What If You Have Multiple Insurance Claims?

Beware of Multiple Car Claims

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A car insurance claim can happen to anyone, sometimes even in multiples. Understanding the claims process and how multiple insurance claims will affect you, will help you make tough decisions. Take the time to learn about car insurance claims before you need to file so you are prepared.

Back to Back Claims

It really does not matter if you have two-car insurance claims within the same week or a year apart, claims are handled the same.

The normal time frame to worry about multiple claims is three years. Three years is the window of time insurance carriers look at your claim history.

Multiple Claims and Deductibles

Multiple claims which occur really close together always bring up questions about deductibles. For instance, say you have been procrastinating on getting your cracked windshield replaced and now a deer has run into the side of your vehicle. You want both your windshield and the damage caused by the deer repaired at the same time. Even though both are comprehensive claims, you will have to pay two deductibles if your policy is set up with a deductible on comprehensive coverage.

Normally when your vehicle is damaged at two separate times by two separate causes, your deductible will apply to each occurrence. It is possible for exceptions to be made in the case of storm damage. If your car is damaged by hail and a tree branch falls on your vehicle during the same storm, your insurance company might be willing to charge a single deductible because the same storm caused the damage.

Does the Type of Claim Matter When It Comes to Multiple Claims?

Absolutely, it is not only how frequently you have filed claims, but what type of claims you are filing. Consider who is at-fault and the amount of damage before filing a claim. It can make a huge difference in your decision to file.

Typical Guidelines for Preferred Insurance Carriers

  • Not-at-Fault Claims: In most states, not-at-fault claims are not seen by your own insurance carrier because the claim is filed against the at-fault party’s policy. The rules change in the state of Michigan because of its no-fault law, even not-at-fault claims are filed against your car insurance policy. Most preferred carriers surcharge for three or more not-at-fault claims in a three year time period.
  • Comprehensive Claims: Typically multiple comprehensive claims do not affect your insurance rate, but filing three or more in three years could make your rates go up. It really depends on how your insurance carrier treats comprehensive claims. Some insurance carriers charge for all comp claims although most still do not.

How to Avoid Multiple Claim Penalties

  • Be Careful: The worst claims to file are at-fault claims. Minimize distracted driving, stay off the roads when the weather is bad, and keep your car in tip-top shape.
  • Pay for Claim Yourself: Obviously paying for damage to your vehicle out of pocket is not what you want to do. However, sometimes it is the cheapest overall option.

One claim is stressful enough, throw in multiple claims and you could really be pulling your hair out. The best advice is to deal with one at a time.

Remember, even though deductibles can get expensive, it is most definitely cheaper than covering the costs of multiple claims on your own.