You’ve been in an accident. What are your initial thoughts? If you’re like many vehicle owners, your mind quickly turns to the financial ramifications of the incident: “How much will repairs cost?” “If I make an insurance claim, will this accident increase my premiums?”
Too often, car owners don’t file a claim for fear of potential rate increases.
The truth is, filing a claim may or may not increase your premium, as there are several factors that can affect this situation.
The Accident: How severe was the accident? Was it a fender bender or a major crash? If the damage was great, it’s more likely to lead to a premium increase.
The Fault: Who was at fault in the accident? If you were at fault, it’s more likely your rates will go up. Often if the fault lies with the other driver, your rates will not be affected.
In some areas, both insurance companies will pay for some of the costs as a result of “no fault” regulations in those areas. Your insurance carrier will determine if the incident results in an increase.
The Record: Is this your first accident? If you have a safe driving record and have been with your insurance company for a long time, you are less likely to experience a premium increase. If it is your first accident, you also may be eligible for accident forgiveness.
The Theft: Was your car stolen? If you need to file a claim as a result of the theft of your car, rather than an accident, your rates may increase, especially if you live in a high-crime area.
If you suffer any vehicle damage, it’s always a good idea to discuss your repair and replacement needs with your insurance agent.
He or she can help you determine the next best steps and walk you through the process of filing a claim.