7 On Your Side: Tips on whether to file a claim after an accident

NEW YORK (WABC) -- If you have ever experienced a fender-bender or worse, you have probably wondered: should I file a claim and risk rates suddenly rising?

Or do I roll the dice, possibly getting dropped by my insurer?

7 On Your Side has some simple tips to consider if you find yourself in an accident.

Car insurance premiums in our area are some of the highest rates in the nation. Crime, fraud and population density are some factors.

Exhibit A for why rates can climb so high was a recent crash in Brooklyn where an out-of-control driver was in an all-out demolition derby, managing to hit three parked cars before just taking off.

Left behind were some big questions: should you file a claim or pay for repairs out of pocket? If anyone's hurt - or could be hurt - definitely file an insurance claim.

The bottom line is that you can't wait to get sued later on. By that time it could be too late to get covered.

If it's unclear who caused an accident, you would also file. That way your insurance can help fight the other driver's insurance to lower your liability and get your deductible money back.

And if the damage to your car or any other car involved is big or a total loss, it'll makes sense to file a claim with your insurer.

When should you not file a claim? If only your car is damaged - maybe you hit a deer or a tree branch fell on your car.

Or if there's a second car involved and there's very little damage. See if you can exchange insurance info with the other party and pay for damages out of pocket.

Still, get a police report. But ask yourself: does it makes financial sense to file?

If you're looking at damages not too much more than your deductible, think twice.

Insurers usually will not renew you or raise your rates if you file more than two to three claims over a three year period.

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