Should we repair unclaimed damage before an inspection?
May 29, 2008 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Ontario car insurance. My wife and I have insurance through PC financial. Over the last year, our cars have been damaged, but we haven't filed a claim. Now, they've requested an inspection of our cars. Is this just to ensure they don't pay for preexisting damage in the event of future claims, or can we expect them to get mad/raise rates for this?

My wife's car was damaged when I was a blind idiot in a parking lot. I did about $800-1000 damage to my wife's car which we haven't gotten fixed, and about $900 in damage to a nice lady's car. We paid her cash (the quote to repair the damage came much lower than we were anticipating), and had her sign an agreement/receipt for the cash and that she had no further claims against us. 5+ months later and we haven't heard further from her. Neither party reported this to the police. This is a newer, but low sticker price car.

Someone tried unsuccessfully to break into my car. In the process of this, both door handles were popped partially out of the car. I had an estimate of $300 to fix. It's a mid-age low sticker price car. We had reported this to the police. We were told that there was a series of successful auto thefts in our area that night, to consider ourselves lucky that they failed with my car, and that they were unlikely to catch the culprits. This occured 6-12 months ago.

We have just enough money in savings to get these fixed if we need to. But we're alright with the unsightliness and would rather have the money for future emergencies that don't involve cosmetic damage to possessions.

Should we get the cars fixed ASAP and then bring them in for the inspection? Should we have notified the insurance company of damage to the cars that we weren't making claims for and then bring the cars in? Should we just bring the cars in and let them make notes and then go our merry way? Should we start budgeting for a rate increase?
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total)
Is your car 10 years old recently? Direct writers like PCF will often require an inspection on older cars and then, yah, raise your rate and restrict what they will consider a payable claim on it. But having a couple incidents like the door handles and the parking lot fender bender shouldn't raise your rate - but since they're now "pre-existing" they wouldn't pay out on a claim for them.

I know it's more affordable to go with a cheap direct insurance writer like PCF but you get what you pay for, I think. They generally don't deal with you as a person, just a number. I pay more than I could for my car ins, but I feel a lot more confident having an agent who knows me personally. My agent has gone to bat for me in the past, where my rates could have been raised after an accident that wasn't my fault (there were no witnesses and the other driver lied like a dirty rat), getting me a pay out & keeping my rates the same. You don't get that with direct writers.

Did they even give you a reason why they want an inspection? They should give you detailed reasoning.
posted by zarah at 1:56 PM on May 29, 2008

I think it's fairly standard practice to handle things outside of insurance, and I've never heard of anyone in Ontario penalized for it... especially since you haven't filed any claims. There's no guarantee your rates won't go up -- for example, if they decide your vehicle is somehow unsafe -- but I doubt that you need to fix the cosmetic damage.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:59 PM on May 29, 2008

Did they request an inspection when you first signed up with them? if not, then how would they know that the damage was recent? And wouldn't a damaged car be worth less so your rates should go down? I have never had to have my car inspected in the 15 years I've been insured in Ontario but I am not surprised you would be suspicious of the insurance industry - at least you can shop around for other quotes to use as leverage.
posted by saucysault at 2:58 PM on May 29, 2008

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