Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

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Stinky
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Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by Stinky »

We’ve had auto insurance through State Farm for many years. Our cars are newer and have full coverage with $1,000 deductible.

Recently, one of our vehicles had a close encounter with a post in a parking lot. Our vehicle had “minor” damage to the driver side front quarter panel and close-by parts. No glass breakage, air bag deployment, etc. No other vehicles involved. (The post emerged unscathed)

We have the cash to pay for the damage. The driver involved has been accident free for over 5 years.

My question is - at roughly what dollar amount would you file this with State Farm? I’m trying to balance the cash recovery I would get with the potential future increased insurance premiums. I’m thinking that I shouldn’t file if the damage is $3,000 or less, but that’s purely a guess on my part.

Boglehead Nation, what do you think?
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mancich
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by mancich »

Since no other driver was involved, personally, I wouldn't file if the damage was only two or three thousand. You'd have to pay the $1,000 deductible anyway if you file, and you face a real risk of increased premiums.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by Zdex »

Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 3:34 amMy question is - at roughly what dollar amount would you file this with State Farm?
Probably over $5k. Both auto and home insurance, every claim will be submitted to C.L.U.E. And that claim will be reviewable by any insurance company for seven years. These reports are used in the underwriting determination. No way would I trigger a CLUE report for this.

As an aside, for home insurance, I wouldn't make a home policy claim unless it was a catastrophic loss.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by BolderBoy »

Zdex wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 5:12 am
Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 3:34 amMy question is - at roughly what dollar amount would you file this with State Farm?
Probably over $5k. Both auto and home insurance, every claim will be submitted to C.L.U.E. And that claim will be reviewable by any insurance company for seven years. These reports are used in the underwriting determination. No way would I trigger a CLUE report for this.

As an aside, for home insurance, I wouldn't make a home policy claim unless it was a catastrophic loss.
This is very good advice!
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by Soon2BXProgrammer »

Zdex wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 5:12 am As an aside, for home insurance, I wouldn't make a home policy claim unless it was a catastrophic loss.
I agree with this, which also means, someone should make sure their home policy has a deductible that is similar to their strategy for filing claims.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by HueyLD »

Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 3:34 am We’ve had auto insurance through State Farm for many years. Our cars are newer and have full coverage with $1,000 deductible.

Recently, one of our vehicles had a close encounter with a post in a parking lot. Our vehicle had “minor” damage to the driver side front quarter panel and close-by parts. No glass breakage, air bag deployment, etc. No other vehicles involved. (The post emerged unscathed)

We have the cash to pay for the damage. The driver involved has been accident free for over 5 years.

My question is - at roughly what dollar amount would you file this with State Farm? I’m trying to balance the cash recovery I would get with the potential future increased insurance premiums. I’m thinking that I shouldn’t file if the damage is $3,000 or less, but that’s purely a guess on my part.

Boglehead Nation, what do you think?
What appears to be a minor damage could cost quite a bit of money depending on what repairs are done.

Maybe you can get a couple of estimates from different repair shops to at least get an idea of the cost of repairs.

I think it is a good idea to not get the insurance company involved for small stuff of a few thousand dollars.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by pshonore »

BolderBoy wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 10:14 am
Zdex wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 5:12 am
Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 3:34 amMy question is - at roughly what dollar amount would you file this with State Farm?
Probably over $5k. Both auto and home insurance, every claim will be submitted to C.L.U.E. And that claim will be reviewable by any insurance company for seven years. These reports are used in the underwriting determination. No way would I trigger a CLUE report for this.

As an aside, for home insurance, I wouldn't make a home policy claim unless it was a catastrophic loss.
This is very good advice!
Agree on the 5K but how do you define catastrophic? Family member had a home struck by lightning. Damage night be 20K. I don't consider that catastrophic but would definitely file for that.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by Stinky »

I appreciate all of the responses.

I got an estimate this morning. Just over $1,600. Much less than I’d feared!

I definitely won’t be filing this claim.

Again, thanks everyone.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by wfrobinette »

Zdex wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 5:12 am
Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 3:34 amMy question is - at roughly what dollar amount would you file this with State Farm?
Probably over $5k. Both auto and home insurance, every claim will be submitted to C.L.U.E. And that claim will be reviewable by any insurance company for seven years. These reports are used in the underwriting determination. No way would I trigger a CLUE report for this.

As an aside, for home insurance, I wouldn't make a home policy claim unless it was a catastrophic loss.
I have a rule at twice my deductible for home claims. Only had to do two in my life. The biggest being nearly $50k for hail damage
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by wfrobinette »

pshonore wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 10:23 am
BolderBoy wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 10:14 am
Zdex wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 5:12 am
Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 3:34 amMy question is - at roughly what dollar amount would you file this with State Farm?
Probably over $5k. Both auto and home insurance, every claim will be submitted to C.L.U.E. And that claim will be reviewable by any insurance company for seven years. These reports are used in the underwriting determination. No way would I trigger a CLUE report for this.

As an aside, for home insurance, I wouldn't make a home policy claim unless it was a catastrophic loss.
This is very good advice!
Agree on the 5K but how do you define catastrophic? Family member had a home struck by lightning. Damage night be 20K. I don't consider that catastrophic but would definitely file for that.
I'm with you on that.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by willthrill81 »

Was there a police report of the accident?

If so, your insurer will find out about it at some point and potentially raise your rates.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by Stinky »

willthrill81 wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 1:11 pm Was there a police report of the accident?

If so, your insurer will find out about it at some point and potentially raise your rates.
Thankfully, no police involved. :D
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by FireAway »

State Farm (at least our policy) has a "one free accident" clause - that is, they will not raise rates on you if it has been at least 5 year since your last claim. So, the question is how likely do you think you are to have another accident in the next five years? The answer to that may make it worthwhile to file even for a somewhat small claim.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by Stinky »

FireAway wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 2:22 pm State Farm (at least our policy) has a "one free accident" clause - that is, they will not raise rates on you if it has been at least 5 year since your last claim. So, the question is how likely do you think you are to have another accident in the next five years? The answer to that may make it worthwhile to file even for a somewhat small claim.
Thanks for the suggestion.

It looks like the claim, net of my deductible, would net me just $600. I'm not inclined to "waste" my "one free accident" for this amount of money.

FWIW, both DW and I have totalled a car in the last 10 years, and they were both our fault (those darned left turns). So it does happen, even to drivers who try their best to be pretty careful.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by stan1 »

Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 10:27 am Just over $1,600. Much less than I’d feared!
I definitely won’t be filing this claim.
Agreed, if the owner of the post in the parking lot hit by the car has no outstanding issues with the driver I'd pay for it myself.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by talzara »

FireAway wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 2:22 pm State Farm (at least our policy) has a "one free accident" clause - that is, they will not raise rates on you if it has been at least 5 year since your last claim. So, the question is how likely do you think you are to have another accident in the next five years? The answer to that may make it worthwhile to file even for a somewhat small claim.
State Farm has both a tier system and an accident-free discount. "One free accident" only applies to your tier rating. You always lose the accident-free discount, even for the first claim.

Many insurance companies have a claims-free discount to bypass state laws that restrict when rates can be increased. The discount is not considered part of your rate, so they can withdraw the premium without increasing your rate.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by Stinky »

stan1 wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 2:55 pm
Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 10:27 am Just over $1,600. Much less than I’d feared!
I definitely won’t be filing this claim.
Agreed, if the owner of the post in the parking lot hit by the car has no outstanding issues with the driver I'd pay for it myself.
The post held its ground.

Not a scratch.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by oldfatguy »

Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 3:34 am I’m thinking that I shouldn’t file if the damage is $3,000 or less, but that’s purely a guess on my part.
If that's your threshold, can you raise your deductible?
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by Stinky »

oldfatguy wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 3:04 pm
Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 3:34 am I’m thinking that I shouldn’t file if the damage is $3,000 or less, but that’s purely a guess on my part.
If that's your threshold, can you raise your deductible?
That's a good thought.

Unfortunately, $1,000 is the highest comprehensive and collision deductibles that State Farm offers - at least in my state.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by talzara »

Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 3:10 pm That's a good thought.

Unfortunately, $1,000 is the highest comprehensive and collision deductibles that State Farm offers - at least in my state.
State Farm has a $2,000 maximum deductible for collision and comprehensive in Alabama.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by Stinky »

talzara wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 6:35 pm
Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 3:10 pm That's a good thought.

Unfortunately, $1,000 is the highest comprehensive and collision deductibles that State Farm offers - at least in my state.
State Farm has a $2,000 maximum deductible for collision and comprehensive in Alabama.
I just called my agent and he said $1k.

Maybe it’s lower in the Birmingham area? Who knows?
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by talzara »

Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 6:47 pm
talzara wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 6:35 pm State Farm has a $2,000 maximum deductible for collision and comprehensive in Alabama.
I just called my agent and he said $1k.

Maybe it’s lower in the Birmingham area? Who knows?
Only the base rates vary by territory. All other rate factors are available statewide, including the deductible factor.

The $2,000 deductible is in the GRG and DRG tables on pages 300-302 of the latest rate manual for Alabama (February 22, 2021). If your agent can't see it in his computer, then he should escalate this issue to someone who can fix it.

Alabama is a prior approval state, so State Farm is required by law to follow its approved rate manual. If State Farm won't let you select the $2,000 deductible, then you can file a complaint with the Alabama Department of Insurance. Other Bogleheads have reported successful outcomes after getting the insurance regulators involved.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by surfinagin »

FireAway wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 2:22 pm State Farm (at least our policy) has a "one free accident" clause - that is, they will not raise rates on you if it has been at least 5 year since your last claim. So, the question is how likely do you think you are to have another accident in the next five years? The answer to that may make it worthwhile to file even for a somewhat small claim.
Based on my personal experience, at Geico if your claim is less than $2K then you keep your "1 free accident" benefit.
No idea if State Farm or other co's have a "grace limit".
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by afan »

Interesting. We carry higher deductibles on car insurance. Not with SF, but the agent did not bat an eye when we through out the figure.

I look at auto insurance as mainly liability insurance. Comp and collision for the company handling claims rather than me doing it myself. The cost difference between the lower and higher deductibles has been too low to worry about. I MIGHT make a claim if the car were totaled, depending on circumstances. But we drive old and inexpensive cars. If one were totaled, we would not spend a large amount to replace it.

I had an "other driver's fault" collision years ago. Not knowing any better, I reported it to the insurance company. I wanted an inspection to see whether the car was more seriously damaged than cosmetic effects I could see. The insurance person said no. I went to leave but they handed me a check for $1,600 (which was a lot of money back then). I took the money but never had the repairs made. Car drove fine for years thereafter.

For someone who loves their car, would spend heavily to keep it looking perfect and drives expensive cars, the reasoning might be different.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by talzara »

surfinagin wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:04 pm Based on my personal experience, at Geico if your claim is less than $2K then you keep your "1 free accident" benefit.
No idea if State Farm or other co's have a "grace limit".
It doesn't matter whether you have GEICO or State Farm. The minimum chargeable claim is determined by state law. If it's not chargeable, then it's not chargeable at any insurance company.

An insurance company could choose a higher chargeable threshold than the state minimum, but this would be unusual. People who file chargeable claims are riskier than people who don't, so they want to use that information to price policies.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by Paradise »

I have read an had an actual example of what happens to your future insurance when you file an auto claim. 28% increase is the quoted statistic and it lines up with what I was told when I stupidly used insurance to pay for damages to my parked rental car. For 5 years!

For me, that’s about $3,000 of increased premiums + the $500 deductible for $2,000 worth of damages. $1500 lesson for me, so I’m here to help you out.

This is why you should always take the max deductible. I treat my car insurance as I treat every other insurance. It’s there for big stuff, not fender benders.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by Stinky »

talzara wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:40 pm
Stinky wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 6:47 pm
talzara wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 6:35 pm State Farm has a $2,000 maximum deductible for collision and comprehensive in Alabama.
I just called my agent and he said $1k.

Maybe it’s lower in the Birmingham area? Who knows?
Only the base rates vary by territory. All other rate factors are available statewide, including the deductible factor.

The $2,000 deductible is in the GRG and DRG tables on pages 300-302 of the latest rate manual for Alabama (February 22, 2021). If your agent can't see it in his computer, then he should escalate this issue to someone who can fix it.

Alabama is a prior approval state, so State Farm is required by law to follow its approved rate manual. If State Farm won't let you select the $2,000 deductible, then you can file a complaint with the Alabama Department of Insurance. Other Bogleheads have reported successful outcomes after getting the insurance regulators involved.
Thank you so much for the reference! (Clearly, you must have some “insider” information to be able to quote GRG and DRG tables :D )

I copied your GRG and DRG text and sent it to my agent with a cover note. He responded that his system couldn’t quote a $2,000 deductible, and he would get in touch with the underwriting area. About 5 minutes later, he sent another message and confirmed that a $2,000 deductible was available. I can save about $70 per six months on my vehicles with the higher deductible.

I really apprecIate your post. I’ve been asking him about higher deductibles for over 10 years and always got the same (incorrect) response, that they weren’t available. It took just one knowledgeable Boglehead to pry out the correct response.

Once again, I appreciate your knowledge and your response.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by grabiner »

Paradise wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:10 pm I have read an had an actual example of what happens to your future insurance when you file an auto claim. 28% increase is the quoted statistic and it lines up with what I was told when I stupidly used insurance to pay for damages to my parked rental car. For 5 years!
For a situation like this, you should check the Rating Information section of your policy. My policy indicates how much the rate will go up for various categories of tickets and accidents, and it specifically sense that no points will be charged to the rate for damage to my own car when it is legally parked (unless it rolls away). In a different state, I did have a policy that restricted the best rating tier to drivers with no accidents at all in the last three years, even not-at-fault.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by talzara »

Stinky wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:51 pm I can save about $70 per six months on my vehicles with the higher deductible.

I really apprecIate your post. I’ve been asking him about higher deductibles for over 10 years and always got the same (incorrect) response, that they weren’t available. It took just one knowledgeable Boglehead to pry out the correct response.
I'm glad I was able to help.

If you can prove that you asked for a higher deductible 10 years ago, you might be able to get some of your money back. $70 every six months is $1,400 over 10 years. It adds up to real money. Of course, that's only if you filed no claims during this period. If you filed a claim, then you got what you paid for.

If State Farm won't give you a refund, then you could file a complaint with the Alabama Department of Insurance.
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Re: Minor fender bender - at what $ amt should I report to auto insurer?

Post by bltn »

About 20 years ago, I was driving to a job on a rural highway before daylight, at about 55 mph which was the speed limit. I hit a very deep pothole and the bottom of the car had a tremendous impact with the pavement. I thought I would have to pull over but the car kept running fine. A week later I took the car in for routine maintenance, and it was found to have a hairline crack in the transmission case with a gradual tiny leak of fluid. I had to have the case replaced for 3500 dollars. I asked a friend who was a State Farm agent if I should file. He said by all means. He said that filing, my first, would raise my premiums 15% for three years and then things would return to normal with no future repercussions. The increase in premiums was only going to total a few hundred dollars so I filed. After I couldn t get the state highway department to consider any reimbursement!!
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