To Claim, or Not to Claim

After the dust settles, the storm clouds roll away, and we shore up the garage after our teenager forgets to put the vehicle in park, the next question is always; “How am I going to pay for this?”

There’s a couple questions you need to answer for yourself before calling your insurance company:

How severe is the damage? And, what is your deductible?

These can be tricky questions. The last thing you want to do is file a claim for repairs that fall below your deductible. Deductibles range from $250 and up. A typical deductible is around $1,000. Some insurance companies establish deductibles based on a percentage of the Dwelling Coverage. If the estimate to repair the damage falls below your specific deductible, you will still be responsible to pay for the repairs up to the amount of your deductible. So if your deductible is $1,000, and the repair estimate is $1,250, pending the loss is covered, your insurance company would issue a check (including applicable depreciation) for only $250. Is a claim worth $250? In this event, its essential to keep in mind that your claim history will go into consideration when it comes time to renew. (Let’s remember it’s the underwriters job to insure those who claim very little.) Ideally, you want to claim a little as possible. Save a loss for when you really need it. If your son hits the garage door with the front of the car, you may want to consider holding off on filing a claim for those repairs, if the settlement is only $250, for example.

You also don’t want to assume things are okay, only to find out years later that you had a problem from a covered loss, and never addressed it. The easiest way to proceed with a loss, and ensure you’re making the right choice, is to have someone who knows what they’re looking at check things out for you, and determine if it’s worth a claim. Call a professional to check things out, perform an inspection, and write you an estimate. Only at this point will you have exactly what you need to make the decision to claim, or not to claim.

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