You probably aren’t counting on your gutters collapsing under the weight of ice this winter. It is also unlikely that you are planning to smash your taillight while backing your vehicle into a fence this weekend. Fortunately, your insurance guarantees that covered damages will be paid for if things fail to go as planned.
In many cases, getting money to repair damages is as easy as calling up your insurance provider, meeting with an adjuster, and waiting for the claim to process. As straightforward as that may seem, the process is not always so simple. While you are getting reimbursed for a loss, you might also be causing concern by your insurer that could end up costing you more money than it saves. Continue reading to learn when filing a claim is a good idea – and when it is not.
Filing a Claim Might be a Good Idea if…
There are times when filing a claim requires little thought. These includes if you experience a total loss after a car accident or house fire. In these cases, your insurance company could save you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. You should also report to your insurer if you are responsible for another person’s injuries or property damages. Liability insurance is designed to pay for medical bills, legal fees, and other losses that you are financially responsible for paying. Whether you hit a pedestrian with your vehicle or a neighbor slips and falls on your property, liability insurance can protect you against the high cost of litigation.
Filing a Claim Might be a Bad Idea if…
You might not benefit from a claim if you are filing for reimbursement of minor damages to your personal property. This is especially true if the value of your claim is little more than the amount of your deductible. In the case of a dented bumper or a broken side mirror, for example, your insurer might only pay $100-200 toward the cost of repairs after a $500 deductible.
Even if you save a little cash on the transaction, the upfront savings may be quickly counteracted by an increase in your insurance premiums. You might lose your claims-free discount and no longer qualify for a preferred policy. If you already have a history of past claims over the previous 3, 5, or even 7 years, you could lose your coverage altogether if your insurer decides you are high-risk.
Of course, every situation is different, and your experience will be unique to your insurance company and circumstances. In some cases, insurance companies are willing to overlook a first-time claim. In others, insurers pay more attention to the type of claim you file. A collision or dog bite, for example, could weigh more heavily on your premiums than a crack in your windshield.
Should I file a claim?
It’s not a question you should take lightly. Your independent agent can explain how the claims process works, how a particular claim might affect your future insurance coverage, and whether the loss savings are enough to justify a higher premium. If you are not working with an independent agent, now is the time to contact Stauffer-Klug Insurance. An independent agent can be an invaluable resource when it comes to navigating your coverage. Independent agents work for you – not the insurer.
For claim assistance or to find out more about the benefits of working with an independent agent, contact our office today.