Report a self-caused accident?
July 20, 2005 6:02 PM   Subscribe

I backed into a parking garage column a couple of months ago (it was in my blind spot) and tore up my rear bumper pretty bad. Would it be worth it to report this to my insurance, or would they probably increase my premiums as a result? (FWIW, the accident happened several months ago.)
posted by designbot to Work & Money (11 answers total)
 
They would almost definitely increase your premiums as a result.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:18 PM on July 20, 2005


You'll end up paying for it one way or the other. My guess is you'd pay more if you reported it, unless your car's bumper is made of solid unobtainium-plated gold.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:51 PM on July 20, 2005


absolutely do not report it. would it even exceed your deductible? even if it did, they will kill you in the long run.
posted by AaRdVarK at 8:07 PM on July 20, 2005


There may well be some rule that damage over a certain value claimed has to be reported by your insurance company to the DMV, which would in turn go on your Carfax report and thus decrease your resale value - does anyone have any idea about this?
posted by forallmankind at 8:12 PM on July 20, 2005


Do not report it. Either deal with a mangled bumper or get it fixed with your own cash. If the car's old enough, get one from a junkyard ^________^.
posted by angry modem at 8:26 PM on July 20, 2005


I'll sixth the "do not report it." I did the exact same thing a year ago to my car, except it was a loading dock I backed into.

I called my insurance company and asked if they would cover the damage and they said I'd have to pay the deductible ($1500) and then they'd add points to my record, increasing my premium by approximately $300/year for 5-6 years. (Because I was driving and the car was in motion.)

I went to a body shop and paid for the damage myself (a new rear hatchback door) and it cost me $1200. Still, a lot of money, but waaay less than if I had gone through the insurance company.

So frustrating!
posted by evoo at 8:51 PM on July 20, 2005


Are you older than 26? Is Fullerton considered "metropolitan" or a suburb, or rural? Is it an expensive car to insure, or just a normal car? Do you have any other tickets or accidents within the past 3-5 years?

Insurance companies tend to jack up your rates for speeding, not accidents. One accident in 3 years will not significantly raise your premiums, if at all. One speeding ticket over 20 mph, OTOH, will hurt your premiums. Two and kiss your current policy good-bye (if your under 26). They'll stick you in high risk and you'll sit there for three years.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:35 PM on July 20, 2005


Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I'm 26, Fullerton is probably metropolitan, it's a Ford Focus, and I have no tickets or accidents.
posted by designbot at 9:28 AM on July 21, 2005


Actually, now that I think about it, I'll be 27 in a week.
posted by designbot at 9:29 AM on July 21, 2005


Insurance companies tend to jack up your rates for speeding, not accidents. One accident in 3 years will not significantly raise your premiums, if at all. One speeding ticket over 20 mph, OTOH, will hurt your premiums. Two and kiss your current policy good-bye (if your under 26). They'll stick you in high risk and you'll sit there for three years.

I suppose this depends on where you live, but it is absolutely the opposite in Ontario, Canada.

Here's the insurance demerit points schedule for there. More than 4 points and you can be legally refused insurance (the government will provide insurance to you from a pool containing mostly drunk drivers and manslaughterers). Oddly enough, if you have 4 points, it is advantageous for you to cause another accident to enter the state-run facility association insurance (it's usually far cheaper than the maximum rates regular insurance companies are allowed to charge you). Sigh.

I'm going to copy that schedule here since that site blows up constantly:

At-fault accident (last 5 years) -- 2 points where four or more years of driving experience, 4 points with less experience
Criminal code or similar conviction (last 3 years) -- 4 points
Major conviction (last 3 years) examples: failing to report an accident, speeding in a school zone -- 2 points where four or more years of driving experience, 4 points with less experience
Minor conviction (last 3 years) examples: seat belt infraction, speeding, illegal turn, fail to yield -- 1 point where four or more years of driving experience, 2 points with less experience
No evidence of coverage under an automobile insurance policy for at least 12 months out of the last 24 -- 4 points (no typo!)
Automobile insurance fraud (no time limit) -- 4 points
Material Misrepresentation (including failure to disclose on application form) (last 3 years) -- 4 points
Cancellation of a policy for non-payment of premium (last 3 years) -- 1 point

You would come under "At-fault accident" for this and gain 2 points if reported. If not reported and they somehow managed to find out and actually cared they'd give you 4 points. Since you didn't hit someone else, I doubt they will care if they found out.

And yes, if you decide to run your car into someone, the conviction (even if you are still in jail) will come off your insurance record before the accident. Funny that, isn't it? :-)
posted by shepd at 10:35 AM on July 21, 2005


YMMV according to different auto insurance providers. Of course. I have Erie Auto out here in the Northeast and my premiums, even though I'm driving a Benz, are still very, very low (I'm 25). Two years ago, I had 2 speeding tickets and my premiums were double what they are now, and I was driving a Hyundai Accent. Nationwide, Erie, and State Farms let you have an accident in 3-5 years. They do not, however, let you have speeding tickets. Therefore, you need a clean bill of health BEFORE applying for insurance, or they'll fuck you good.

Geico and Allstate have always been extremely picky about who they insure and for how much. For instance, even though I haven't had any problems in four years, Geico was still asking for double because my credit rating was lower than average. Allstate is much less forgiving with any infractions as well.

I don't know who the locals are out there, but with your age and type of car, I would not expect a significant increase, if any, by reporting this. Again, YMMV, but I speak from experience of having a crapload of speeding tickets and a couple of accidents.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 11:05 AM on July 21, 2005


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