Insurance claims come in all types and sizes. Chances are, you have home and auto coverage that provides you with a wide range of protection against many different scenarios. It gives you peace of mind knowing that you and your assets are covered against the things you cannot control. However, just because you can make an insurance claim does not always mean you should. Before you call your insurer, make sure a claim really is in your best interest.
Why Think Twice?
You pay for insurance so that you have coverage when you need it, but filing a claim could hurt you long-term more than it helps you in the short-term. This is especially true if you have a history or prior claims, accidents, or traffic violations. Insurers keep record of your history, and they use that data to determine their risk of insuring you in the future. Adding a claim to your record could label you ‘high-risk’, which could result in higher premiums or even non-renewal of coverage. Even if your insurer offers ‘forgiveness’ for a first accident, you might still notice your premiums rise if your claims-free discount is lost.
Unfortunately, claims history tends to follow you from insurer to insurer. While an independent agent can help you shop for competitive rates on coverage even with a history or claims, preferred policies and more favorable rates tend to be reserved for drivers and homeowners with few or no claims in the past 3, 5, or even 7 years.
Of course, higher premiums may be a small price to pay to have your home rebuilt after a tornado or your car replaced after it’s stolen. On the other hand, it probably is not worth the cost or trouble if you only need a new taillight or a small repair to your wind-damaged fence. This is especially true if you have a high deductible that will require you to pay much of the claim expenses out of your own pocket anyway.
When it Makes Sense to File a Claim
There are many times when filing a claim can make sense. These include:
- Accidents involving damages to another person’s property
- Accidents involving injuries
- Major losses, such as after a house fire
When it comes to your financial responsibility for another person’s loss or injuries, insurance can protect you against the cost of lawsuits, legal fees, repair and replacement expenses, and victim medical bills. In addition, major personal losses – usually those that considerably exceed the cost of your deductible – should probably be claimed against your insurance coverage whenever possible.
Your Independent Agent Can Help
Your independent agent works for you – not the insurance company. Here at Wheaton Insurance, we are there long after you purchase your coverage, providing support and assistance as you navigate the details of your policy. We can help you better understand the mechanics of your coverage and the many ways filing a claim could affect you both now and in the future.
Every accident is different, and your situation is unique. Make sure you are making the right decision by consulting with your independent agent before filing a claim. If you do not yet have an independent agent, contact us to find out how Wheaton Insurance can help you save on the coverage you need. We look forward to serving you soon.