If you are involved in a car accident, the average cost to have car repairs done (depending on the specific damage) can be up to $10,000. Deciding whether or not to file a car insurance claim might seem like an obvious choice in that case.
However, you should take the time to talk with your car insurance provider to discuss the details of your policy, as you might be surprised to find out that some car damage is easier and cheaper to pay for out of pocket.
If you’re looking for insurance in Texas, you have plenty of options; it’s just a matter of finding the right insurance agent and carrier that fits your needs. Part of this is finding a policy with a comfortable deductible, which makes the out-of-pocket vs. claim decision easier.
Read on to learn more about whether or not you should file a claim.
To File or Not to File – That is the Question?
The first thing you should do when deciding on car insurance in Texas is to read the car insurance policy in depth and review it with your insurance agent to make sure that it fits your budget and covers you for the circumstances that you may need.
It is important to do this before buying your insurance coverage, or on a somewhat regular basis, but to not wait until you are in an accident to review the policy with your agent. This will put you on the right track immediately toward deciding whether or not you should file a car insurance claim or pay out of pocket when you sustain car damage.
Consider What Kind of Car Damage You Suffered
As mentioned above, the average price of repairing car damage can vary widely depending upon what kind of car repair you have to get done, the extent of the car damage and the type of car you have (let’s not forget about any liens you may have as well).
For example, if your car was vandalized and you have to get some small scratches repaired, that is going to be significantly cheaper than if you were in a serious accident and sustained major frame damage.
What Is Your Deductible if You File a Car Insurance Claim?
Using the examples above, let’s say your scratch repair from the vandalism is quoted by the body shop as a cost of $350. If you file a car insurance claim, your deductible may be higher than the original quote. For instance, if the repair is going to cost $350 out of pocket, you’ll save $150 doing it that way instead of paying a $500 deductible, more if you have a higher deductible
In the same vein, if you are in a serious accident that causes major frame damage, the repair is going to be significantly higher – let’s say the average is $10,000. It’s safe to say that you’d be better off to file an insurance claim and pay the $500 (or whatever your deductible is) rather than pay $10,000 out of pocket.
Will Filing a Claim With Your Car Insurance Raise Your Premium?
This goes hand-in-hand with reviewing your policy before you buy it, or review it often. Some insurance coverage has a stipulation that if you file a claim, your premium may go up “x” amount of dollars. Another possibility is that it could increase if you file an “x” amount of claims over a given time frame. Likely it has to do with a lot more variables than just – “get in an accident, your insurance goes up”.
This can be a significant factor to figure in if the repair is close to the same as your deductible. It could end up costing you a lot more in premium increases. More than it would be to pay the higher amount out of pocket from the start.
Maintain a Good Relationship With Your Agent
There is a lot to be said about maintaining a good relationship with your car insurance agent. Even if you have studied your policy front-to-back and you’ve run all the numbers you can think of, you should still review the decision with your insurance agent.
If you maintain a good relationship with your agent, like Kicker Insures Me Agency, they (we) will take the time to search out possible alternatives for you or tell you about other considerations that you might not have otherwise considered.
There is also the fact that car insurance coverage changes from time to time. Those big stuffed envelopes in the mail that outline our policy changes – you know, the ones that make your eyes glaze over? Those are important.
These policy changes are the kind of thing that maintaining a good relationship with your agent can help with. There might have been a big policy change that you were unaware of because you missed the fine print.
Are You The At-Fault Driver?
If you are the at-fault driver in the accident, you will need to carefully consider what you want to do, because your premium is very likely to increase. If there were injuries involved, property damage or any other aggravating or mitigating factors, they will be important to take into account, as well.
Make sure that you review the entire situation with your insurance agent or the adjuster. This should include police reports, photos you have taken at the scene and of your vehicle, witness statements, and any other pertinent evidence.
Consider Your Unique Situation and Make an Informed Decision
When you’ve sustained car damage in an accident or other incident, filing a car insurance claim comes down to the math. If no one gets injured and the damage is mild to your car, you may want to consider foregoing the claims process. However, you should consult with your car insurance agent in Texas to help you decide.
For a free consultation or if you have any other questions, please contact Kicker Insures Me Agency at (281) 487-9686 (text or call). We will help walk you through your insurance policy or help you select a policy that works for you and your family.