Every Kenyan might have encountered at least one accident in their lifetime but every time the mishap is not a mistake or fault of someone. In some situations, accidents can’t be controlled while in other, you can avoid. What if you have been involved in a serious accident?
The peace of mind that comes with having a Car insurance in Kenya can mislead you into thinking that you have a quick way of fixing any problems you may encounter on the road. If you have never been involved in an accident, you would be forgiven to think that filing an insurance claim is a good idea each and every time you are involved in an accident. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are various situations where you are better off not filing an insurance claim.
A car insurance claim can be the biggest relief of huge losses due to accidental damage. The first step that strikes your mind after being a victim of a road accident is to hold onto your car insurance claim. And why not?
You can’t predict an accident or an unfortunate situation which is out of control.
Kenyans are keen travelers and the month of July and September are the periods when people of Kenya go for plenty of road trips with friends, partners or family. Also, these months are considered as crucial ones for buying insurance as most of the accidents in Kenya take place during these days. Most of the times, the accidents are handled by the insurance companies and you do not even require to spend any penny but in some situations, it is the 100% wrong choice to file a claim as it can end up costing you, even more, money down the road.
Filing a claim will not be as easy as assumed, it involves lots of things as paperwork, calls, meetings, budgeting etc. Another part of the concern is, are you aware that your insurance company will not approve your claim in every situation? Yes, there are exceptions as not every motorist among millions of car accidents on roads in Kenya gets reimbursed for his loss.
Here’s what we found about when to keep mum and shouldn’t file a car insurance claim:
When your claim is less than the deductible:
Before filing the claim, the first thing that should come to your mind is your deductible amount. The deductible is the amount you have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance company will pay to settle a claim.
If the claim amount is less than the deductible or little bit more, it does not make sense to file a claim. You can afford to pay for the costs of damage to your vehicle—or the costs of the repair are close to or not much over the cost of your deductible.
If your policy has a deductible of KSh 800, you might not want to bother filing a KSh900 claim, as it will only net you cost of KSh 100, but the claim could count against you one day in the eyes of your insurer — especially if you end up filing more than 1 claims with small damages within a few years. If your expense is less than the deductible, then you almost certainly will want to not file the claim, in order to keep your record as clean as possible.
There’s little to no damage to someone else’s vehicle or property:
If you had been through a one-car accident and you’re not injured, or if you are, you’re able to pay for your medical expenses yourself. Then there is no point to file a claim and ruin your claim history for a small damage that can easily be covered yourself.
As long as your car is on the road, you are at risk of being involved in an accident. Many cars are involved in minor accidents on our roads on a daily basis, and if they all made claims, insurance would soon lose meaning. If you are involved in minor accident, it is always better to try resolve the matter with the other driver rather than making a claim.
When you make a claim, you may lose your excess protector and you will be required to reinstate it. In this case, its better off to handle any issues where your total costs would be less than the excess you will be required to pay. In addition, making frivolous claims makes also makes you less desirable as a customer, and denies you the long terms benefits of a no-claims-discounts. If the accident is minor and will no cost much, don’t file a claim.
ALSO READ: How Is Car Insurance Distributed In Kenya?
If a claim might end up raising your insurance premiums:
It all depends on your driving record and previous claim history that whether your insurance rates will go up or not. If you already made many small claims earlier then yes, it may end up raising your insurance rates. But if you had a clean driving history and had never filed any claim and the damage is affordable then why to file any claim. If the repair costs for your car are more than your collision deductible, you’ll have to weigh whether the insurance payout is worth the risk of a rate increase later.
When the law is against you
Driving illegally is a very dangerous thing. You can lose your car, and can also end up in jail depending on the veracity of the accident. That said, it is possible to find yourself on the wrong side of the law unintentionally. In those cases, you need to be clear about your options. The first thing all insurance companies will check is whether your car was legally on the road. If an accident should happen and you discover that either your insurance was expired, or that your driving license had expired, then you are better off not filing a claim. The insurance company will not honor such claims, and it will also get you into trouble with the law. You are better off dealing with the matter on your own. We however don’t encourage you to drive illegally
Failure of Maintenance
You should be aware that your insurance policy does not cover damages or costs that result from mechanical wear and tear. For instance, you cannot ask your insurer to replace your tires because they have grown old. You also cannot ask you insurer to pay for the costs of servicing your car. These are expected costs and hence do not fall into the category of risks that an insurance company will cover. Therefore don’t file a claim with your insurer in relation to mechanical wear, or electrical faults. Your insurer will not honor such claims.
The only way to find out how much your insurance company will raise rates is to talk to your agent.
You have filed recent claims
If you file claims more than average and so frequently for even little damages then you are spoiling your credit history.Again get into an accident after a recent claim may increase your insurance premium rates significantly. Even if your claim would be more than the deductible but your claim history appears extensive, you could be setting yourself up for higher rates. Insurance companies look unfavorably on customers who have a history of filing claims, and if you have a history of filing a lot of claims, then they view you as a costly customer and therefore will potentially raise your rates or refuse to pay any of your claims.
When you can pay for your Loss:
If the damage to your vehicle holds the value of few thousand Kenyan shillings or less, and you might pay out of pocket rather than filing a claim, try to do so. You will surely be interested to avoid the risk of paying higher premiums in the upcoming years and getting a record that can follow you with special discounts or lower premiums and even beneficial if you are looking for insurance from a different provider.
We think a safe rule of thumb is: When in doubt, involve your insurance company. One claim won’t always set you back either – but talking to your agent may help you take a right decision. It’s also always good to keep in mind that the whole purpose of car insurance is to protect consumers from potential financial disaster—not a small financial inconvenience.