An insurance claim can be filed any time a valuable item has sustained damage, or when an individual is involved in an auto accident. Insurance companies handle big and small claims, but individuals should weigh the risks of possible rate increases against any insurance payments received, states the Chicago Tribune.
Insurance experts recommend filing big claims that cover large losses involving large amounts of money in damages, notes the Chicago Tribune. This type of claim protects the claimant from imminent financial ruin. Experts are less enthusiastic about filing smaller claims, and differ in opinion about what constitutes small. In general, filing a number of small claims poses the risk of insurers raising rates, because the insurer doesn't favor paying claimants who repeatedly file small claims. Filing a small claim is not worthwhile in situations where the payout is overshadowed by increased monthly insurance payments.
Insurers tend to favor claimants who have not filed recent claims, or have no record of previous accidents. For instance, if an insurer has a first-time accident forgiveness policy, it is safe to file a claim under this provision, explains the Chicago Tribune. If someone was injured in the accident, filing a claim provides protection from injury lawsuits. Alternatively, if the deductible is higher than the value of the claim, filing is not a good option.