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Should I file an insurance claim for bumper damage?

Dented car bumper
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Car insurance exists to cover you financially if your vehicle suffers major damages or if you are involved in an accident with another motorist. However, not all situations require you to file a claim. A fender bender, for instance, is one such circumstance that could put you in a dilemma over filing an insurance claim. Bumper damage is a common occurrence for any vehicle, but knowing whether or not to get your insurance company to foot the bill could save you money and future troubles.

Should I file an insurance claim for bumper damage?

Before you file an insurance claim for any event that impacts your vehicle, try to consider the consequences. Any claim you make may cause your premiums to rise for the next few years. Therefore, when your vehicle has been involved in a fender bender and you are asking yourself, “Should I file an insurance claim for bumper damage?” it is useful to answer the following questions first:

Was another driver involved?

If your fender bender accident was a result of a collision with another vehicle, you should immediately inform your insurance company, even when there was no major damage. Contacting your insurer helps ensure that you are covered in case the other driver sues you for liability and could help the insurance company determine who was responsible for the accident.

Was anyone injured?

If you, your passenger or another motorist is injured in the fender bender accident, you should inform your insurance company as soon as possible, regardless of who was responsible. Trying to keep the event from your insurance company and paying for it out of your pocket could result in consequences later on, such as a lawsuit for injuries.

How much is the cost of damage compared to your deductible?

If the expenses to repair the bumper damage is more than your car insurance deductible, filing a claim may make sense. However, if the cost is lower than your deductible, you could consider paying for it out of pocket to avoid risk of a premium hike.

When to consider filing a claim for a fender bender

There are a few instances when you could consider filing a claim for bumper damage, such as:

  • When you have to pay liability coverage for another driver: If there is another driver involved and you need to pay for damages or medical bills, you may need to inform your insurance company and file a claim.
  • When you cannot afford the expenses: If the cost is higher than your deductible and too steep for you to pay by yourself, filing an insurance claim could be your best option.
  • When it was not your fault: If your bumper damage was the fault of the other motorist, it may be necessary to involve your insurance company and try to get liability coverage from the other party.

When to consider not filing a claim for a fender bender

In certain instances of a fender bender collision, filing a claim could invite more problems with your insurance company. You could consider not filing a claim for bumper damage if:

  • Only your vehicle is damaged: If no other motorist was involved and you do not have to pay for liability, it may be better to keep from filing a claim. Not filing a claim may make even more sense if you do not have a full coverage policy.
  • You have had a recent claim: If you had a claim in the last three years, filing another one could drastically increase the rate of your premium. Additionally, it could also mark you as a high-risk driver.
  • It was your fault: If you suffered bumper damage because of your own negligence, it may be best to pay for it out of pocket if the damage expenses are within your means. Filing a claim could signal a red flag to your insurer.

Frequently asked questions

What is a fender bender?

Any minor automobile crash or collision that results in a damaged bumper or more is called a fender bender colloquially. Getting rear-ended, bumping into another vehicle while parking or discovering a dent in your car caused by another driver may all be examples of fender benders.

Will a small fender bender raise my insurance cost?

If you file a claim for a fender bender, it has a good chance of raising your insurance cost to a certain extent. Some insurance companies give you leeway if it is your first claim, but most of the time, you could expect a rate increase of at least a few percentage points after a claim.

Do minor vehicle accidents need to be reported?

Minor incidents that do not involve other drivers, do not cause injuries or major damages and do not result in a traffic violation can usually go without being reported. However, whenever another vehicle or significant damages are involved, it should be reported to the police and your insurance company to avoid legal hassles later.

How much does a fender bender cost?

The cost of bumper repair will depend on the extent of the damage. Replacing a bumper is typically much more expensive than fixing a minor dent or scratch, which could also depend on whether any other component behind the bumper experiences damage.

Written by
Cynthia Widmayer
Insurance Contributor
Cynthia Widmayer is an insurance contributor for Bankrate and has over two years of experience as a personal finance writer. She covers home, car and life insurance products for Bankrate, The Simple Dollar and among others.
Edited by
Insurance Editor