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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Over time, many cars can develop unsightly dents and scratches. While many are relatively minor and can easily be overlooked, some vehicles are so damaged by these issues that rust damage develops or the vehicle’s value is negatively affected.
Filing an auto insurance claim to restore the condition of your car sounds like it would be a reasonable way to pay for the repairs your car needs, but this is not always possible or ideal.
Each situation involving a damaged car is unique, and the owner will need to review numerous factors to determine if filing a claim is the right move to make. By focusing your attention on these important points, you can make a better overall decision for the care of your vehicle.
Saving money on car insurance is always a good move. Enter your zip code above to compare quotes and find the company that’s right for you.
The Type of Coverage You Have
There is a wide range of coverage types, and some will pay for repair costs to your vehicle while others will not. By understanding these coverage types, you can better determine if a claim is a feasible option for you to consider.
This is the most basic type of coverage that you can obtain that complies with most state driving laws. However, it only pays for repair costs and other related expenses that others incur as a result of your actions on the road.
Your own expenses are not covered by a liability policy.
Collision or Comprehensive Insurance
These are two more robust types of coverage that you may have.
- Collision insurance will pay for dent and scratch repairs that are caused by a collision with another vehicle.
- Comprehensive insurance includes repairs for collision damage as well as weather-related events, vandalism, and more.
Keep in mind that a claim covers a single event. If your damages developed over time rather than all at once from one event, your claim may not be approved.
The repair costs for your vehicle’s damage also should be considered carefully. A small scratch on a single panel may easily be buffed out, but a deep and long scratch may require several panels to be replaced and the entire vehicle to be repainted.
As you can see, the costs for repairs for dents and scratches can vary dramatically.
If your coverage may pay for your repairs, it is important to obtain several competitive quotes for vehicle repair work before you make a decision about filing a claim.
The cost of the repairs should be analyzed in relation to the cost of your deductible as well as the potential for your premium to increase.
Your Insurance Deductible
Any time you file an insurance claim against your auto insurance policy, you will be responsible for paying the deductible.
This deductible is usually around $500, but it can reasonably range from $250 to $1,000 or more in some cases. You will pay the deductible, and your insurance company will pay for any remaining expenses on the claim that are covered by your policy.
If your vehicle only has $300 in damages and your deductible is $500, you can see that it is not reasonable to file a claim with your auto insurance provider.
Even if your expenses are $1,000 with a $500 deductible, it may still not be worthwhile to file a claim because your insurance premium could increase for years to come as a result.
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A Potential Increase in Your Premium
If you file an auto insurance claim, there is a good chance that your premium may rise, and it may stay at an elevated level for several years. One of the many factors that insurance companies review when determining auto insurance rates is your claims history.
The type and amount of the claim as well as how old the claim is are all taken into account. With this in mind, your single claim may result in higher premiums for two or three years or more.
If Your Auto Premium Increases
Property damage to your vehicle can affect its overall condition, such as by leading to rust damage over time. It can also affect your vehicle’s overall value and your ability to sell it at a later date.
If you have made the decision to file a claim to repair your car, you may now be facing a higher premium as a result. These tips can help you to moderate your premium expenses.
Shop for a Better Rate
While some providers increase auto insurance rates when you file a single claim, others will overlook one recent or several older claims.
Because of this, you may be able to save a substantial amount of money on your insurance premium if you compare rates from several providers.
Ensure that you only request quotes for coverage from reputable providers with great financial strength and an excellent track record with their customers.
Adjust Your Deductible
You may also enjoy substantial savings in your premium if you request a lower deductible. This can be accomplished by simply calling your existing provider and requesting this change to be made to your policy.
You can also request a higher deductible when you are shopping for lower rates with other providers.
If you opt for a higher deductible, ensure that you have ample funds available to pay the higher amount as needed.
Because the deductible is payable each time you file a claim, the deductible amount should be readily available in a savings account or other cash account for you to draw from when necessary.
Look for Great Discounts
There may also be exceptional discounts that you can qualify for if you want to reduce your premium amount. You can find discounts for everything from having a safe driving record to bundling your insurance policies.
Because these discounts vary, shopping around can help you to identify the best combination of discounts you qualify for to maximize your savings.
While you understandably want to keep your vehicle well-maintained and erase any signs of damage, filing a claim against your car insurance policy is not always the best way to pay for needed repairs.
Carefully analyze your unique situation and your current insurance policy to determine what your best option is before you file a claim.
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