This is a very common question! There are a number of different things that go into figuring out if you should file an auto insurance claim. The most important things to consider are deductible amount and points on your driving record.
First thing to consider is your deductible amount. If you have $500 deductible and the cost to repair your car is $800, then it probably does not make sense to file a claim. You pay the first $500, so the insurance company will only send you $300 out of the $800 to do the repairs. Claims filed may not always go against your driving record, but it could affect your rating (your premium) of your auto policy. For example, an insured recently called in to see if he should file a claim when the upholstery of his car was ruined from a neighbor’s dog. The dog had ripped the seats and he wanted to have them replaced. The cost to replace the seat covering was $800. He had a $500 deductible. I told him if he files the claim he will not get points on his driving record, but his rating for renewal will probably increase. He decided not to file a claim.
Points on Your Record
The other important factor to consider are the points on your driving record. When you get into an accident you get points on your record. It is 3 points for a minor accident and 4 points for a major accident. A minor accident is $1k-$5k in damage. A major accident is over $5k in damage. For example, if you back into a car in a parking lot, you may choose to pay for damages out of pocket. Your car is a big SUV and sustains no damage but the other car has a dented bumper. You would get 3 points on your driving record and have to pay for that fender bender for up to 6 years. It does not make sense to file the claim.
If you have any questions on whether to file an auto insurance claim, always give us a call. We will walk you through making the decision. That is why you have an insurance agent!