Jan 19, 2019

To Claim or Not to Claim, that is the Insurance Policy Question

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One of the questions people often have after a local car accident is when to make a claim. To make a claim or not, that is the question. So this is an excellent question that deserves a detailed answer. For starters, car crash insurance claims against your insurer in particular. They should only become made when you think you can prove the case and have the correct insurance coverage.

Sometimes you will know if you're covered; other times, you won't. An attorney can usually quickly decipher your UM/UIM, comp, collision, and other coverages. Of course, sometimes, you won't know if the guy who hit you had insurance. So you must get your hands on the traffic collision investigation report. And this gets issued by the CHP or local law enforcement that came to the scene.

Other times, it takes tracking down the owner of the vehicle that hit and ran to see if he or she had a policy in effect when you got slammed and left for dead. These terms and conditions found in your declarations of coverages and exclusions. They will determine what does and does not kick many coverages into existence.

There has to have been an actual accident. Because making a false claim with your own or a third party's insurance carrier is punishable as a criminal offense by law. If you're found guilty of the offense (See, e.g., Penal Code Section 548-551 et seq.)

Danger - Be Careful What You Say to any Insurance Company.

Most people don’t ever need to become concerned with this situation. They usually know they should only make honest statements to the insurer. After a collision, the crash should get reported to the police. Then as soon as possible, contact the insurer to report your crash.

This will begin the insurance liability claims acceptance or denial process. The insurer’s adjuster will investigate the crash to determine the at-fault party. Then decide what the settlement should be worth.

What is The High Deductible Consideration?

The other thing that needs consideration when making a claim with your carrier for property damage, for example, is your deductible. Sometimes the damage to the vehicle costs less than your deductible. In this situation, the vehicle owner decides whether or not to report the crash to their insurer, or fix the damages themselves.

This is why many people who crashed in wrecks try and get the at-fault person's insurer to pay and wait for the check. The other factor in deciding to use your own comprehensive or collision coverages, or having the additional party pay, is whether the person hit wants to go through the process.

Also, you may never know what to do after getting all these estimates.

The Infamous "Non-Claim Discount" Consideration

Another reason why individuals often do not file a claim with the insurer for small damages is due to a Non-Claim Discount (NCD). This discount is when the insurer rewards the policyholder. This discount will apply when they go for an extended amount of time without reporting any accidents.

That means in the event of a crash with damages less or about the same amount as the policy deductible, it could be better not to report the car crash. That way, you can keep lower policy premiums.

Other Considerations to Make Before Making a Claim Against Your Insco

If the person does report the more costly crash and the insurer will not negotiate a fair settlement. Then a claim may go to court. In this situation, the jury may determine the settlement amount the insurer is responsible for paying the claimant. Doing something like this should be mulled over well.

Get a handle on what the damages are and whether the repair costs will be over the deductible amount. Then use this as a deciding factor when claiming against your insurer.

Further Reading:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/tips-settling-car-accident-claim.html Tips for Settling a Car Accident Claim | Nolo.com

https://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/index.html Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Motor Vehicle Crash Injuries

https://www.edmunds.com/auto-insurance/how-car-insurance-companies-handle-car-accident-claims.html How Car Insurance Companies Handle Car Accident Claims on Edmunds.com