If you are involved in a road traffic accident and your car, other property or any individuals are damaged or injured then you should let your car insurance company know about the incident. However, just because you have been involved in an accident does not mean that you will always wish to make a claim on your policy.
When arranging the car insurance you will probably have agreed to pay an excess on the policy. For instance, if you had agreed an excess of say £250 this means that you would be responsible for paying the first £250 of the claim. So, if the repair work was £500 then you would pay half of it.
In the above example, it is quite possible that you will decide to claim on your policy so that the insurance company pays £250 towards the cost rather than you having to find the total cost of the bill from your own resources.
However, if the total cost of the repair bill had been say £260 and there was a £250 excess with the policy then the insurance company would only meet £10 of the bill. In which case, you may decide not to claim on your policy as the insurance company may, as a result of paying out on your policy, increase the premium by more than £10 a year. Therefore, you may decide that it is just not worth claiming on the policy. Equally, if the repair bill was £200 and your excess was £250 then you would have to pay the repair costs.
When shopping around for car insurance, it may be worth looking at a number of quotes for different excess amounts as this is just one factor that impacts on the premium. For instance, if you only have an excess of £100 then your premium is likely to be more than if you had chosen an excess of say £500. Another thing to bear in mind is that different insurers may charge a different premium for the same level of excess so it could be worth shopping around with a variety of insurance companies to try to find the best deal available.