As a car owner with an active auto insurance policy, you can pursue an insurance claim or pay for your car repair after a car crash. Different factors can influence your recovery option decision. Deciding on the perfect recovery option after a car accident is not easy, but with the right advice, it’s possible.
Most people call a Bakersfield car accident attorney to review their cases and help them make this tough decision. So, when should you file a car insurance claim, and when should you sort yourself out? Keep reading to learn more on this subject.
When to File a Car Insurance Claim
The factors to consider when making this decision can include;
- Property damage or bodily injuries involved;
- Your auto insurance coverage;
- Cooperation of the other driver, and
- Insurance laws in your state, among others.
Here are the instances to file an auto insurance claim:
When Your Car is Badly Damaged
A badly damaged car requires major repairs. So, why spend your cash if your auto insurance policy covers such risks? Collision insurance pays for car repairs less the deductible. If your policy doesn’t include collision coverage, you pay for repairs from your pocket.
It’s important to report a car crash to your insurance company even when not filing a claim. Car repair service providers can fix minor issues and miss major issues that may present challenges later.
When You’re at Fault
File a car insurance claim if you’re liable for the accident. You should exchange crucial information with the other driver at the accident scene, including:
- Personal details, such as names, addresses, and phone contacts;
- Insurance details;
- Driver’s license details;
- Loss incurred by both sides, and
- License plate numbers.
Take pictures of the accident scene and any documents that can make evidence for your case. Also, report the crash to the police and contact your auto insurer as soon as you can. Most states require all motorists to purchase auto liability coverage.
Auto liability coverage protects drivers from legal action besides partly paying for damages resulting from their actions. If you hadn’t reported the crash and a third party who was involved in the crash decides to sue you later, it will be hard for you to defend yourself.
When the Accident Involves Bodily Injury
Always file a car insurance claim when a car collision causes physical injuries and when multiple are injured. However, obtain their IDs because they’ll be required when processing a car insurance claim. Liability coverage can compensate third parties involved in
involved in the accident you caused.
After a Major Accident
Your auto liability coverage will pay for the medical expenses of the injured people if you’re at fault. Even when you’re not liable, or weren’t injured, it’s important to file a claim.
When Not to File a Car Insurance Claim
Filing a car insurance claim for damage caused to others is recommended. However, you don’t have to file a car accident insurance claim in some instances, including:
When Minor Damages are Involved
A minor single-car accident can be handled without filing an insurance claim. For instance, when you reverse and bang a plastic tank at home, causing a minor dent on the hind bumper. Filing a claim.in this case, risks increasing your premiums and it’s not worth it.
When the Value of a Claim is Less than the Deductible
It’s not wise to file a car accident insurance claim if the cost of car repair is expected to be less than your insurance deductible. For instance, if the deductible is $2,000 and the cost of property damage is less than that amount, filing a claim would be a bad idea. If the property damage is slightly more than your deductible, settling the car repair expenses from your pocket is the best option.
Damages are Minimal and You Aren’t at Fault
Premiums can increase if you file an insurance claim for a minor car accident or when you’re not at fault. The best option is to pay for the repairs from your pocket.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?
Research shows that hiring legal representation can significantly increase the chance of winning a case. So, it’s wise to contact a car accident attorney if you’re a victim of a Bakersfield car crash. A good lawyer can help you in the following ways:
- Review your situation to determine if you have a valid case or not;
- Liaise with the defendant or their representatives, or insurer;
- Offer legal advice;
- Negotiate a fair settlement with insurance companies or their representatives;
While filing a car accident claim for your vehicle repair is allowed, it may not be a good idea. Ensure to review your auto insurance policy and understand the pros and cons of filing a claim in different circumstances.