Should You Pay For The Damage Instead Of Making An Insurance Claim?

Fender benders occur every day. While damages are sometimes minor, you may still wonder whether to file an insurance claim as this can negatively impact your rates.

Before filing a claim, however, it would be prudent to obtain an estimate for repairs; you might find that their cost comes in close to or under your insurance deductible amount.

1. It’s a Minor Accident

Your state may not require that you report an accident if there was no significant damage or injuries, in which case the situation can be settled directly with the other driver on-the-spot as long as no one feels hurt and nothing irreparably damaged occurred.

Minor and major car accidents often overlap; therefore it can be hard to distinguish the difference. Many factors come into play here, such as whether anyone involved requires medical treatment and whether their vehicle can be repaired. Even if an incident may seem minor at the time, contact your insurer and get an estimate from a mechanic as soon as possible – plus exchange contact information with any involved drivers and take photos for evidence purposes afterwards.

An emergency room visit should also be considered essential after being involved in any kind of collision, particularly those involved in minor fender benders. Although you may feel fine at the time, symptoms from more serious injuries such as whiplash or concussion don’t usually show until days or weeks post-accident; additionally, minor cuts and scrapes can sometimes become infected leading to more severe health issues later.

Contacting your insurance company could also give you access to benefits not available if settling the claim yourself, such as coverage for rental car usage if necessary during repairs and replacement, personal injury protection (PIP), or medical payments to cover bodily injuries related to an accident.

As mentioned above, it’s likely that the other driver will attempt to reach a private agreement with you to resolve their incident. They could be financially strapped and don’t have any extra money available for repairs or medical expenses, while your insurance company has an interest in expediting their claim process as quickly as possible.

2. You’re the At-Fault Driver

Car accident liability depends on who was at fault and the severity of damage done in an accident. Sometimes minor repairs can be handled out-of-pocket without needing to file a claim with your insurer; the only exception being when hitting pedestrians; in such instances you must report this incident immediately.

However, if an accident was caused by your negligence – such as running a red light or driving while distracted – then it’s likely you are responsible. Police reports and state laws regarding negligence usually help determine your guilt in such instances. Typically in most states that have liability insurance laws in place that require drivers who cause an accident to have liability coverage that covers damages to other drivers as well as vehicle repair costs; twelve states offer no-fault policies where personal injury protection (PIP) policies typically cover medical expenses, lost wages and property damage after an incident.

Even if you were at fault in an accident, filing an insurance claim should still be worth your while. Damage from larger accidents often exceeds policy limits; and with higher deductibles or additional coverage such as uninsured motorist coverage available to you, insurance may help cover any remaining losses.

Keep in mind that paying out-of-pocket for an accident settlement could have serious repercussions for your policy. Depending on your car insurance company, it could result in the loss of “accident forgiveness” or increased rates after your first at-fault accident – an unnecessary risk most don’t wish to take. It might also be useful to consult an attorney as they can assist with complex legal matters that would otherwise become too much to bear alone.

3. You’re Not Injured

If both drivers involved are unharmed in an auto accident and no injuries result, it may be wiser to settle any damages yourself rather than dealing with another insurance provider for too long afterward. Note: if you fail to report an incident and later discover your repair bill is far greater than expected, filing an insurance claim would no longer be an option.

4. You’re Not Hurt

Pain and injury often coincide, yet it is possible to experience injury without experiencing constant discomfort. Minor aches and pains may be managed at home; if serious harm has been done to your body however, seek medical advice immediately.

DIY damage payment might seem like a good option at first, but it could come back to haunt you later on. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and will work to reduce your compensation as much as possible; especially if you fail to report or seek medical treatment promptly after an accident has taken place. Special damages are easy to calculate; general ones, like pain and suffering can be more difficult.