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At-fault accident : Should I even have my own vehicle inspected ?

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rated:
Hello,

My wife hit the parking fence in the apartment complex. We used the insurance to pay for the repairs, which came to $475.

So far, I have not scheduled any appointment with the insurance company to have the damage to our own car (and the child seat) assessed. The child seat would need to be replaced (~ $300), and the (paint) damage to the car would likely be in excess of a few hundred dollars, based on my own past experiences.

Given the above, should I even consider taking it for assessment, considering the likelihood of surcharge being applied to the premium later on ? The insurance representative (not some "agent", as I had confusingly stated earlier) said the surcharge would be applied if the total costs for "all" repairs (to parking fence, and to my own vehicle+car seat, etc) > 1000. 

I am okay with not having the repair to the paint done for my vehicle. Although I would very likely replace the car seat still. My collision and comprehensive deductibles are $ 250 each.

Finally, is it "risky" to take it just for inspection, even if I decline the repairs ? Would the insurance company still make a note of the total damage, and apply a surcharge ? 

Thank you.

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Everything in life is a scam nowadays.

DTASFAB (Aug. 22, 2017 @ 2:18p) |

Given how many people sue at the drop of a hat, Britax may be setting a standard they can defend if sued.  If they truly... (more)

JW10 (Aug. 22, 2017 @ 4:16p) |

I completely agree.  This should have been paid out of pocket...

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rated:
You need not take your car in to your auto insurance's preferred auto Body Shop. You are at your free will to go to any reputable auto Body Shop and request a free estimate of repairing your vehicle without letting your auto insurance know and you can determine yourself if the cost is less than your deductible to just pay out of pocket to avoid a premium increase.

I would suggest to shop around auto body shops as some can charge higher than others with similar repair results.

rated:
hqh51 said:   You need not take your car in to your auto insurance's preferred auto Body Shop. You are at your free will to go to any reputable auto Body Shop and request a free estimate of repairing your vehicle without letting your auto insurance know and you can determine yourself if the cost is less than your deductible to just pay out of pocket to avoid a premium increase.

I would suggest to shop around auto body shops as some can charge higher than others with similar repair results.

  thanks for the suggestion.

Any thoughts/inputs on how much premium increase one may expect typically ? If I were to go with the insurance and total cost of repair >1000, they mention there would be a surcharge, but they don't reveal how much it would be.
This is the first at-fault accident for us. 

rated:
voy82 said:   Hello,

My wife hit the parking fence in the apartment complex. We used the insurance to pay for the repairs, which came to $475.
 

  
This was a mistake. This will most likely end up counting as an accident against you, resulting in premium increases for years to come, totaling way more than $475.

rated:
Sounds like a minor accident.
Was the car seat actually damaged, or do you want to replace it because someone is telling you to?

rated:
nasheedb said:   
voy82 said:   Hello,

My wife hit the parking fence in the apartment complex. We used the insurance to pay for the repairs, which came to $475.

  
This was a mistake. This will most likely end up counting as an accident against you, resulting in premium increases for years to come, totaling way more than $475.

  And, even if your insurer won't rate it, others likely will. Meaning, you're stuck with your current insurer for 3-5 years. 

rated:
Another post where someone pays for car insurance (AND a low deductible!) and then when it comes time to use the insurance, they don't want to, because they are worried that their premium will go up. AND to make it even sillier this time, the OP already used his insurance to fix what he hit but not his own car! I seriously don't understand people and avoiding claims on their car insurance.

OP, why do you have a $250 deductible if you aren't going to use your insurance on anything where the damage is over $250? Why don't you carry liability only if you aren't interested in fixing your own car? If you're worried about your premium, just raise your deductible and drop collision and comprehensive since you don't plan on using them.

rated:
IF your wife hit the fence hard enough to cause concern, have the bumper shocks inspected. They may need to be replaced. Failure to do so can seriously endanger the people inside as well as increased car body damage in a future accident. Source: personal experience.

rated:
meade18 said:   Another post where someone pays for car insurance (AND a low deductible!) and then when it comes time to use the insurance, they don't want to, because they are worried that their premium will go up. AND to make it even sillier this time, the OP already used his insurance to fix what he hit but not his own car! I seriously don't understand people and avoiding claims on their car insurance.

OP, why do you have a $250 deductible if you aren't going to use your insurance on anything where the damage is over $250? Why don't you carry liability only if you aren't interested in fixing your own car? If you're worried about your premium, just raise your deductible and drop collision and comprehensive since you don't plan on using them.

Often, the difference in premium for a lower deductible is negligible.  For instance, I'd only save about $39 a year by increasing the collision deductible on my car from $500 to $1000.  I keep the collision insurance because the book value is still close to (if not slightly over) five figures, and if I'm involved in a serious accident with $3000 of damage or more (or a total loss of the vehicle) I don't want to self-insure up to the full value of the vehicle.  With $3000-4000 of damage or more, it's a no-brainer --- use insurance.  It's for the smaller to medium sized claims of $1000-3000 of damage that are in that gray area for me, and I think for a lot of other people too.  Anything under $1000, no way I'm reporting it to insurance.  The reason I pay that $39 difference is not so I can get a $350 payout on $850 worth of damage.  Doing that is just stupid.  Rather, it's to increase the payout on a potentially much larger claim by $500.

In this case, I agree, it's absolutely ridiculous that OP reported the event and had insurance pay out for property damage under the liability portion of his policy, but did not have his car repaired under the collision portion.  That's what it's there for... to fix the damaged vehicle!  Either report everything to insurance and milk it for every penny, or report nothing and cover liability/property damage out of pocket and then decide whether to repair the vehicle or live with the damage.  Since the carrier already knows that Mrs. OP drove into a fence, carrier should pay for a new car seat and pay to restore the vehicle to its "pre-accident condition."

rated:
DTASFAB said:   
meade18 said:   Another post where someone pays for car insurance (AND a low deductible!) and then when it comes time to use the insurance, they don't want to, because they are worried that their premium will go up. AND to make it even sillier this time, the OP already used his insurance to fix what he hit but not his own car! I seriously don't understand people and avoiding claims on their car insurance.

OP, why do you have a $250 deductible if you aren't going to use your insurance on anything where the damage is over $250? Why don't you carry liability only if you aren't interested in fixing your own car? If you're worried about your premium, just raise your deductible and drop collision and comprehensive since you don't plan on using them.

Often, the difference in premium for a lower deductible is negligible.  For instance, I'd only save about $39 a year by increasing the collision deductible on my car from $500 to $1000.  I keep the collision insurance because the book value is still close to (if not slightly over) five figures, and if I'm involved in a serious accident with $3000 of damage or more (or a total loss of the vehicle) I don't want to self-insure up to the full value of the vehicle.  With $3000-4000 of damage or more, it's a no-brainer --- use insurance.  It's for the smaller to medium sized claims of $1000-3000 of damage that are in that gray area for me, and I think for a lot of other people too.  Anything under $1000, no way I'm reporting it to insurance.  The reason I pay that $39 difference is not so I can get a $350 payout on $850 worth of damage.  Doing that is just stupid.  Rather, it's to increase the payout on a potentially much larger claim by $500.

In this case, I agree, it's absolutely ridiculous that OP reported the event and had insurance pay out for property damage under the liability portion of his policy, but did not have his car repaired under the collision portion.  That's what it's there for... to fix the damaged vehicle!  Either report everything to insurance and milk it for every penny, or report nothing and cover liability/property damage out of pocket and then decide whether to repair the vehicle or live with the damage.  Since the carrier already knows that Mrs. OP drove into a fence, carrier should pay for a new car seat and pay to restore the vehicle to its "pre-accident condition."

So you pay $39 per year to cover a potential $500 incremental loss that may never happen?  That's very expensive coverage.  If you can go 12 years without a major claim, you'll save enough to self insure that $500.

rated:
cherry3m said:   
DTASFAB said:   
meade18 said:   Another post where someone pays for car insurance (AND a low deductible!) and then when it comes time to use the insurance, they don't want to, because they are worried that their premium will go up. AND to make it even sillier this time, the OP already used his insurance to fix what he hit but not his own car! I seriously don't understand people and avoiding claims on their car insurance.

OP, why do you have a $250 deductible if you aren't going to use your insurance on anything where the damage is over $250? Why don't you carry liability only if you aren't interested in fixing your own car? If you're worried about your premium, just raise your deductible and drop collision and comprehensive since you don't plan on using them.

Often, the difference in premium for a lower deductible is negligible.  For instance, I'd only save about $39 a year by increasing the collision deductible on my car from $500 to $1000.  I keep the collision insurance because the book value is still close to (if not slightly over) five figures, and if I'm involved in a serious accident with $3000 of damage or more (or a total loss of the vehicle) I don't want to self-insure up to the full value of the vehicle.  With $3000-4000 of damage or more, it's a no-brainer --- use insurance.  It's for the smaller to medium sized claims of $1000-3000 of damage that are in that gray area for me, and I think for a lot of other people too.  Anything under $1000, no way I'm reporting it to insurance.  The reason I pay that $39 difference is not so I can get a $350 payout on $850 worth of damage.  Doing that is just stupid.  Rather, it's to increase the payout on a potentially much larger claim by $500.

In this case, I agree, it's absolutely ridiculous that OP reported the event and had insurance pay out for property damage under the liability portion of his policy, but did not have his car repaired under the collision portion.  That's what it's there for... to fix the damaged vehicle!  Either report everything to insurance and milk it for every penny, or report nothing and cover liability/property damage out of pocket and then decide whether to repair the vehicle or live with the damage.  Since the carrier already knows that Mrs. OP drove into a fence, carrier should pay for a new car seat and pay to restore the vehicle to its "pre-accident condition."

So you pay $39 per year to cover a potential $500 incremental loss that may never happen?  That's very expensive coverage.  If you can go 12 years without a major claim, you'll save enough to self insure that $500.

  Maybe it's $32, not $39.  I don't even know.  The likelihood of avoiding a major claim for 12 consecutive years is low enough that I'd rather keep paying the difference.  I never said it was the best financial decision.  But I don't think it's necessarily a poor decision.

rated:
DTASFAB said:   
meade18 said:   Another post where someone pays for car insurance (AND a low deductible!) and then when it comes time to use the insurance, they don't want to, because they are worried that their premium will go up. AND to make it even sillier this time, the OP already used his insurance to fix what he hit but not his own car! I seriously don't understand people and avoiding claims on their car insurance.

OP, why do you have a $250 deductible if you aren't going to use your insurance on anything where the damage is over $250? Why don't you carry liability only if you aren't interested in fixing your own car? If you're worried about your premium, just raise your deductible and drop collision and comprehensive since you don't plan on using them.

Often, the difference in premium for a lower deductible is negligible.  For instance, I'd only save about $39 a year by increasing the collision deductible on my car from $500 to $1000.  I keep the collision insurance because the book value is still close to (if not slightly over) five figures, and if I'm involved in a serious accident with $3000 of damage or more (or a total loss of the vehicle) I don't want to self-insure up to the full value of the vehicle.  With $3000-4000 of damage or more, it's a no-brainer --- use insurance.  It's for the smaller to medium sized claims of $1000-3000 of damage that are in that gray area for me, and I think for a lot of other people too.  Anything under $1000, no way I'm reporting it to insurance.  The reason I pay that $39 difference is not so I can get a $350 payout on $850 worth of damage.  Doing that is just stupid.  Rather, it's to increase the payout on a potentially much larger claim by $500.

In this case, I agree, it's absolutely ridiculous that OP reported the event and had insurance pay out for property damage under the liability portion of his policy, but did not have his car repaired under the collision portion.  That's what it's there for... to fix the damaged vehicle!  Either report everything to insurance and milk it for every penny, or report nothing and cover liability/property damage out of pocket and then decide whether to repair the vehicle or live with the damage.  Since the carrier already knows that Mrs. OP drove into a fence, carrier should pay for a new car seat and pay to restore the vehicle to its "pre-accident condition."

  
OP here. I reported it to the insurance immediately because I somehow felt the damage to the property would be much more severe than what it ended up being ($475). So I never really got around to thinking further on  "whether I should even report anything to insurance or not", since that happened first up.

Having said and done that, I still do not "fully" understand the points you both are making. If the insurance is now telling me that if the total cost of all repairs turns out to be >1000, they will add a surcharge to the premium. So is it not worth debating whether I should use the insurance to get repairs done to my own car/car seat ? Does anyone have an idea how much the surcharge would be ? Do you guys think the insurance is anyway going to apply a surcharge, regardless of whether I even get my car repaired or not ? In some sense, I'm aware that the accident has already had some impact on my premium, as I was (accidentally) told by the insurance representative (not some "agent", as I had confusingly said earlier) that one of the "good driver" discounts that would have otherwise applied was not applied now due to the accident.

In general also, don't know whether I am alone but it is clear that the insurance companies keep the future values of the insurance premiums/surcharges to be so secretive and complicated that it is impossible for an ordinary person to even decide whether it makes sense to use the insurance or not, regardless of the deductible being relatively low.

In light of all this, are you guys telling me I should now just go ahead and use the insurance for repairing my car and replacing the car seat ?

PS: about the car seat damage: there is no visible damage, but on reading the manual, and looking at some belt on the back of the seat, I am able to figure out that it is indeed damaged and needs to be replaced.
 

rated:
voy82 said:   
I'm aware that the accident has already had some impact on my premium, as I was (accidentally) told by the agent that one of the "good driver" discounts that would have otherwise applied was not applied now due to the accident.

Since your agent and insurer already know all the details of what happened, there's really no reason to try to figure out the answers to these questions without their help.  Talk to your agent and find out what your best options are.  Your agent is in a better position to explain these things than we are.  This is exactly why I prefer using an independent agent.  An independent will be in the best position to tell you if your best option is to milk the claim with your current carrier for every penny that it's worth only to switch to a different carrier at renewal time.  An agent who only works for one company will never tell you that, even when it's true.

rated:
voy82 said:   
PS: about the car seat damage: there is no visible damage, but on reading the manual, and looking at some belt on the back of the seat, I am able to figure out that it is indeed damaged and needs to be replaced.

  Can you elaborate on this?  I'm curious, if there's no visible damage, what are you seeing on "some belt at the back of the seat" that tells you the car seat has been compromised?

rated:
DTASFAB said:   
voy82 said:   
I'm aware that the accident has already had some impact on my premium, as I was (accidentally) told by the agent that one of the "good driver" discounts that would have otherwise applied was not applied now due to the accident.

Since your agent and insurer already know all the details of what happened, there's really no reason to try to figure out the answers to these questions without their help.  Talk to your agent and find out what your best options are.  Your agent is in a better position to explain these things than we are.  This is exactly why I prefer using an independent agent.  An independent will be in the best position to tell you if your best option is to milk the claim with your current carrier for every penny that it's worth only to switch to a different carrier at renewal time.  An agent who only works for one company will never tell you that, even when it's true.

 
Really sorry for the confusing terminology. By agent, I just meant the insurance company customer support representatives that I spoke on the phone. It is not some middleman through whom I bought the insurance. So there really is no middle agent in this case who can tell me what my best bet is.

About the car seat, the back tether has "visible colored stitching", which indicates damaged. Please check page 31 in this manual

https://us.britax.com/media/1201/britax-advocate-clicktight-user-guide-01-28-2015.pdf  
 

rated:
I tip my hat to OP for having read all that material. Too many of us just install it.

rated:
voy82 said:   
DTASFAB said:   
voy82 said:   
I'm aware that the accident has already had some impact on my premium, as I was (accidentally) told by the agent that one of the "good driver" discounts that would have otherwise applied was not applied now due to the accident.

Since your agent and insurer already know all the details of what happened, there's really no reason to try to figure out the answers to these questions without their help.  Talk to your agent and find out what your best options are.  Your agent is in a better position to explain these things than we are.  This is exactly why I prefer using an independent agent.  An independent will be in the best position to tell you if your best option is to milk the claim with your current carrier for every penny that it's worth only to switch to a different carrier at renewal time.  An agent who only works for one company will never tell you that, even when it's true.

 
Really sorry for the confusing terminology. By agent, I just meant the insurance company customer support representatives that I spoke on the phone. It is not some middleman through whom I bought the insurance. So there really is no middle agent in this case who can tell me what my best bet is.

About the car seat, the back tether has "visible colored stitching", which indicates damaged. Please check page 31 in this manual

https://us.britax.com/media/1201/britax-advocate-clicktight-user-guide-01-28-2015.pdf  

So the colored stitching has actually ripped?  Or are you simply going by the wording, "Figure 1 shows a tether acceptable for continued use (provided the child seat has not been involved in a crash). The colored stitching will be intact and not visible from the back of the seat?"  Was the car seat occupied by a child when your wife crashed into the fence?  A little bump could do a lot of damage to the fence and not compromise the car seat, or vice versa.

rated:
What kind of fence was it exactly?  I can't see how hitting the fence would be enough force to damage the car seat, but to only cause a couple hundred dollars in damage to the paint.  Sounds like a pretty flimsy car seat for $300. 

rated:
DTASFAB and hairybeast:
It's clear that Britax thought ahead and came up with some super sensitive thread to put in the car seat belts that would "rip" when involved in even the most minor accident and then point to that as an indicator of when the accident was severe enough to require replacement. Don't give the OP too much grief over this. It's clearly a scam by the car seat manufacturers (specifically Britax in this instance) to claim that their seats can't withstand more than one minor crash.

rated:
Everything in life is a scam nowadays.

rated:
meade18 said:   DTASFAB and hairybeast:
It's clear that Britax thought ahead and came up with some super sensitive thread to put in the car seat belts that would "rip" when involved in even the most minor accident and then point to that as an indicator of when the accident was severe enough to require replacement. Don't give the OP too much grief over this. It's clearly a scam by the car seat manufacturers (specifically Britax in this instance) to claim that their seats can't withstand more than one minor crash.
 

  
Given how many people sue at the drop of a hat, Britax may be setting a standard they can defend if sued.  If they truly have a validated stress test, good for them be so defensive, but warning the public of a possible valid concern.

rated:
nasheedb said:   
voy82 said:   Hello,

My wife hit the parking fence in the apartment complex. We used the insurance to pay for the repairs, which came to $475.

  
This was a mistake. This will most likely end up counting as an accident against you, resulting in premium increases for years to come, totaling way more than $475.

  

I completely agree.  This should have been paid out of pocket...

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