Should I file a claim for my son's accident?

My teenage son totaled my car $3300 blue book value, my deductible is $1000 collision/$500 comp, should I file a claim? Car is in a tow company yard at $30/day and it costs $350 to tow to my house.

Aug 12, 2018 Los Angeles, CA

Ava Lynch

Aug 12, 2018

When it comes to filing a claim there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. First, is your son listed on your policy as a driver?
    • If he is listed as a driver you can file a claim. If he is not listed as a driver it is likely the claim will not be paid out since he lives in your household. He would need to be either included or excluded on the policy.
  2. Second, are the damages worth filing a claim?
    • At most, your car is worth $3,300. If your collision deductible is $1000, the maximum the insurance company will pay is $2,300. Typically, filing a claim will be reported on your son's, yours, or both of your claims history report. This can negatively affect your rates for up to five years causing your rates to increase. Always good to keep in mind that the whole purpose of car insurance is to protect you from potential financial disaster—not a small financial inconvenience. According to our 2021 State of Insurance, a single at-fault accident would increase rates in California by $1430. However, you need to think about this value over the three years most insurance companies will charge you. Over a 3 year period, you should expect to pay almost 4.3k in premium increases.

Some insurance companies do require you to report any incident, even if you choose not to file a claim. Make sure to check your specific policy for their rules.  For more information, check out our page on filing claims to learn more about when to file a claim and what to expect from the process.  Good luck!


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