If you’ve been in a car accident or experienced car damage, you may be wondering how many car insurance claims you can file with your provider in a single year. Many drivers don’t realize there is no set limit on the number of claims you can submit. However, filing too many claims in a short period of time can negatively impact your car insurance policy.
What is the Average Number of Claims Drivers File?
According to data from the Insurance Information Institute, the average driver files 0.7 car insurance claims per year. This number can fluctuate based on factors like:
- Driver Age: Young drivers tend to get in more accidents and file more claims than experienced drivers.
- Driving History: Those with previous crashes or violations often continue the pattern of filing more claims.
- Policy Type: Drivers with comprehensive and collision coverage file more claims for damage repairs than those with just liability insurance.
So while the average is less than one claim annually, your individual circumstances can lead to more or fewer claims submitted to your provider.
Consequences of Filing Multiple Claims
While there is no limit, filing claim after claim can make your insurance company view you as high risk. Some potential consequences include:
- Premium Increases: Multiple claims can prompt your insurer to significantly raise your rates at renewal time.
- Policy Cancellation: Insurers can decide to non-renew your policy if you file too many claims within your policy term.
- Higher Deductibles: Your insurer may require you to pay higher deductibles to keep your policy.
- Coverage Reduction: Your insurer can drop optional coverages like comprehensive and collision if claims become excessive.
Tips for Deciding If You Should File a Claim
Since claims can drive up your costs, carefully weigh the pros and cons when you experience a loss. Consider these tips:
- Estimate your repair costs. If they fall below your deductible, paying out-of-pocket may make more financial sense.
- Review your claims history. Too many recent claims means filing another will almost certainly increase your premium.
- Discuss your situation with your insurance agent. They can offer guidance based on your policy details and driving record.
- Determine if you absolutely need the claim funds. If you can afford repairs yourself, consider absorbing the cost instead.
- Read over your policy documents. Check if filing a claim will trigger rate hikes or put your policy in jeopardy.
- Consider alternatives like manufacturer warranties that may help cover repair costs without filing an insurance claim.
Steps to Take When Filing a Claim
If you’ve weighed the consequences and believe filing a claim is your best choice, follow these steps for the claims process:
- Report the accident or loss to your insurer promptly, within 24 hours if possible.
- Take photos of damage to all vehicles and property involved. Document the scene as thoroughly as you can.
- Get contact details for anyone else involved and any witnesses on the scene.
- Save receipts for expenses related to the incident, like medical bills, car repairs, rental cars, and more.
- Provide a written statement to your insurer explaining what happened. Answer any additional questions from your claims adjuster fully and honestly.
- Work cooperatively with your insurer through the claims resolution process.
- Avoid accepting any liability or agreeing to any settlement offers from other parties before consulting your insurer.
The Bottom Line
There is no strict limit on car insurance claims per year. But filing too many can put your affordability and insurability at risk. Weigh each claim carefully, review policy impacts, and maintain open communication with your insurance provider. With this approach, you can submit claims when truly necessary while keeping premiums in check and maintaining your vital auto insurance coverage.