General Question

mirifique's avatar

How to determine if accident is worth reporting to insurance company vs. paying the amount yourself?

Asked by mirifique (1511 points ) October 8th, 2009

I recently got in a fender bender (due to another guy speeding down a side street with tons of parked cars, and me avoiding a collision with him by swerving into another car) that has been estimated at $600 of damage to the other car. My car was undamaged. I do not have a deductible for property damage coverage, but I am concerned my rates will go up. Does anyone know if there is a way to estimate what the “threshold” would be below which it is not worthwhile to report to your insurance company?

Also, any thoughts on asking my claims representative approximately how much my rates would increase, without them entering something into the system that would increase my premiums?

My policy does not include accident forgiveness, and it starts with a G, also. Thanks.

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15 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

Couldn’t you call your insurance agent/claims adjuster and ask a “Let’s suppose this scenario happened” question?

mirifique's avatar

@SpatzieLover Could just having that conversation increase my rates, though? or is that illegal

SpatzieLover's avatar

@mirifique I think that’s illegal. I’m not an adjuster, though.

We’ve had a couple of hits (no fault of our own) and the rates went up very slightly.

gussnarp's avatar

Call your agent and ask them flat out, they won’t change your rates if you don’t file a claim. Was there anybody in the other car at the time, or was it parked? My concern would be whether you open yourself to a later personal injury claim if you decide to pay it yourself.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Just say you’re calling for some general information about their policies. Then give them scenarios such as “So what happens i get into an accident that isn’t my fault? Do my rates still increase because of it?” If they ask why you need to know this info just tell them you may want to switch to a company that offers accident forgiveness. They won’t suspect anything. They will just assume you’re shopping around.

Zaku's avatar

Sadly, the insurance company has already had its research department of statistical scientists and computers determine that every likely event is ultimately in their very lucrative favor. ;-P

autumn43's avatar

I don’t know if calling would be a good idea. We had water damage to our house one time. We called to ask them about what the best thing to do about it – file a claim or just clean up, etc. It ended up costing us $100 for three years JUST TO TALK TO THE ADJUSTER! we had had a claim 10 years previously for water damage

I’m so cynical that I wouldn’t call them. I would get three estimates and provide them to the person with damaged car. Let them choose where to get it fixed and pay that. In Massachusetts if it was only $600 (not only but you know what I mean) I would pay the person to get it fixed. Otherwise, I would have to pay the deductible and my rates would go up and it would easily be more $$ to do it that way than to handle it privately.

mirifique's avatar

Has anyone had their rates go up after running a hypothetical situation by an adjuster?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@mirifique NO! And we call plenty.

mirifique's avatar

@SpatzieLover But do you have to say it’s a hypothetical? What if you honestly depict the situation; would that increase your rates?

SpatzieLover's avatar

We’ve come right out and said what’s happened both to our house & car. The only reason we had a minuscule rate hike on the car was due to a claim that was over $3000.

autumn43's avatar

@mirifique – In my answer I explained just that! It cost us $100 over three years because we had called the adjuster – but didn’t even file a claim!!!

Of course it may depend on the insurance company, as well. But there are all kinds of loopholes that they have. I don’t trust them.

mirifique's avatar

I went ahead and filed a claim. When they asked if I had been in an accident after my hypothetical, I told them yes as I do not want to be charged with defrauding an insurance company, and they then proceeded to get information for a report.

Considering I filed a report, and that the report itself would probably be grounds for a rate increase, I figured that having them pay up the $600 in exchange for what they said would be a $100/year increase for 3 years would be worth it compared to paying $600 in cash.

I really hope I made the right decision. I’m worried because if I have a second accident, they are going to F me up a bit rate-wise.

rottenit's avatar

When we were in a similar situation we ended up filing a claim, our lawyer felt that incase the other party decided to sue for something down the road we would be covered by the policy.

mirifique's avatar

@rottenit My thoughts exactly. The guy I hit sounded nice on the phone (very understanding, etc.), but it’s not as if I’m friends with the dude or anything.

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