You want to avoid any sort of collision on the road of course, but if you are going to collide with another vehicle, a fender bender incident might seem to be something you might expect to happen at some point.
Tate Law Offices, an auto accident lawyer in Dallas, will often deal with something more serious than a fender bender, but it would be wrong to consider that these minor motoring incidents are always inconsequential.
A small impact can have a big impact on insurance rates
A fair number of us have experienced the annoyance of either returning to your vehicle to find your rear fender has been dented, or actually being in the car when someone bumps into you.
If this is something that has happened to your recently, you are definitely not alone. There were 1.8 million rear-end crashes in 2013 alone, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
That figure represents just over 30% of the total number of crashes recorded in that year and looking at the bigger picture, some 3 million rear-end crashes resulted in property damage only, so you can see that fender benders hurt your car much more often than they hurt you physically.
The unseen damage that is worth talking about, is the impact that a fender bender claim could have on your insurance rates. The question that is always worth asking in this scenario, is whether it is worth making a claim for the damage or if you should pay for the damage yourself?
Where you live makes a difference to your insurance cost
Insurance companies will always be looking to recover costs that they have paid out on claims and there often will be a percentage rate increase on your insurance rates at the next renewal, to reflect the fact that you have made a claim for damage to your car.
If you live in Massachusetts, you should definitely think twice before making a fender bender claim, as claims have been known to trigger a 75% rise in your annual premium, according to insurance industry figures.
Although this is a startling anomaly in relation to plenty of other states, you will be unlikely to escape an increase of less than 4% in most parts of the US.
Should you report it?
If you decide that the damage to your vehicle does not warrant an insurance claim, should you still report it to your insurance company?
It is actually quite important to report a fender bender to your insurance company, even if you have decide to cover the cost of repairs yourself. One of the reasons for taking this action is the fact that some states require you to report an accident to the police authorities and your insurance company by law, the other factor to consider is that if you have a collision while driving, there is a chance that the other driver might try and make an injury claim.
However minor the incident may seem, if another driver subsequently comes back to say that they have suffered physical damage as a result of even a minor crash, you could be vulnerable if you have not reported the incident and made some detailed notes of what happened at the time.
Fender benders are a common problem, but you still need to do the right thing, even if you decide not to claim on your insurance and protect your rates.
Aidan Cooke works as a fleet manager so has experience in keeping the vehicles running, as well as dealing with insurance claims. His vehicle related articles have been published on auto as well as business blogs.