When a major disaster or accident strikes, you know that you can call your insurance company; but did you know there are some situations when filing a claim might not be the most logical choice for your particular situation? Even if your policy covers a loss, there may be reasons to think twice before calling your insurer. Continue reading to learn some of the most common claims scenarios and some of the reasons you may or may not benefit from filing for compensation of your losses.
Personal items were stolen from my car. Should I file a claim?
The answer depends on the value of the items stolen and the amount of your deductible. Typically, theft of personal belongings is covered under your home or renters insurance policy – even if the items were stolen from your car. If you have the receipts for $400 in electronics purchases but have a $500 deductible, you will not recover any of your loss. Worse, you will have a claim on your record that could result in higher premiums. If the value of your loss exceeds the amount of your deductible, however, you will need to decide whether the money you will recover for your claim is worth the increase you might experience with your insurance premiums.
I injured someone and damaged their vehicle in a collision. Should I report it?
Anytime you cause injury or loss to another person, whether with your vehicle, in your home, or as a result of your activities, you can be held liable. It is important to report liability claims to your insurance company as soon as possible to ensure you have coverage against a potential lawsuit. Your home and auto insurance liability cover property damage and bodily injury liability, as well as your legal defense fees. If you do not report the incident in a timely fashion, your insurer may not provide the coverage you need if you are later sued for a victim’s losses.
My neighbor filed a claim and got his roof replaced. Should I do it, too?
If you suspect that you have roof damage caused by a covered event, such as a storm, you should probably get your roof professionally inspected before you attempt to file a claim. An inspector can identify damage and determine how much it will cost to repair. You should also speak with your independent agent to find out what is covered under your insurance policy and if any stipulations may apply to your situation. In some cases, waiting too long to file a claim might void your coverage.
Likewise, filing a claim for repairs to an older roof might result in only a partial reimbursement for the repairs. If you file a claim without being informed, it could result in your claim being denied. Unfortunately, even denied claims are reported to consumer reporting agencies, which could affect the price you pay for homeowners insurance for years to come.
I need to file a claim, but I already have a history of prior claims activity. What should I do?
If you experience a major loss, such as a serious collision or a house fire, you should never hesitate to file a claim, regardless of how many prior claims you may have had. However, it is important to note that filing multiple claims in a short period of time could put you at risk of a non-renewal. If the claim you wish to make is small, talk with your agent about how filing it could affect your coverage in the future.
Here at Imes Insurance Associates, we enjoy helping our customers make educated decisions about their claims activity. When you work with an independent agency, you get a personalized level of service not available when you shop online. For more information about claims assistance or to request your free quotes, contact our office today. We look forward to serving you soon.