Do you think I should have my insurance company pay for a broken
rear light? I don't know how it happened or who caused
No. You shouldn't bother using your car insurance for such minor
damage to your car. Pay out of pocket for the broken light to
escape a future rate increase.
I'm the first to say that if it's
you should carry comprehensive and collision coverages as part of
your auto insurance policy. These physical damage coverages give
you protection if your insured vehicle is damaged. However, having
such coverages doesn't mean that you should file a claim against
them just because you can.
My recommendation is that car insurance should be for the major
things, not the minor ones. (See "
Save your insurance for the big things.
If you use your auto insurance policy for every little scrape
and scratch you find on your vehicle, your premium will start to
inflate to cover the numerous claims you've made, or worse yet, you
could get canceled or nonrenewed for too many claims.
You may think that this is just one little claim. The problem is
you don't know when the next accident will occur. Multiple
claims in a period as long as three years isn't looked on kindly by
car insurance companies. (See "
Here's how many car accidents you'll have.
Too minor to claim
Remember that at the inception of your policy you agreed to pay
a certain amount (your
) before your collision or comprehensive benefits are tapped.
If all that is broken is your tail light, then it's doubtful that
the cost of repair would even exceed your deductible amount; this
means you wouldn't even be able to make a claim.
For instance, if your deductible is $250 and the cost to fix the
rear light turns out to be only $100, then even if you call your
auto insurer, it won't be able to help you since you haven't
reached your deductible.
What your insurer may do though is note that you called in and
had some damage to your car that wasn't covered by a claim. This
inquiry can then show up on a claims history database (your
C.L.U.E. report), even though no action was taken by your insurer
to pay a claim.
While this technically shouldn't hurt your car insurance rates,
since there is no accident on your record or claim paid out, I find
it's best to keep any little thing like this off your record.
You don't want auto insurers getting the idea that you're in a
lot of small accidents or incidents that don't turn into
claims. It could still raise a red flag that you are more of
a risk as a driver - and to auto insurance companies more risk
equals higher rates.
If your car is damaged in a way that you know the cost is going
to be much more than your deductible amount (and much more than you
can personally afford to pay out), then go ahead use your coverages
to file a claim. If your rates go up due to claims, then go out and
comparison shop to find the best rates possible for your