Insurance companies are great judges of character. They've spent
decades honing their skills at predicting whether you'll crash your
car, burn your house down, fall ill or live a shorter-than-average
life. That depth of knowledge is based on claims information -
who's made them, how often and how much they got stuck for.
So you'd assume that insurance companies frown upon any type of
claim. But there are cases in which an insurer is probably happy
about your claim. How can this be? Here are five examples.
1. A claim they don't owe you money for.
People submit claims all the time that insurers don't owe money
on - because the claim is lower than the customer's deductible. For
example, if I crash into a stone wall and incur $900 worth of car
damage, and the deductible on my collision insurance is $1,000, my
insurer doesn't owe me anything.
If you take away only one thing, take this: Don't report damage
you won't be making a claim on! It still likely
makes its way to your CLUE report
, which is a seven-year history of property-damage claims that
could affect your ability to buy cheap insurance in the future.
2. A claim the government will have to pay.
Flood damage claim? Come on down! Flood insurance is generally
provided through the federal government, so the National Flood
Insurance Program will pay -- a program which, by the way, is
on the verge of financial collapse
3. A claim that someone else has to pay.
If you've crashed a rental car, you may be making a claim
against insurance that's not your personal auto policy. For
example, if you charged the rental to a credit card, your credit
card company may have automatic coverage. Or if you purchased the
rental car agency's insurance, that coverage will kick in first and
your own collision coverage, if you have it, will be "excess"
And it's probably better that way. Making a claim on alternate
insurance keeps your own insurance record clean and saves you from
paying your collision deductible. Here's an explanation of
options for rental car coverage
4. A claim on someone else's policy.
Every state except New Hampshire requires drivers to carry
liability insurance for the damage they do to others. If someone
crashes into you, you should make a property-damage claim on their
auto policy, not your own collision coverage.
By making a claim on someone else's policy, you can avoid paying
your collision deductible - and your own insurer will be perfectly
happy with your decision. Here's more on
dealing with another driver's insurer when a crash
is not your fault
5. A claim that will eventually save them money.
Occasionally an insurance claim can head off future, bigger
claims, so who wouldn't be happy about that? Take, for instance, a
visit to the doctor for preventive care that leads to the early
diagnosis and treatment of what could have turned into a severe
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers must cover
preventive care 100 percent, so there's no financial reason not to
get a good check up. This health care reform timeline shows other
current and upcoming provisions.
I'm sure your goal in life isn't to make a big insurance company
happy. But remember that keeping your own insurance record as
uncluttered as possible will likely help keep your future rates