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Should I settle privately or use my car insurance in a minor accident?

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Should I settle privately or use my car insurance in a minor accident?

Postby goddard » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:06 am

I rear-ended someone and there is no damage to my car, and I am not going to report this to my insurance company. However, the other party is considering filing a claim against me to have his car fixed. He received an estimate to repair the damages of $550. I am wondering if it would be better to try to settle this privately or let it go to insurance.

My questions are:

- Which would probably cost me more in the long run, repairing the damage out-of-pocket or letting my insurance company handle it? I am 27 with a clean driving record.
- If I settle privately, am I at risk in the future? What if he decides to be "injured" later on?

Also, I received a traffic citation ("failure to stop to avoid an accident") for this because the police were called when the accident happened. I was planning to go to traffic safety school to remove this from my record. However,

- If I DO let his claim be filed through insurance, is there a point to going to traffic school or should I just pay the ticket? What I mean is, do both things (the insurance claim and the ticket) affect my insurance premiums separately, or would it not make a difference if I had only the accident or the accident and the ticket on my record?

Basically, I need to know what will be cheapest in the long run, while still being protected.
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Should I settle privately or use my car insurance in a minor accident?

Postby megedagik » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:11 am

Pay out of your pocket.
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Should I settle privately or use my car insurance in a minor accident?

Postby salvatorio100 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:20 am

Since the police were called and you received a citation, your insurance company will find out about this anyway.

I'd let your insurance company deal with this so if the other person does claim any injuries later on, you will be covered...
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Should I settle privately or use my car insurance in a minor accident?

Postby eimar » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:25 am

Given that you were cited the accident will likely count against your record with the insurer anyway. I'd claim it.

At least one state i worked in has an insurance department regulation that says if the damages are under $1,000, AND nobody claimed injury, AND you haven't had any claims in the past 3 years they couldn't raise your rates unless it was for a general increase that everybody was paying.

I suspect that given the circumstances the rise in your rates would be minor.

Some insurer's have parsed their data and discovered that drivers that just have a ticket are at slightly lower risk of a future accident than drivers who actually had an accident. So they're not necessarily treated equally by all carriers.
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