You purchased insurance to give you peace of mind that your assets and future income are protected in case of an unexpected loss. You worked carefully with your independent agent to procure coverage that meets your unique needs; and now, it’s time to file a claim. While your home and auto insurance cover a wide range of damages and perils, sometimes filing a claim does not work to your benefit – even if your loss is covered under your policy. Before you call your insurer, continue reading to find out what happens when you file and claim and what you can do to protect yourself against unexpected consequences.
Your Claims History is Affected
When you file a home or auto insurance claim, your insurance company will make a note of the loss and share that information with other insurers by reporting it to a consumer reporting agency. That information stays on your report for years and can follow you from insurer to insurer. In other words, switching to another insurance company after filing a claim is unlikely to protect you against a premium penalty. In some cases, insurance claims up to five years old can affect your ability to obtain preferred rates on future coverage. Having several claims in a short period of time might even disqualify you from coverage with certain providers.
Comprehensive Claim Value Matter Less than the Number of Claims
When it comes to comprehensive insurance coverage, the number of claims you make is weighed more heavily than the value of those claims. If you have your insurer billed for a $50 windshield rock chip repair, it may be counted the same as a comprehensive claim that would have cost the insurer thousands of dollars. In other words, small claims could contribute to higher premiums, which will almost certainly end up costing more than the $50 repair.
You Still Pay for Damages
In most cases, claims for damages to your personal property will require you to contribute toward the cost of repairs or replacement. Known as a deductible, this amount can range from a few hundred dollars on an auto policy to thousands on your homeowners insurance. If you are quoted $900 for minor repairs to your vehicle, you could be responsible for $500 of that bill to meet your deductible. Sure, you will save $400 in upfront costs, but will higher premiums make up for the savings?
“Should I File a Claim?” Call Us First
As your independent agency, our job is to look out for your best interest. At Van De Hey Insurance, our job is to give you the personalized help and advice you cannot find by talking to an insurance company or going online. We can help you determine the long-term cost of filing a claim and whether doing so would be financially beneficial to you in the future. We can also help you determine which scenarios should always warrant a claim, such as for bodily injury liability or the total loss of your home.
If you are not currently working with an independent insurance agency, you could be missing out on benefits that make navigating your coverage much easier. We do more than sell insurance – we offer one-on-one support customized to meet your needs. For more information or to request your free quote, contact our office today. We look forward to serving you soon.