INSURANCE

Can I pay out of pocket once an insurance claim has been filed?

I backed into the entrance bumper of a parked automotive in a car parking zone. It didn’t look critical. I used to be about to depart a be aware when the proprietor got here again, so I informed her what had occurred. I used to be rattled because it’s my first accident in additional than 30 years of driving. I gave her my insurance coverage info and speak to quantity, however I forgot to ask for hers. My insurance coverage firm referred to as and stated a declare had been began. I don’t need my charges to go up for years if it seems to be only a minor restore. Can I pay her for the repairs myself as an alternative of going via the insurance coverage firm? – Jeff, Alberta

As soon as an insurance coverage declare has been began, you may often change your thoughts and pay out of pocket. However, relying in your province, your charges would possibly go up anyway, an insurance coverage professional stated.

“You possibly can change your thoughts and pay the declare your self,” Rob de Pruis, nationwide director of client and trade relations with the Insurance coverage Bureau of Canada (IBC), stated in an electronic mail. “The at-fault driver might nonetheless have an at-fault collision listed on their profile.”

Usually, your charges solely go up after a collision if you happen to’re at fault – so if somebody hits you, your charges shouldn’t take successful.

Usually, the quantity of the at-fault declare has no relation to the quantity your charges will rise. Your funds will rise by a set quantity, whether or not you tapped a automotive within the car parking zone or totalled three vehicles on the freeway.

However in most provinces, together with Alberta, your insurance coverage firm can use any at-fault collisions they learn about to set your charges – even if you happen to paid for the injury your self, de Pruis stated.

“In case your insurance coverage firm is notified, there could possibly be implications to your insurance coverage, like lack of a claims-free low cost,” stated de Pruis. “Relying on what number of different claims you’ve had, there may be a future influence [on your rates], as you might be seen as a better danger.”

The speed escape?

Whereas that’s true in most provinces, there are exceptions. As an illustration, in Ontario, your charges won’t go up after an at-fault crash if you happen to pay for all of the repairs your self – so long as no one was injured and the injury was lower than $2,000 per automotive, de Pruis stated.

“This provision is proscribed to 1 minor accident each three years,” he stated.

Likewise, in British Columbia you may pay for at-fault claims your self with no influence in your insurance coverage charges – so long as the injury is lower than $2,000, the Insurance coverage Company of British Columbia (ICBC), the province’s government-owned insurance coverage firm, stated in an electronic mail.

“A buyer can change their thoughts and try and settle privately with the opposite occasion if a declare has already been filed, [but] the opposite occasion would wish to comply with this feature,” ICBC spokeswoman Lauren Champagne stated in an electronic mail.

In most provinces, together with Ontario, if anyone hits you, you go to your personal insurance coverage firm they usually deal with the declare.

However if you happen to’re at fault and the declare has already been began, you’d seemingly need to ask your insurance coverage firm to ask the opposite driver’s insurance coverage firm whether or not that driver is considering settling privately as an alternative.

If you happen to determine to pay out of pocket, notice that additionally, you will need to pay for the opposite driver’s rental automotive whereas their automotive is within the store.

“Dealing with a declare privately could make sense in some circumstances the place car injury may be very minor – nonetheless, even injury that seems to be minor might be expensive,” Champagne stated. “Repairing small options corresponding to sensors and cameras, that are widespread in newer autos, can add up.”

There are additionally dangers to dealing with a declare privately, de Pruis stated.

“The proprietor of the car that was broken can overcharge you for the restore – make it possible for there are a minimum of three estimates,” de Pruis stated. “Some car homeowners might additionally embrace pre-existing injury within the restore prices, which might inflate the restore estimate.”

Lastly, the opposite driver might probably take your money however nonetheless make a declare via the insurance coverage firm “claiming car injury prices twice,” he stated.

Even if you happen to determine to deal with an at-fault declare privately, it’s best to nonetheless inform your insurance coverage firm that you just hit somebody – or danger having your coverage be cancelled in the event that they discover out, de Pruis stated.

“Auto insurance coverage insurance policies generally have a selected statutory situation that states you should notify your insurer the place there’s loss or injury to individuals or property, or loss or injury to the car,” de Pruis stated.

Have a driving query? Ship it to globedrive@globeandmail.com and put ‘Driving Issues’ in your topic line. Emails with out the proper topic line will not be answered. Canada’s a giant place, so tell us the place you might be so we are able to discover the reply on your metropolis and province.

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