Car repairs are usually paid by the at-fault driver’s property damage liability insurance, as long as their policy’s limits can cover the extent of the damage. If the at-fault driver’s liability coverage is not enough to cover the cost of the repairs or if the at-fault driver doesn’t have liability insurance, then uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can be used to pay for the repairs.
Regardless of fault, you can always use collision insurance to pay for car repairs after an accident. Just be aware that collision claims usually incur a deductible.
You should not file an auto insurance claim if only your own vehicle is damaged, there are no injuries, and the property damage is minimal. A claim might make it cheaper to pay for a single incident, but it will likely raise your future premiums, which could end up costing you more money in the long run.… read full answer
When Not to File an Insurance Claim
After a minor single-car accident, when there’s little damage.
After an accident with another driver resulting in no injuries and minimal property damage.
If the cost to repair your car is less than your deductible.
If the rise in your premium as a result of filing a claim will be more than your out-of-pocket costs.
A single at-fault claim raises premiums by about 40% on average. That means the average driver’s annual premium of about $1,500 would increase by approximately $600 after an accident, and it wouldn’t go down for three to five years. By comparison, the average collision claim is about $3,600.
Consequences of Not Reporting an Accident or Filing a Claim
Although it’s often the right decision to report accidents and/or file a claim, there’s no law that requires you to tell your insurance company. But insurers do require policyholders to immediately report accidents, and failing to do so can result in denied claims.
As a result, you should notify your insurer any time an accident involves another driver or results in any injuries. You should also contact your insurance company any time fault is unclear or if there is serious damage to a vehicle.
If you don’t plan to file a claim, remember that insurers keep close tabs on their interactions with customers through the CLUE database. Insurance companies often treat specific questions about coverage as claims with $0 payouts. Although it’s unlikely such a claim would affect your premium right away, regular inquiries could flag you as a frequent claimer.
It’s best to use insurance for its intended purpose—to protect against financially crippling situations. If you can pay out of pocket for a single-vehicle accident, it’s usually in your best interest to do so.
The first thing you should do after a car accident that is not your fault is to make sure everyone inside your car is safe and uninjured. Next, call the police, take pictures of the scene, and exchange insurance information with the at-fault driver so you can file a claim with their insurer. You should also report the accident to your insurance company in case you need to file a … read full answercollision, personal injury protection, or MedPay claim with your own policy.
What to Do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault
Move your car away from oncoming traffic and address any injuries. If your car is driveable you should try to move your car out of harm’s way to avoid further accidents or injuries.
Call the police and file a report. This will help you further along the way when filing an insurance claim since a police report will most likely determine fault.
Get the other driver’s insurance information. Take a photo of their insurance card so that you can get in touch with their insurer if you need to file a liability claim.
Take pictures of the scene and damage to the cars. Insurers require evidence before they can settle a claim. Having pictures from the incident will help speed up the claim process.
Report the accident to your insurance company. Even if you don’t file a claim with your own insurance, you should still report the accident to your insurer since they might need to update information related to your vehicle.
Document any accident-related expenses. An accident can incur a bunch of hidden costs. Make sure you keep track of all expenses related to the accident so that you can be reimbursed.
File a property damage and/or bodily injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Having gathered all the pertinent information, contact the at-fault driver’s insurer and file a claim. Make sure you have all the information and documents mentioned above so that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Filing an Insurance Claim When You’re Not at Fault
If an accident is not your fault, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. This will cover the cost of vehicle repairs and medical bills up to the limits of the driver’s policy.
Because it can take a long time for an insurance adjuster to officially determine fault, however, you can initially file a collision or personal injury claim with your own insurer to cover vehicle repairs and medical expenses, regardless of fault. Once fault is determined, your insurance company will recover the expenses from the at-fault driver’s insurer, and your deductible will be refunded.
Filing a claim will increase car insurance premiums from 3% to 32% on average for three to five years in almost all cases. How much your rate goes up depends on several factors, like the claim type and amount, your insurance company, your claims history, your location, and whether or not you have accident forgiveness.… read full answer
The most significant factors affecting how much your rates go up after an accident are the claim type and amount. Accidents that you cause will raise your premium the most, especially if the damages are over $2,000. Although prices don’t jump as much when you’re not at fault or the incident was beyond your control, you’ll probably still see a rate increase.
Average Rate Increase
Bodily Injury, At-Fault
Property Damage, At-Fault (over $2,000)
Property Damage, At-Fault (under $2,000)
Comprehensive (over $2,000)
Comprehensive (under $2,000)
It may seem unfair, but insurance companies are within their rights to raise your rates after a claim, even if the accident was not your fault. Insurers charge based on risk, and statistics show that you’re more likely to make additional claims if you’ve recently filed one.
Some insurance companies charge more than others after not-at-fault accidents, though. Progressive charges the most, raising rates by more than 16% on average. State Farm, on the other hand, doesn’t increase prices if their customer is not at fault.
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