able to meet your deductible—thus you won’t need to file a claim.
This is the same for all aspects of your car insurance policy. If you don’t meet your deductible, you likely won’t receive compensation even if you try to file a claim.
Accidents Involving Others
Insurance gets tricky when other people are involved, however. Most of the time, if people are injured or if you crash when another person, you will want to file a car insurance claim so long as you meet the deductibles. This is because small injuries can turn into large medical issues, which can fall on your shoulders in the form of a lawsuit. When involved in a multi-person accident, make sure to document everything. Also consider whether your state is a fault or no-fault state to estimate who may have to pay for damages.
However, just because you don’t directly file a claim doesn’t mean that your insurance provider won’t know about the accident. If you file a police report for the accident, for example, the accident can go on your record whether you are at fault or not. Your DMV and insurer generally communicate about drivers, so when your record is updated, your insurer will know. This means that, even if you don’t directly file a claim, your car insurance rates could still rise.