Question

Should I file an insurance claim?

Over a year ago I hit a tree and damaged the trunk of my car. The repair quote I got was $1200, and I was planning to pay out of pocket for that incident and still haven't done so. More recently, but still several months ago, I scraped the side of my vehicle in a parking lot against a pillar. My deductible is $500, but I don't know what I should do. Should I file an insurance claim on one incident, both, or can they combine it? Should I even file a claim? Can I even file a claim if it was that long ago?

Aug 18, 2017 Honolulu, HI

Answer
Neil Richardson

Aug 18, 2017

Here are a few things to consider:
  • You have up to 2 years in Hawaii to file a property damage claim with your insurance provider. It's always best to file a claim as quickly as possible so your insurance company can best assess the damage on your vehicle, however you technically can file a claim up to 2 years from the date of the damage.
  • Since the damage on your car came from 2 different incidents you will be required to file 2 claims and pay 2 different deductibles. You will have to pay $1,000 to your insurance company just in deductibles to get both areas of damage repaired.
  • Single vehicle incidents that result in damage are almost always considered at-fault accidents by insurance companies.
  • At-fault accidents impact your rate for at least 3-5 years. Our State of Insurance Report (page 58) shows that an at-fault accident in Hawaii will cause an average increase in premium of $460 per year. If you file a claim for your damage you will most likely be charged with 2 at-fault accidents and can expect a fairly large increase in your premium.
Since you already have an idea what it will cost to repair the bumper damage I would recommend getting another estimate to repair the damage from the parking lot as well. Using the 2 estimates you should be able to determine whether filing a claim or paying for the damage yourself makes the most financial sense.

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