Will a Claim Raise My Car Insurance Premiums?

Will a Claim Raise My Car Insurance Premiums?
You’ve been in an accident. What are your initial thoughts?

If you’re like many vehicle owners, your mind quickly turns to the financial ramifications of the incident: “How much will repairs cost?” “If I make an insurance claim, will this accident increase my premiums?”

Too often, car owners don’t file a claim for fear of potential rate increases.

The truth is, filing a claim may or may not increase your premium, as there are several factors that can affect this situation.

The Accident: How severe was the accident? Was it a fender bender or a major crash? If the damage is over $1,000, it’s more likely to lead to a premium increase.

The Fault: Who was at fault in the accident? If you were at fault, it’s more likely your rates will go up. Often if the fault lies with the other driver, your rates will not be affected.

In some areas, both insurance companies will pay for some of the costs as a result of “no fault” regulations in those areas. Your insurance carrier will determine if the incident results in an increase.

The Record: Is this your first accident? If you have a safe driving record and have been with your insurance company for a long time, you are less likely to experience a premium increase.

The Theft: Was your car stolen? If you need to file a claim as a result of the theft of your car, rather than an accident, your rates may increase, especially if you live in a high-crime area.

If you suffer any vehicle damage, it’s always a good idea to discuss your repair and replacement needs with your insurance agent.

He or she can help you determine the next best steps and walk you through the process of filing a claim.

Hold the Small Talk at Parties: Connect with Authenticity

It’s easy to get trapped in boring small talk at parties or events. But don’t let your conversation stop there; you may be missing an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with others.

Small talk produces small rewards. It’s easy, but generally of little value. It may fill silences, but it’s unlikely to establish a human connection. On the other hand, meaningful conversation has an emotional component. And that may have a positive impact on your health.

According to research conducted by the University of Arizona and noted in an article by the Wall Street Journal: “People who have more substantive conversations with others report a greater sense of well-being than those who engage in small talk.” The study found that “the happy life is social rather than solitary and conversationally deep rather than superficial.”

It’s never easy, suggests Sue Shellenbarger in the article; it must be learned: “The ability to draw others into meaningful conversations can determine whether people want to get to know you, or remember you at all.”

To be meaningful to your conversational partner, you need to show warmth and sincere interest. Above all, you should be authentic.

For example, instead of talking about the weather or asking tedious questions about the wine, you might begin with a probing question such as, “What are you working on that excites you?” or, “What do you love most about your work?” Yes, it may fall flat, Shellenbarger warns, but it’s worth the risk. Long-term friendships can start here!

The First Steps to Take After a Disaster Has Occurred
When disaster strikes, it’s hard to know what to do first. When it comes to insurance claims, the process can feel like an overwhelming task on top of everything else you need to do. However, homeowners can take the following steps to make this process smooth and simple.

1. Get started immediately

With a lot on your plate, it might be tempting to put this task off for a later date. Don’t do it. Contact your insurance agent right away to start the claims process. Provide a description of the damage to your property, and a company representative will walk you through any necessary documentation. If you have a home inventory, provide this to the representative.

Once you start the claims process, your carrier will arrange an inspection of damages. Be sure to provide your contact information – such as where you can be reached – since disasters often change your coordinates.

2. Get the details

As the representative helps you through the process, it’s important to get a clear understanding of what is expected. Find out:

  • Whether the disaster damage is covered under your policy
  • How long the claims process will take
  • What they need from you (estimates for repairs, receipts for belongings)

3. Get more details

If your policy offers coverage for the disaster damage, review your declarations page with your agent or company representative to get a clear understanding of what is actually covered, including structural damage, loss of personal belongings, and liability payments. Then you can move forward with decisions on repairs and reimbursements.