However, making a deal with another driver or paying your own minor costs always comes with an inherent risk that might not be obvious.
Most of the time, it’s a smart decision to let your insurer know about any accidents immediately. This article will go through some of the reasons why.
Your premiums will likely increase whether you claim or not
Most of the time, if you get in a collision with another vehicle, some sort of report will be filed. Either the police will be called, or you may have to report the accident to a nearby provincial collision centre.
Avoiding an official report of the accident could lead to tricky situations in the future, which leads to the next point
Settling a minor accident could lead to unexpected out-of-pocket expenses
Some damage from a collision might look minor, but there could be larger issues beyond what you can see.
Here’s an example: say you get into a minor accident with someone and hit them diagonally from behind. On the outside, it could look like you just made a dent on their bumper. In that case, some people decide to make a deal with the other driver on the spot and pay a few hundred dollars for the damage.
However, if the other driver then takes the car to the shop, they might find that their drivetrain or their wheels or some other car part was also damaged in the collision. That could lead to thousands of dollars of extra expenses, and in a worst case scenario lead to a lawsuit from the other driver.
On the other hand, if you were the one who was rear ended and made a deal with another driver, you could be out thousands of dollars if the driver refuses to pay.
If you don’t report issues promptly, your claim may be denied
If you didn’t immediately report your accident, and other issues in your car show up over time, your insurer could have grounds to deny your claim. This could leave you with thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket expenses.
When it makes sense to avoid claiming
If you’re involved in a single-vehicle accident, where no property was damaged aside from your own car and nobody was injured, it could make sense to pay the costs out of pocket.
One thing to consider is the expense of your deductible. If your deductible for a claim is more expensive than the claim itself, then there isn’t much of a point in claiming for a very minor single-vehicle accident, such as driving into your own mailbox.
Also, consider that a claim can cause a rise in your premiums depending on what kind of insurance plan you have. Always check to see what effect a collision claim will have on your rates, or if your plan includes any forgiven collisions.