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Car Accident Insurance Claims - To File or Not To File

Posted: 09/02/2009 - 2:17 PM ET

Car Accident Insurance Claims - To File or Not To File

Car Accident Costs
The cost of repairing even apparent minor damage from a low speed collision can cost thousands, especially if the damage is to a new compact car. There is a serious design issue involving bumper standards which allows the bumper of a taller vehicle to ride over the bumper of a smaller one and damage expensive parts, such as headlights and radiators. This is one reason why you may be saddled with more expensive car insurance rates for driving that MINI Cooper than a midsize sedan.

Dodge Caravan Minivan Photo

Buy a Car Which is Cheaper to Insure
With just about everything today being more expensive, buying a new car requires much more consideration than whether or not you can make the down payment and the monthly loan payments. The cost of insurance and repair expenses significantly factor into the cost of ownership.

There are many reasons why some vehicles are more expensive to insure than others but, the most significant one is the vehicle's vulnerability in a crash. A car's occupants are its most fragile and valuable cargo so, if you want to save money on car insurance, buy something that protects you and your passengers without demolishing any vehicle you may collide with. Midsize sedans and minivans are some of the least expensive vehicles to insure; not just because they have zero sex appeal, but because they are safer and run into less expensive car accident costs.

Staged Accident Fraud Photo

The Odds of Getting into an Accident
The more hours you spend commuting to work, or running the kids to soccer, ballet, and to GapKids, the more likely your number will come up for an accident. With 80 percent of people believing they are better than average drivers, many of them out there are clueless, distracted or impaired. Given the state of the gene pool waiting for the light in front of and beside you, POW, the guy behind you didn't see you stopped there.

Surviving an Accident While Keeping your Wits
Nobody was hurt, so your job is to get calm and process the situation. Regardless of whether the damage appears serious or not, summon a police officer to take an accident report. Begin recording all of your observations including the identities of the driver and occupants of the other vehicle and any witnesses. With the rise in staged car accident insurance claim fraud, you need to have a detailed account of all of your observations to protect yourself. In significant accidents, filing a claim as soon as possible will take a lot of pressure off you: your insurer will become your advocate to handle all of the details.

IIHS Bumper Mismatch Photo

Filing a Car Accident Insurance Claim

The original concept of car insurance coverage was to protect us from devastating expense in the event we are exposed to serious liability from an accident. In exchange for a premium, the insurer would compensate victims for devastating monetary losses from which they could not recover. Those who were liable for losses which were not considered ruinous would pay what they owed. The insurance system has become tainted by an overly aggressive legal system and a society in which personal responsibility is at a premium.

Smart Car Crash Test Photo

Keeping your Insurance Rates Low
A good way to know whether or not to file a car accident insurance claim is to assess the value of the damage and decide if you can pay for the damages without it causing irreparable damage to your finances. If you can, don't file the claim.

What Your Insurer Doesn't Know
Well-known fact: Filing a car accident insurance claim will most likely cause your rates to go up. Less-well-known fact: The mere act of contacting your insurer about possibly filing a claim will be recorded on your record and influence your rates. If you have decided not to file a claim due to the insignificance of the damages, it is in your best interest not to contact your insurer. Most minor accidents are negotiated in good faith and resolved between the parties in a civil and mature manner, the way it should be done.

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