Should I File an Insurance Claim?

Life happens, that’s why you purchase insurance.  When a loss occurs, is it always best to file a claim with your insurance company?  The answer is, it depends.  Follow these tips from American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin to help you decide when you should file a claim and the times you should not.

When it comes to your vehicle, there are many circumstances when you could file a claim.  These include an accident, your vehicle is stolen, or an animal hit.  How do you determine if you should instantly file a claim when a situation like this occurs?  If you are involved in a bad car accident or there are injuries to either party as a result of an accident, always file a claim right away.  Also, if your vehicle has been towed and is no longer drive-able, file a claim right away in that situation too.  If you are involved in a minor accident, there are no injuries and you are still able to drive your vehicle, we recommend getting an estimate prior to filing a claim. Generally, if the estimated damage is $2,000 or less, we would recommend paying out of pocket.  The average at-fault auto accident will increase an auto policy approximately 20% over the course of three years.  This means, if your auto insurance premium is $1000, you will pay an estimated $600 extra over three years.  This is on top of your deductible, which typically ranges from $500-$1000.  Also, it is important to get an estimate prior to filing to ensure that your deductible does not exceed the cost of the damage.  The best thing you can do in the event of a claim is call your agent.  At that point, they will be able to advise you on what the best course of action is.  When an auto accident occurs, it is also important to take photos.  Take photos of the accident site, the vehicles involved, the damage, the license plate of the other vehicle(s), and most importantly the other party’s driver’s license and insurance ID card.  Once you are in a safe place, call your agent.

For home insurance, we typically recommend carrying a higher deductible.  This is because home insurance is intended for catastrophic losses. If there is a fire or if someone is injured, file the claim right away.  If your home has suffered water or hail damage, we recommend getting an estimate to asses the damage first.  Since most home deductibles are $1,000, you want to make sure the damage exceeds your deductible before filing the claim.  To file a claim, we generally say the  threshold of $2,000 in estimated damage.  Home claims will typically surcharge your insurance approximately 10%.  Again, it is very important to take photos and try to stop or minimize the damage to the best of your ability so the situation does not worsen.  Remember, always call you agent for them to walk you through and advise on how to proceed!

In the end, you purchased your insurance and you have the freedom to file a claim for any amount.  Most important thing to do in the event of a claim or a possible claim is call your agent; you will to get unbiased advice on what to do next.

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