I have full coverage on my car and am paying $400 a year for it. It’s nice and low and I’d like to keep it that way. My wife backed into another car. The guy is allowing us to either pay out of pocket or go through insurance. The cost is $700. I’m worried my policy cost will sky rocket if we go through insurance, what should I do? Can I get in touch with my agent and find out how much my policy will go up or once I contact them and ask them are they going to know I was in an accident and increase the cost regardless if I go through them or not?

  1. 37376 POINTS
    David G. Pipes, CLU®, RICP®
    Business Development Officer, T.D. McNeil Insurance Services, Fresno, California
    If you have the time, contact your agent to get an estimate on the effect of having such a claim against your record. Some companies reward claims free driving and loss of that reward can be substantial. Having said that, however, if you fail to notify your company, you could unnecessarily expose yourself to a personal injury liability claim if you deal directly with the other party. If you have paid damages and then the other party claims a personal injury as the result of the collision you are not in a good position. If you have the claims department of your insurance company handle the matter they can protect you better than you can protect yourself.
    Answered on April 24, 2015
  2. 68 POINTS
    Jeannie Peter
    Insurance Agent, Allstate, Minnesota and Wisconsin
    I would suggest you call your Agent during business hours first, and find out if you have a claim-free bonus. Some policies offer it, some you have to earn after being with them for so long. If not, you would be better off paying out of pocket as your rates for claiming such a small amount could exceed the $700 worth of damage.
    Answered on May 5, 2015
  3. 21750 POINTS
    Jim Winkler
    CEO/Owner, Winkler Financial Group, Houston, Texas
    That is a very good question! You are kind of between a rock and a hard place. If you contact them, and have a 'safe driver' bonus, you could lose that, and with the subsequent rate increase,(if there is no first accident forgiveness plan) you might well exceed the expense of the repairs. On the other hand, if you do not know the person that she hit won't be the type that later claims back injuries or some such thing, and takes you to court (I'd wonder about this if he or she documented and/or took pictures, and your wife didn't), without the power of your insurance company behind you, you could be in a bigger mess.
    Another consideration is your deductible - if it's more than $700, you would end up paying that much anyway, and run the risk of a rate increase. If coming up with $700 is an issue, and you have a low deductible, then having the insurance company pay may be an option.
    Perhaps a good thing to do might be to contact your agent, and tell them you and your wife were talking about what would happen if one of you were to have an accident, and were not sure what would happen if so, and have them explain it to you. If it sounds good, then do it, if it sounds bad, then consider your risks of handling it out of pocket. Personally, I'd probably call them, and explain it exactly as it happened, and trust my agent to what is best for me. I hope it works out for you, good luck, and thank you for asking!
    Answered on May 6, 2015
  4. 617 POINTS
    Waltere Koti
    Principal Agent, First Insurance Agency Inc, United States
    Contacting your agent may not necessarily result in increased premium but reporting a claim might. Your agent is very unlikely to know how much your rates may increase if you were to file a claim.
    Keep this simple rule in mind: The less claims you file through insurance company the better. You are better off paying a small claim out of pocket. Let the insurance company handle your large claims. Even not at faults and comp claims will have some impact on your rates with most companies.
    Answered on May 9, 2015
  5. 161 POINTS
    Ty Peck
    Agency Producer, Farmers Insurance, Ferndale, WA
    Talking to your agent will not affect your premiums. Traffic violations and at-fault accidents will affect your premium however. Some companies also offer claims-free discounts. Your agent will be able to give you advice, and your policy might only raise slightly. You should get an estimate just in case to see if it would be cheaper to file a claim or pay the $700. Hope this helps!
    Answered on December 7, 2015
  6. 1185 POINTS
    Scott W Johnson
    Manager, Marindependent Insurance Services LLC, California
    Speaking with your insurance agent without filing a claim should not change your insurance rates.

    Ask him or her what they suggest. I would though, be careful about not notifying your insurance company. Insurance is here to protect you. And since your wife backed up into another care there could be bodily injury to the other auto owner.
    Answered on October 10, 2016
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