Insurance FAQ’s: Should I file a claim or pay out of pocket?

Here’s a question we are commonly asked by our clients: “Should I file a claim or pay out of pocket?”

In most cases, this answer to the question, “should I file a claim or pay out of pocket” is pretty obvious based on the type of accident it was. However, there are times when the answer isn’t so black and white. It is our job as insurance advisors to advise you on whether a claim should be filed or not. 

We want to be very clear: these are just some guidelines you could follow when making a decision, but each situation is different. It’s really best to consult your trusted insurance advisor before deciding to pay out of pocket or file a claim.

Generally speaking, here’s when you should file a claim and when you should pay out of pocket…

  • If someone else was involved in the accident, you should file a claim.
  • If no one else was involved in the accident and the damage was less than your deductible, you should not file a claim.
  • If no one was involved in the accident and the damage is slightly higher than your deductible, you should not file a claim.
  • If you’ve recently filed another at-fault accident, and the damage is minimal, you should not file a claim.

If another driver was at fault for the accident, you would want to file the claim on their insurance if you have their insurance information (always get their insurance information at the scene of the accident!)

But what is a deductible?

A car insurance deductible is the amount of money you’re responsible for paying after you file an approved insurance claim. Your insurance company covers the rest, up to your coverage limit.

Will filing a claim increase my insurance?

Whether or not your insurance increases after filing a claim depends on a couple of things:

  1. Your insurance carrier
  2. The circumstances surrounding the accident
  3. Who was at fault in the accident
  4. Your accident and claims history

It’s important to know that even filing a $0 claim (where you are not paid anything) can affect you. With guidelines getting stricter, claims frequency can impact your policy. A $0 claim may not lead to a surcharge, but it can lead to a non-renewal or prevent you from getting coverage with another carrier.

As you can tell, there are a lot of factors that are in play when you have an accident. Your first stop before filing a claim should always be to call your insurance advisor. They’ll be able to guide you through the best choice for your specific information.


Have more questions about claims? Check out this blog post: What Your Insurance Agent Wants You to Know About Having a Claim or contact our team of experts here.

A little more about Holley Insurance…

Holley Insurance was founded in 2000, and retains a core base of loyal clients. We have locations in Roanoke, Rocky Mount, and Forest, VA. As an independent insurance agency, Holley Insurance represents a carefully selected group of financially strong, reputable insurance companies. Therefore, we are able to offer you the best coverage at the most competitive price. Holley Insurance was named “Top Insurance Broker in Southwest Virginia” by Virginia Living Magazine for 2021. If you’re interested in starting a quote online or having us take a look at your current policies, click here!

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