You buy insurance to protect your home and car from damage, but when an accident happens, you may wonder if you should file a claim. You may also wonder will making a hail claim increase my insurance premiums. When it comes to something small, an accident that you could pay for on your own, you may need to weigh the cost benefit of making a claim. When it comes to something big, like hail damage to your siding or roof, you need to use the protection of insurance.
How do Claims Impact my Premiums?
We’ve all heard the stories about how making claims can increase your premiums. The truth is, repeated claims can result in increased premiums. However, The Texas Insurance Code prevents your insurance company from raising your premiums based on a single claim or a claim made for damage from natural causes.
What does this mean for your hail claim? Your insurance company cannot raise your premiums because you make a claim for damage from natural causes. Also, in Texas, a single claim cannot impact your premium.
What does impact your premiums? What types of claim are you making? Were you at fault? Do you have a history of filing claims? The more claims you file, the more likely it is that your premiums will increase. The more car accidents that you cause, the greater the odds of an increased premium.
On the other hand, if you aren’t at fault, your rate may not change. Getting hit from behind when your car is parked or having siding blow off of your house during a storm are clearly not your fault and may not mean rate hikes. Keep in mind, the number of speeding tickets you have, the number of natural disasters in your area (hail storms, hurricanes, floods) and even a low credit rating can all cause your rates to go up.
Should I file a Claim on my Insurance?
There are no hard-and-fast rules among insurance companies around rate hikes. What one company forgives, another won’t forget. Understand your policy. Discuss your coverage and accident forgiveness before you buy the insurance. Talk with your agent about claims and rate increases before you agree to the policy. Also, ask your agent if they are obligated to report any potential claims that you discuss with them. Some agents have to report incidents, even if you never make a claim. Know this before you discuss the possibility of a claim with your agent.
A good rule to follow is to only file a claim in the event of a large loss. If your car gets a dent on the bumper, you may be better off paying out of pocket. If hail damages your entire roof or HVAC system, filing a claim becomes an economic necessity.
The bottom line is that the insurance companies control many of the rules of the game. Know your policy in advance. And if your insurance company tries to take advantage of you by wrongfully denying your hail claim, contact us, we can help.