Do I Have to File an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident?
When you are in a car accident, you are not obligated to file a claim with your insurance company. Most of the time, however, it is in your best interest – even when the damage seems minor.
This determination can be difficult to make on your own, especially when another driver is involved in the crash. A Pittsburgh personal injury attorney could advise on whether to file a claim with your insurance or even with the other driver’s insurance provider.
Notifying Your Insurance
Regardless of whether you ultimately file a claim with your insurance company, you should notify them of any accident as soon as possible. This is not just good advice; it is mandatory with most policies. If you fail to notify them, there could be significant consequences.
Insurance policies require that you notify them of a crash to allow their adjusters to investigate a claim quickly. With many policies, you could lose your coverage and miss out on benefits if you fail to comply.
Remember, notification is not the same as filing. The insurance company will not take any action unless you formally file– but notifying them of a crash will probably cause your policy to increase.
Benefits of Filing a Claim
There are many situations where it could be in your best interest to file a claim. This is important when another driver is involved, and especially if anyone was hurt.
If you are at fault for the accident, your policy could protect you from liability from the other driver. Not only could this get you off the hook for covering the other driver’s hospital bills– it could also provide you with an attorney for your defense. The savings on hiring an attorney alone could be substantial.
When the other driver is at fault, it is still often valuable to file. Your insurer will undertake its own investigation. If they determine that the other driver was at fault, your comprehensive policy could pay for your damages while the insurance company seeks to recoup their expenses from the other driver later.
The major disadvantage with filing an insurance claim is the potential for a premium increase. It is common for insurers to do this, especially if you are responsible.
When a Claim Might Not Be Worth It
Some situations do not call for an insurance claim. The most obvious case is when your policy will not offer coverage.
The other important consideration for not filing a claim– involves your deductible. Even if you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, a minor accident could cost less than your deductible. When the cost of a repair is less or even roughly the same as your deductible, it may be in your best interest not to file.
A claim could cause your deductible to increase. Weighing the cost of repairing your car yourself versus a potential increase to your deductible– is ultimately your decision to make.
An attorney can guide you through the claims process
It is not always easy to determine when filing a claim is worth it. However, accidents involving injuries usually make this worthwhile. Injuries that initially seemed minor could become more severe over time– and a timely claim could protect your rights.
If you are considering an injury claim after a crash, a Pittsburgh car accident attorney could assist during the claims process. To discuss your options, schedule a free consultation with us right away. We will dig deep into the details, and make sure your story is told, and your injuries are not minimized.