When Not to Make a Car Insurance Claim

If there’s minimal damage, you already have claims on your record, or you can settle privately with the other driver, an insurance claim might be unnecessary.
Written by Nick Kunze
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
While a major accident should always go through your insurance company, accidents with minimal damage or that you can settle with an out-of-pocket payment don’t justify an insurance claim.
This may seem counterintuitive, as paying for damages to your vehicle is exactly what you have insurance for. But sometimes it’s better (and cheaper) to settle these issues on your own with an out-of-pocket payment.
If you’re wondering when it’s worth it to file a claim (and when it’s not), the car insurance comparison app
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Here are five times when not to make an insurance claim.
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The cost of damages is close to or less than your deductible

After an accident, you need to decide if the damage done is worth going through your insurance for. If the cost to fix minor or incidental damage is less than or close to your deductible, it may be better to pay out of pocket.
You’re required to pay your car insurance deductible for any and all collision insurance claims. If the damage is lower than your deductible, you’re essentially paying out of pocket anyway.
If the amount of the damages is only slightly more than the deductible, it still may be worth paying out of pocket. Filing a claim can cause your monthly premiums to rise, and those long-term costs could offset the amount saved on repairs immediately after the accident.
Be sure to take your car to a mechanic for an estimate as soon as you can. Even small repairs can be costly and waiting too long to make a claim can cause problems. Some insurance companies have a time limit for reporting an accident, so weigh your options and make a decision.
Key Takeaway Your deductible usually dictates when not to make a claim.

The accident involves only one other driver you agree to settle privately

If there is only one other driver involved in the accident, it may be easier to settle the issue without involving insurance companies. In minor collisions, accidents without injury, or accidents where fault is obvious, drivers can decide to cover the costs out of pocket and figure out payment details between them.
While this option can prevent a claim and keep insurance premiums down, be sure to proceed with caution.
The other driver could decide to contact their insurance company later, which could cause issues. Also consider that the price of a seemingly small repair can be much higher than expected, leading to high out-of-pocket costs.

You've filed claims for other accidents

If you’ve been in numerous accidents leading to multiple claims, your insurance premiums may quickly become too high to manage. Claims will raise your yearly premiums, especially if you’re making a claim for an at-fault accident.
The impact on your premiums is influenced by your location, your insurance provider, the damage to the vehicle, and the time between claims. If you’d like to reduce your premiums and check out your other options, it might be time to turn to
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One thing to consider is whether you’re in a no-fault state. In most states, insurance companies won’t raise your premium if the accident was not your fault. This makes it less risky to file since your monthly costs will stay the same.
In no-fault states, insurance companies can raise your premiums even if you were not at fault for a collision.
If you can afford the out-of-pocket costs to keep your long-term costs down, consider handling it yourself and not filing another claim.
Key Takeaway Always consider the effect on your premium when filing claims for minor damages.

It’s a single-car accident with minimal damage

If no one else is involved in an accident, the decision of whether or not to file a claim is completely up to you. If you bumped a light pole or hit a curb, it may be wise not to file an insurance claim.
You will almost always be considered at fault in single-car accidents, so keeping these off your insurance record is a good way to keep your monthly costs low.
If the repairs are affordable or close to your deductible, it might make more sense to pay out of pocket.
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Your vehicle is older and you’re not worried about cosmetic appeal

In certain cases, you may not want to move forward with repairs at all. If the car is older, already damaged, or you can’t afford the repairs, it may be better to forgo fixing the car altogether.
The amount you’d pay for the deductible—plus the increase in your premium—may simply not be worth having your car in tip-top shape. And since you don’t want the repairs done, there’s no need to file a claim.
Of course, this is only an option if the damage is only cosmetic. Any damage that affects how the car handles or may affect the safety of the driver and passengers should be fixed as quickly as possible.
Key Takeaway A cosmetically damaged car you can afford is better than a fixed car you can’t.

When you should file a claim

There are times when you don’t need to file an insurance claim—and then there are times when it’s unavoidable.

After a serious accident

If there’s severe damage to your vehicle or it’s become undrivable, you should file a claim. Especially in a two-car accident, filing will make sure you are correctly compensated for the damage (and that it’s fixed correctly).

If there are injuries

If someone is hurt in the collision, make sure you file a claim. No matter how minor the injury seems, medical expenses can be extremely costly.

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While there are plenty of times when paying out of pocket is the best route, it’s still important to have the best insurance plan at the best price possible for your lifestyle, vehicle, and budget. With
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