Elaine from Minnesota asked us last week whether “your insurance premium go up if you file a claim for something you’re not at fault for?” – The question is tricky, as it depends pretty much on the type of the claim and the circumstances. Anyways, here we go:
Filing claims for accidents you aren’t at fault for is a completely normal thing to do, but it is not ideal. You should first try to go through the at-fault party’s insurance company.
The at-fault driver is responsible for reporting the accident to his insurance company, but many times (for different reasons), they do not. Therefore, its a good idea for you to contact them also. To ensure that you are able to do this, at the scene of every accident, you should swap insurance information and contact information with the other party. Also, be sure to contact the police even in the event of a small accident. They will be able to determine who is at fault.
You should contact your insurance company in the event of an accident no matter what – just to report it. This does not mean you will be making a claim, it is just to let your insurance company know with is going on to keep them informed. This establishes good faith. (In event the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to pay on the claim, your insurance party will cover damages.)
If you have exhausted all options with the other party’s insurance company, you can then file a claim with your own insurance company for the damages.
This is why it is a good idea to be equipped with “collision coverage.” If you are in an accident you are deemed to be “at fault” in, your “liability coverage” will pay damages you cause to other drivers. If you are in an accident you aren’t at fault in, but still can’t get the other party’s liability coverage to pay out on your claim, your collision coverage will cover the damages.
If you are afraid that these claims being made against your policy will result in a rise in your insurance costs, don’t be! In fact, it’s illegal for insurance companies to raise your rates from filing claims that aren’t your fault. Naturally, try and go through the at-fault insurer first, but if that fails, don’t worry – file a claim with your provider. That’s what insurance is for!