What you do following a small fender bender depends on your personality in most cases. Some people are keen to make an automobile insurance claim for everything while others like to handle small ones themselves. It is hard to tell someone what to do in those circumstances. However, there may be some points to consider if you were thinking about settling the repairs out of your wallet.
There are certain circumstances where motorists don’t have a choice on the matter and they also need to call their vehicle insurers as quickly as possible. On the other hand, there are incidents that can wait a day or two to evaluate and think about the next plan of action. Here are some examples to look at and think about.
A very good advice to follow is to think twice when there are possible injuries. Even if there does not appear to be an injury, if there is any chance of injury related Liability claims you should contact the insurer as soon as possible. People may say they are alright initially. Once the shock of the crash wears out, they start feeling the injuries. Or they may think that they have a case against you. There are thousands of personal injury lawyers and some of them work on a no win no fee basis. They may be able to persuade the third party to go after you.
Failing to notify insurers in such cases can tie their hands and they may refuse to deal with it several months later. If they were informed in time, they would probably have asked the third party to confirm their physical status. If there were risks of claims they may have sent somebody to check the injuries. All these options would not be available to companies and therefore they lose their chance of a fair defence. As a result, they can refuse to deal with it on your behalf.
Small Incidents Involving Other Cars
If you hit a parked automobile or caught it a little on the side you may be able to talk to the other driver. He may agree to provide you with an estimate and you may come to a settlement. In such cases you may be tempted to get the check book out. You would not be alone because many negligible incidents are settled like that between motorists.
Then, consider your car insurance deductibles and the damage. If you have a five hundred dollar deductible you would rather pay your own damages out of pocket. The second important point is the current state of your driving history. If you have already made a couple of claims you may be very keen to let this slip. It would be very hard to get reasonable renewal terms with multiple claims. Also, claiming for a small sum now will put you in hot waters when you end up in a big one later on.
You Are on Your Own
When you cause a little accident on your own like hitting a wall or scratching the side door when you are coming out of the garage the decision may be a lot easier. You may have a few days before making up your mind and contacting the auto insurance company. First thing you could do is to get estimates for the repairs. This will clarify a lot of things. When you know the costs, deductible and your claim history the decision may not be hard to make. That is if you can afford to pay it out of the pocket.
Also, what sort of a vehicle you own may make it easier for you to decide. Most people would be happy to take an older automobile to a cheaper garage for repairs. But they would probably want a new car to be repaired properly in a dealer approved garage that may require claiming on your insurance policy.
Tips for Minimizing Costs
When deciding whether to use car insurance or to pay car damages out of pocket, there are a few factors to consider. Generally, you should use your car insurance if the cost of repairs will be higher than your deductible. In this case, it may make sense to pay for the damage yourself only if you have a very low deductible or if the repair or replacement costs are relatively low.
When considering paying for a repair yourself, here are some tips for minimizing costs:
-Check with your insurance company first to determine if they will cover the repair and what percentage you would be responsible for.
-Compare prices from different shops before selecting an auto body shop.
-Look for discounts or special offers from local and online businesses.
-Research how much it will cost to obtain parts or materials and compare that amount with the total estimated repair costs.
-If possible, purchase parts directly from the manufacturer that can install them in order to save money on labor costs.
-Some body shops offer discounts when parts are provided by the customer instead of being purchased through them; check before purchasing parts independently as they may already have discounted pricing arrangements with certain suppliers.
It is important to ensure that you are able to cover the cost of repairs before paying yourself. If you do not have enough financial resources to repair the vehicle, it may be best to evaluate other payment options such as a car loan, or rent-to-own agreement. Most importantly, always remember to contact your insurance company and determine whether or not your policy covers car damages or requires you to pay out of pocket. Ultimately, it may be alright to pay car damages out of pocket in some cases; however, insurance should be the first option that is considered when repairs are needed.