I'm Telling: Whether Or Not To File A Claim For That Collision Damage

Have you been in a car accident and are now looking for a collision repair shop to repair the damage? Have you already filed a claim with your insurance company? If you answered yes to the first question but no to the second, you're not alone. Many people try to avoid filing insurance claims for various reasons, and there are times when it's OK to handle the repair out of pocket without involving the insurance company. But in some cases, you really should file claims -- and not just when there's visible damage or injury to another party. Here's a look at a time when you should report and two times when you can let it slide.

Something's Fishy

If the accident happened under suspicious circumstances -- maybe you felt boxed in by two cars, one of which you eventually collided with -- report the accident, even if it was minor, and open a claim. Accident scams abound, and you want on record with your insurance company that you had a strange feeling about the surrounding circumstances. If you were bullied at the collision scene into not calling police, or if the other party left under strange circumstances, call the police as well. Start leaving a trail of reports showing that there were oddities surrounding the accident.

Even if the accident seemed completely legitimate, if you have neighbors who might try to blame your car (now scratched up) for scratches on their car, the claim gives you proof that the scratches on your car happened under different circumstances. Another accident scam involves someone who damaged their own car claiming you damaged it instead. With the claim on record, you have a better chance of stopping the scam. If your insurance company knows your damage occurred on one day during a particular accident, someone claiming the damage happened later on another day isn't really going to have a case.

Under the Limit

If the accident was not your fault, and the damage to your car, according to the collision company, may be under your deductible amount, filing a claim isn't going to help you financially. However, keep records of the collision company's assessment and the date you first contacted that company. Even if you don't do anything with your insurance, the contact dates with the collision company can help stop the aforementioned scam where someone later claims you damaged his or her car.

Your Car, Your Property

If your accident involved only your car and only your property -- maybe you backed slowly into a fence -- you don't have to file a claim. It would still be a good idea to take the car into a collision repair shop to get the damage looked at even if it is minor, because again, it gives you protection against those scams.

Taking your car into a collision shop like Lombard Body & Fender Inc won't automatically trigger an insurance claim. But getting the car looked at is the first step toward both protecting you and seeing whether a claim would be financially viable.