Alright: it's quiz time! Today we are going to play a round of "Would You File an Insurance Claim If...". Answer the following questions honestly -- and remember, this makes a great game for the next family get-together!
- Would you file an insurance claim if... you got into a fender-bender in the parking lot at Preschool dropoff?
- Would you file an insurance claim if... a tree branch fell and damaged your gutter?
- Would you file an insurance claim if... your teenage son backed into the garage at your house?
Well -- what did you say?
There aren't technically right or wrong answers here -- but there are a few factors to consider in order to make the best decision for your wallet. Here's what you should consider:
1. What type of claim is it?
Is it minor damage (such as a scrape on your bumper in Scenario #1), or was someone hurt? If someone was hurt, call your insurance agent immediately. Don’t ever try to solve it on your own -- this could open you up to a potential lawsuit.
2. What's your deductible?
If the estimate for damages is below or right at your deductible, consider paying for them out of pocket. Get an estimate before a claim is filed (only if the damage is minor, of course). So, in that Preschool parking lot fender-bender, the damage is probably minor enough that you should simply pay for it yourself.
3. How will this claim affect my premium?
Depending on the type of claim and the insurance company, a claim can affect future premiums (AKA, what you pay every month/quarter/year for your insurance policy). For example, certain damage caused by the weather (hail, wind, etc) won't affect your premiums. It’s always a good idea to check with your agent on this before filing a claim.
4. What are your options?
Do you have a home warranty? That might cover the property damage in Scenario #2. Or, Triple AAA could assist in towing, jumping or fixing issues with your car. Check all of your policies and coverage to see what your options are.
So, in general, filing an insurance claim should be reserved for larger damage (a fire, major damage to your car/totaling your car) or issues that are clearly specified in your policy.
And your son who backed into the garage? Have him work to help pay for the repairs!
Have any questions? Call us to discuss!
Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano,
House Fire Clinton Place
Source: Chicago Tribune,
Knowing When to File an Insurance Claim
When It Makes Financial Sense to File an Auto Insurance Claim