Not all car insurance accidents are large ordeals involving other drivers and accidents. In fact, many car accidents are small fender-benders and collisions that the news never covers—in part because it would be boring, and in another part because these accidents aren’t usually reported.
If you accidentally damage your own car, you have the option to not file a car insurance claim. Accidents not involving other people can be a lot less stressful because you don’t have to worry about the other person coming back to sue you because of damages. It is still important to consider your options when it comes to filing a car insurance claim, though.
For example, say you are backing out of your driveway and accidentally strike your own mailbox, denting your vehicle’s back end. Since this accident doesn’t involve other people and instead concerns your own personal property, you may not want to file a car insurance claim.
Having Damage Appraised
Before calling your insurance agent or deciding not to file a claim, it is recommended that you have the damage to your vehicle inspected by a professional. This can help you get a general quote on how much it would cost to repair your vehicle out of pocket. In small accidents such as the one above, it is unlikely that you would even reach your car insurance deductible, thus making it pointless to file a claim. Say you backed up into your mailbox and take your car into the shop the next day to have it inspected. The professional there estimates a $100 repair fee. Your collision deductible is $500. Since you won’t reach the $500 deductible for this damage, your claim would likely be denied even if you filed one.
Keep in mind that filing a claim can raise your rates, but it doesn’t always have a large effect. If damage to your vehicle is significant, you may want to consider filing a claim—especially if the damage surpasses your car insurance deductible.
It is also important to note that filing a claim when other people are involved is almost always the right course of action. Even if no one seems injured, settling an accident out of pocket with other people can leave you open to lawsuits later. Filing a claim long after the unreported accident can also lead to a denied claim.
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