There is no stupid car accident out there. They happen all the time. Yet, thousands of people decline to file an insurance claim because they feel embarrassed. People also know that filing a claim that is of “lower”
amount will only increase their rates. They decide that it is better to pay out of pocket and call it good.
Is this a good approach? The reasoning is definitely sound. However, there are certain things you should be aware before making this decision.
You have an affirmative duty to report a loss to your insurance company. It does not matter that it is a “stupid car accident” or one with minimal damages. Your insurance policy spells out your duty to call in and report what happened. You only have “a reasonable” time to call in. What is a reasonable time? That is up to debate, but more than twelve months will probably leave you with no coverage.
The repercussions of not filing a claim are severe. The insurance company can decline payment for your damages or damages to any third party making claims against you. If you backed up into your garage door, then you are safe. However, if you hit a pole, the pole owner can come back and suit you two years later (depending the statute of limitations in your state). If you were more concern with you own vehicle and declined to at least call the insurance company, then you will have to provide for you own defense.
Does this happen? Yes it does! People will try to sue you if they think they can get 5 bucks. Not reporting a stupid car accident can end up costing you a bundle in attorney fees.
In reality the “pole” damage is not a very big concern. However, if you touch another vehicle, then you could have a claim for bodily injuries. It could be from the person in the other vehicle or even your own
passenger. It does not matter that the lawsuit is ludicrous. You will have to defend yourself. Hiring an attorney is not cheap, and if you failed to call in the claim, then the insurance company will not provide a defense for you.
Do you think there are frivolous lawsuits out there? Yep, everyday, and it just seems like there are attorneys willing to sue just about everyone. Do not become their victim for a “stupid car accident”, report the claim.
Most of the time calling your agent is not enough. Make sure you call the actual insurance company claims department. Some agents never get around filing a claim. They believe that the claim not a big deal and never file. If this occurs, the insurance company could still decline to defend you and you would have to go after the agents’ Error and Omissions insurance policy (a big pain you know where).
Be aware of some agents out there. Most of them are very good and very honest, but there are some that will lie to sell you a policy or to discourage your form filing a claim. Insurance agents get their cut by
selling insurance policies. They also get extra incentives by selling policies that result in no claims. The agent has vested interest in discouraging you from filling that stupid car accident.
You can always call the insurance company and report the claim to protect your coverage. Then you can tell them that you will deal the claim yourself. If you truly have a stupid car accident, then your claim
adjuster will note the claim and then close your file. Now you will be fully protected even if a frivolous lawsuit ever arises against you.
Visit http://www.auto-insurance-claim-advice.com/Duty-to-Report-Losses.html for
more information about your duty to report insurance claims.