Can Asking Advice about an Accident Raise my Car Insurance?

Numerous automobile insurance providers have confirmed that they will exclude an incident from their premium calculations if it is reported to them but does not result in a claim. However, the treatment of such incidents varies depending on factors such as the insurance company involved, the extent of the reported damages, the parties involved, and the presence of injuries. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the agent to evaluate the information and decide whether or not to report it to the company. If the agent perceives it as a potential claim in progress, they will initiate a claim file for the policyholder. In cases where the policy renewal is imminent, the incident may be recorded as a pending claim, potentially impacting the renewal premiums, particularly if it is deemed an at-fault accident.

Not every accident or other damage leads to a claim as many policyholders decide to pay minor damages out of pocket at the end and avoid any car insurance premium increases. Still, it is tricky to get the advice you need without getting the accident registered in your record as a possible claim.

Engaging in hypothetical discussions with your agent or insurer regarding an accident and potential claim is often a recommended approach. Many insurance companies acknowledge the possibility of conducting such discussions with their policyholders. This way, policyholders can get the advice they need without worrying about its consequences on their insurability or car insurance rates. In any case, policyholders should make it clear that they haven’t decided to make a claim yet but are just asking advice.

Agents also follow a similar principle. Motorists can approach agents with a hypothetical question regarding an incident. By initiating the conversation in this manner, individuals can freely discuss the circumstances and seek guidance without immediately involving their insurance company.

In any case, motorists should make it clear that they are “not reporting a claim but merely asking for some advice” when they are talking to agents. Essentially, if agents are in doubt, they will decide to report the incident to the company because they have a duty to be open and honest in their dealings. These days, they start recording the information the moment you start talking to them and an agent is likely to take the conversation as the notification of an incident for which a claim is expected.

After making a decision not to file a claim, it becomes important for policyholders to inform their insurers accordingly. If there was a previous conversation or a claim file opened based on that discussion, it should be promptly closed. Failure to do so may leave the insurance company uncertain about the final outcome and whether a claim will be filed. Potentially motorists can submit a claim long after the incident, even if they have switched insurance companies so it is best to make it clear to the company or agent.

Automobile insurers are unable to raise premiums once they are aware that they will not be responsible for covering damages. The primary purpose of deductibles is to discourage minor claims. Therefore, if a policyholder chooses to pay for damages themselves and refrains from involving the insurance company, it is a good thing.

Often people find their automobiles keyed and they get it buffed off without involving insurance. Similarly, they may not feel the need to involve insurance in many small incidents where no third parties were involved or nobody injured. If the damages are below their deductibles, there is nothing insurance can do anyway.

Once an accident is reported on your policy, it is up to the automobile insurance company to take it into account when they calculate the renewal premiums. If it appears to be a small incident, a company may decide to wait to see how it plays out before taking it into account. But they may be concerned if the policyholder has already made several claims in the past and has a bad driving record.