Car accident. If the repair costs more does your insurance go up more?
July 19, 2011 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Car accident. If the repair costs more does your insurance go up more?

Got in an accident. My collision insurance has a $1K deductible. I understand this to mean that I pay $1K of the repairs and anything beyond that is covered by the insurance company, Geico in this case.

I would think this means that I should have them fix as much as possible, whatever the cost, because I will be paying $1K whether the repair costs $5K or $10K.

But, does it work like the more it costs to repair the more my insurance premium will go up? If that's the case, it might make more sense to get it repaired as cheaply as possible and maybe not repair things that are only cosmetic or things like that.

Never been in an accident before, so not sure what to expect. Any thoughts are appreciated.
posted by doomtop to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Was the accident your fault? Was it the result of a traffic violation which your were arrested/ticketed for? Those two items will weigh far more on whether your rates will go up, than the cost of the repair.

That's not to say the cost won't make a difference, though.

Have you contacted your agent? If so, are they sending out an estimator? Or are they trusting you to get the repair estimates?

I would highly advise you to only repair damage from the accident, and not try to bundle-in other repairs. For one, when the insurance company get the invoice, they will be able to tell what was legitimate accident repair and what was an add-on.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:47 PM on July 19, 2011

It really depends on a whole slew of factors. Typically the rate goes up per incident on the record. When you get quoted on new insurance, they look at whether the accident was your fault or not and how many incidents over X amount, where X is usually $1000 or $1500. Some insurance companies won't change your rates after once incident, especially if you have a good history.

Typically repair all damage from the accident. Having the cosmetic damage go unfixed can lead to rust issues with the paint and can affect resale value. The difference the cosmetic damage has on your insurance rates probably won't matter.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2011

I don't think the cost of the repair affects the raising of the premium. The possible liability for expensive repairs is already factored into your premium- you pay more to insure a Rolls Royce than a Mazda no matter what.

Also note that the cost of repairs may sometimes exceed the value of the car, and in that case the insurance company will most likely "total" the car and pay you the value to buy a new car with. They are not, as far as I know, ever liable to pay more than the value of the car the moment it got in the accident.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:10 PM on July 19, 2011

Car insurance rates generally increase because you're perceived as being at greater risk than previously, not because the cost of repairs is above some amount.
posted by dfriedman at 1:16 PM on July 19, 2011

Response by poster: The accident was my fault. I was not ticketed/arrested. We called the police and they made an Accident Report.

I think they want to send an estimator as they mentioned something about that, but I was not able to do it at the time and need to call them back to arrange it.

This is my first accident that involved any other vehicle or that the police were involved. I have never made an insurance claim before.
posted by doomtop at 1:27 PM on July 19, 2011

I wouldn't stress over the possible increase in premiums too much. Auto insurance is based more on a pattern of behavior over time. I've been in two at-fault accidents (both a while back) and did not see a major increase in premium.

An estimator will look at the car before any work begins and the claim will be for what was damaged and what it will cost to repair. There is no incentive for you to cut corners and not get stuff repaired.

There is a school of thought that if your deductible were close to the cost of repairs, don't file, pay it all yourself, and avoid the claim. However, if you were charged with an at-fault accident and a report was filed, the insurance company probably knows anyway.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:43 PM on July 19, 2011

It might depend on state regulations, but usually what happens is that they don't/can't raise your rates *just* for using the insurance. What they can and do do is remove any good driver discounts that they might have given you.

And no, I don't believe it makes any difference what the value of the loss is. The rate you pay assumes the payout would be in full.

I would imagine that adjusters and estimators might attempt to give you the impression your rates will go up more the more you claim, in order to get you to accept a less-than-complete repair. Like "ahh, this taillight is just cracked a little, there's no need to replace the whole thing. You don't want your rates to go up, do you?"
posted by gjc at 1:46 PM on July 19, 2011

It probably depends on the insurance company. But, at the insurance company I worked for many years ago we raised your rate by a flat percentage of your base rate per at fault accident. So it didn't matter how big the claim was.
posted by interplanetjanet at 2:40 PM on July 19, 2011

If your car is comprehensively insured, you probably won't have any choice about how it is repaired, in any case. The insurance company wants the car returned to the condition it was in at the time of the accident. However, they will also be very strict about not repairing anything that was pre-existing.
posted by maxwelton at 11:59 PM on July 19, 2011

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