Say you have a run of bad luck and have multiple small accidents in short succession and you are considering filing a claim with your insurance company. It’s a good idea to take the time to learn about car insurance claims before you need to file so you are prepared for what’s ahead.
It really does not matter if you have two car insurance claims within the same week or a year apart. All claims made within a three-year period are considered “multiple claims” on your claim history. Typically, you will have to pay two deductibles if your policy is set up with a deductible on comprehensive coverage.
Normally, when your vehicle is damaged at two separate times by two separate causes, your full deductible will apply to each occurrence. However, it is possible for exceptions to be made in the case of storm damage. If your car is damaged by hail and a tree branch falls on your vehicle during the same storm, your insurance company might be willing to charge a single deductible because the same storm caused the damage.
In addition to how frequently you have filed claims, the types of claims you are filing also matter. Consider who is at fault and the amount of damage before filing a claim. It can make a huge difference in your decision to file.
Two at-fault claims caused by the same person within three years can be grounds for non-renewal by many of the top-tier insurance carriers. In most states, claims you file against another driver are not seen by your own insurance carrier because the claim is filed against the at-fault party’s policy. The rules change in the state of Virginia because of its no-fault law. In a no-fault car insurance state, a driver receives compensation for injuries from his or her own insurance policy up to the personal injury protection (PIP) limit, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
How Many Car Insurance Claims are Too Many?
Car insurance companies do not like it when you file a claim, even if it is clear that you were not at-fault for your accident. Although there is no limit to how many car insurance claims you can file per year, you will find that most car insurance companies will notify you that your policy could be dropped soon if you file two claims within two years. Once you file a third claim, there is a chance that the insurer will drop you.
As unexpected as it might be, car insurance companies can drop you as they see fit. Typically, an insurer will send a dropped policyholder notification that their policy will be terminated early at the end of the next month. Any fees paid to the insurance company ahead of time will be refunded to the policyholder.
Does that mean that three car accident claims in three years are “too many?” Not necessarily. When another driver hits your vehicle, you need to file a claim to pursue fair compensation. You should not hesitate to file a claim just because you have filed other claims recently.
What Else Should You Know About Multiple Claims?
Generally, multiple comprehensive claims do not affect your insurance rate unless you file three or more in three years. It really depends on how your insurance carrier deals with comprehensive claims. Read your policy for specifics.
At-fault claims are bad news. To lessen the chance you cause an accident that requires filing a claim, practice attentive driving, stay off the roads in bad weather, and keep your car good mechanical condition.
Obviously, paying for damage to your vehicle out of pocket is not ideal. However, sometimes it is the cheapest option. The best advice is to evaluate the costs of paying for damage yourself vs. filing a claim, and remember that multiple claims in a short period of time could cause a rate increase.