How Does Filing a Claim Affect My Insurance Rates?

woman at a table looking at paperwork filing a claim affect insurance rates

    How Does Filing a Claim Affect My Insurance Rates?

    Every claim is different, and, unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits all answer on how filing a claim will affect insurance rates or the availability of coverage. Every carrier handles claims a little differently, and companies don’t generally make their rating algorithms public. There are lots of factors that will be considered.

    First, the frequency with which you report claims is usually taken into consideration, as is the size (dollar amount) of each claim, and whether you’re found “at fault” for the loss. Other factors, such as the type of loss, the age of your building, and your industry/occupation can also have an impact on the company’s rating decisions.

    However, unless your carrier happens to use either a specific claims-free discount or a claims surcharge, it’s nearly impossible to say exactly how much a particular claim will impact your rates.

    Regardless of your specific loss experience, certain rates, such as commercial auto, have been on the rise due to an increase in claims frequency and severity statewide.

    If you’ve got a small, first-party property claim that will only exceed your deductible by a few hundred dollars, you may want to think twice about turning in a claim. The same goes for minor auto accidents in which the only damage is to your own vehicle. You may want to seek further guidance in these instances.

    However, it’s important to balance your instinct to protect your loss history with your duty to report claims promptly. If a claim initially looks small at the outset, and you decide not to report it, you may be out of luck if you try to file a claim for the loss at some point in the future.

    Along those same lines, every liability claim, no matter how minor, really should be run through insurance. These kinds of claims often go sideways, and it’s not worth the hassle – or the risk of voiding your coverage – just to save a few bucks on your renewal.

    Your insurance is designed to help in times of need, and reporting a claim promptly is one of the most important actions you can take to protect your rights under the policy.

    If you’re ever faced with a potential claims situation and can’t decide whether to turn it in and want expert guidance, please give our Claims Advocate, Heather Ross, a call. Our experienced team will be happy to help you explore your options for moving forward.

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