Should I Pay Auto Body Repairs Out of Pocket?
When to File an Insurance Claim
Car accidents are expensive. Even if you have insurance, you are going to end up owing some money. Even if you aren’t at fault, they can still end up being expensive when you need a rental car, missed days of work, dealing with someone else’s insurance, and a whole slew of other problems that can come up.
But one question that pops up a lot is whether or not to file an insurance claim, or to pay out of pocket for the damages. What it boils down to is what your insurance policy looks like, and how much the damages would cost if you paid out of pocket. Here at Big Sky Collision Center we strive to be the best auto body repair shop in Montana. That means we want to help you make informed decisions.
Getting a Quote on the Repairs
It’s important to that you get a quote and an estimate on how much the repairs are going to cost. We talked about this in a recent blog post.
When you know how much the repairs will end up costing, then you can accurately crunch the numbers to determine if you’re going to be better off paying out of pocket, or filing an insurance claim.
Comparing Out-of-Pocket to Insurance Claims
Let’s take a couple of hypothetical situations and see what will work out better in our basic model. First, suppose you bonk into a tree and dent the bumper and maybe crack a headlight. Estimate for repairs: $1,500.
We can’t just compare the deductible to the cost of fixing it. Suppose you have a $100 deductible, and insurance covers the other $1,400. That seems like a no brainer. But what if you now lose your accident free discount, and your insurance goes up by $20/mo for three years? What if it goes up by $50 per month? If it increases by $20 per month your total costs for the accident (after insurance) are $820. If it goes up by $50 your total costs are $1,900. In the first situation, it’s still a better deal to let insurance pay; in the second, you’re better off paying out of pocket.
Second scenario: repairs total $2,000 and you have a $1,000 deductible. Crunching those same numbers, if your insurance rates go up $20 per month, your total comes to $1,720; if it goes up $50 your total is $2,800.
So how do you determine what’s best? You need to know what your deductible is, what you’re saving by having an accident free discount, and what would happen if you make a claim. Every insurance company is different, so you may want to get on the phone with them and determine what your best course of action is. Remember, insurance can’t raise your rates just because you told them you were in an accident; they have to receive official documentation (police citation, or a claim) to do that.
Big Sky Collision Center Works with Your Insurance
Confused about the insurance process? Don’t worry, we deal with insurance companies every single day. Let us handle the claims and the companies, you just handle getting us the vehicle so we can do the best repairs on it around. When you drive off, you will have a vehicle restored to full factory safety standards. Give us a call at 406-259-6328 and we can get the process started.