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To claim or not to claim?
June 8, 2007 7:44 AM   Subscribe

I am facing an expensive car repair ($1500+) due to flooding damage in a recent rainstorm. The driver side floor and driver side door panel were filled with about 3" of water, ruining some of the electronics. Should I file a claim or pay out of pocket?

I have a clean driving record and good insurance rating with USAA. My comprehensive deductible is $500. The car is a 1999 Volkswagen Passat.

I'm trying to balance the risk of my premium going up vs. the out of pocket expense. Is there a rule of thumb that would tell me whether or not filing a claim is worth while? Do I risk anything by calling my insurer and asking the question? The phone reps ask for your member number up front so I'm not sure if they will talk to me anonymously.
posted by dudeman to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Check first to see if your policy covers flood damage at all.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:11 AM on June 8, 2007


Lets do some math by pulling numbers out of one of my orifices.

I have a brand new car, and I'm paying about $470 every 6 months for comprehensive insurance. Say they bump that to $570 after filing a claim (random number, but a large bump). Assuming the cost of the repair you'd bill to insurance would be $1000. That is 5 years to the break even point. That's about the length of time they ask about when you apply to new insurance (ie. have you made a claim in the last 5 years?), so I'd say go for it. Especially if the repair is a lot more expensive.
posted by cschneid at 8:19 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Comp coverage will cover flood damage, unlike a homeowners policy. If you can afford to pay for these repairs I would say do so. If not I don't see why your rates would skyrocket. You may see a modest increase in your premium. Your car is getting older. If you do file the claim, afterwards adjust your comp/collison deductibles to $1000.00 and you may actually see some savings.
posted by digiFramph at 8:23 AM on June 8, 2007


My experience (in BC, with socialist insurance) was that comprehensive claims (steering column damage from car theft) did not raise my premium. Also, there was an incident one time where I had dinged another car and that driver filed a claim against my insurance. When I saw my new premium and freaked out, my insurance agent gave me the option of paying a lump sum for the repair and dropping the collision from the record. I did so. My premiums went back to normal. So, I'd say file it and see what happens.
posted by crazycanuck at 9:04 AM on June 8, 2007


Comprehensive claims often don't affect your rates. Mine didn't changed a couple of years ago after a deer rudely impaled itself on my hood, doing $2000 in damage in the process. My deductible was only $100.
posted by COD at 9:40 AM on June 8, 2007


My own experience with USAA has been great. Events that weren't my fault (parked vehicle hit by an underage driver in an uninsured vehicle) didn't affect my rates. A year after a totalling that was found to be my fault they lowered my rates approximately $200 a year without me even having to ask. Though it may help that my new car loan is also through them. I would go ahead and file a claim in this case if it were me, whereas if the costs were within, say $200 of my deductible I'd probably skip it.
posted by fuit ilium at 9:50 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


let them pay for it

that's why you pay for insurance

if you're going to pay for an expensive repair, then don't get comprehensive!
posted by Salvatorparadise at 9:54 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Great feedback everyone, thank you! I think I'm going to have insurance pay the bill, then boost my comprehensive deductible to $1000.
posted by dudeman at 10:16 AM on June 8, 2007


Followup: I spoke with the auto shop and with USAA. The repairs are going to run $2500+ , my comprehensive insurance will cover the repairs (less deductible), and there will be no change to my premium rate because no fault is assigned as the result of this kind of damage.
posted by dudeman at 2:00 PM on June 8, 2007


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