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Should I Report a Small Fender Bender to my Insurance?

fender benderAnytime you are hurt,  you should report an accident to your insurance and make a police report.

But what if no-one is hurt, the accident is your fault, and the property damage is relatively minor?

Should you report it to your insurance company and let them take care of it or should you pay the other driver yourself to avoid an insurance rate raise? Not an easy question, but here are some guidelines.

If you’re in an accident that is your fault, your insurance premium will go up the next time they change rates. It’s difficult to say by how much but the average care insurance premium in California is $1700 a year and typically rates may go up by an average of 40%. Of course if you have other traffic violations or accidents on record, it could go up much more.  Further, if you had a safe driver discount on your policy you will likely lose that as well.  If the rates go up, they will stay up for 3 years.  Therefore, reporting an accident may raise the average insurance rate you pay by around $2000 over 3 years.

Now there are some policies that forgive minor accidents and that is spelled out in your policy. If there is a forgiveness clause, you likely want your insurance to cover the accident.

As a rule of thumb, if an accident were my fault, and the property damage was under $1000, I’d likely pay it myself to avoid an insurance hike….

Unless I had a policy that forgives minor accidents.

I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury lawyer from Sacramento since 1982. Call my office anytime for free, friendly advice at 916-921-6400 or 800-404-5400.

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