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Documenting Auto Accident Damage

There are some situations in which damage to your car occurs due to no fault of your own. The good news is auto insurance is there to help protect you and to reduce any costs you may incur. However, when you file numerous claims, it can impact your car insurance rates.

Obviously, this is not ideal. But do you have any control over this, short of not filing claims in the first place? Here is some information to help clarify things.

When Someone Else Is Responsible

Here is an example of when your auto insurance may end up paying for damage another party causes to your car. Let's say you are in an accident with another vehicle. You exchange information, document the incident, and file a police report.

Everything seems okay until you find out that the other party does not have auto insurance. Or that their liability insurance has a very low limit. In this situation, you may have your own financial protection for your losses. You can file through your own insurer if you have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. Often, the insurer will not penalize you for fault in these cases.

When this happens, your auto insurance carrier pays for your damages. Yet, the other driver's insurance should have footed the bill. Your car insurance company may still try to obtain compensation for the losses by pursuing the other driver in court (if the driver is uninsured) or following up with the other driver's insurer (if they are underinsured). But in the meantime, your insurer has the full financial burden of your claim.

Will This Raise Your Rates?

It depends. In many situations, the cost of car insurance is dependent on the number of claims you file.

If you file numerous claims in a short period of time, it's likely your costs will rise over time. That is because you are at a higher risk of filing additional claims with the car insurance company. The insurer needs to reduce some of that risk by charging you more.

Will This Type Of Incident Hurt You?

First, it's important to realize that a single accident (particularly one that isn’t your fault) is not likely to raise your rates significantly on its own. In many situations, a bigger accident, or an at-fault accident, is more likely to increase your rates.

Second, remember that you have car insurance to protect you from incidents like this. In other words, it makes sense to use the coverage you are paying for when you need it.

Take a few minutes to review your auto insurance policy. If you do not have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, now is the time to put it into place. Then, work with your TCU Insurance agent to form a plan for any claims you might have down the road.

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