Filing a small insurance claim: Is it worth it?

Every year approximately 100,000 bicycles are stolen in Canada.

Here’s a practical suggestion: if you want to avoid losing your bike – which could potentially trigger a small insurance claim – then make sure it is locked and if possible

stored in a secure location like your garage or a condo bike room.

But if you are victimized – bicycle thieves are very ingenious – it’s likely that your bike is covered under your home or apartment insurance policy.

The important questions now are: how much is it worth because your policy will include a deductible; and does it make sense to put in a claim with your insurance company? Home insurance deductibles typically range from $500

to $1000. So if you purchased your bike for $150 plus tax, it would be wise to just replace it yourself.

However, if you’re a serious cycling enthusiast and bought a high-end racing bike worth many thousands, then hopefully you’ve arranged special insurance on the bike so that you can file a claim if it’s stolen.

“The main purpose for insurance is to protect you in case of expensive, unforeseen circumstances,” says Desjardins Insurance spokesperson Joe Daly.

“It usually doesn’t make sense to put in a claim on a small loss. First, you might have to pay it yourself anyway, depending on your deductible. And secondly, a lot of small claims can have a negative impact on your insurance premiums.”

Daly says if a falling tree branch cracks your eavestrough for example, you are better off fixing it yourself. But if the branch damages your roof and rain pours into your home, that’s probably an expensive repair so it makes sense to file a claim.

That way your insurance company will ensure that it’s repaired quickly and properly.

But what about a parking lot dent? We’ve all been there. You pop into the mall and when you come back, there’s a dent or scratch on your vehicle and the guilty party is long gone.

The damage is minor.

But if you put in a claim, will it impact your premiums?

No it won’t, as the damage to the vehicle wasn’t your fault, says Daly.

However, you will still have to pay the deductible.

If the repair cost is less than the deductible, it makes no sense to file a claim. But if the cost is substantially more – and it is sometimes surprising how much even a minor looking dent can cost to fix – go ahead and file the claim.

Just bear in mind, if you start filing numerous parking lot dent claims, your insurer might begin to think you are being negligent in how and where you park your vehicle.

You should probably try to leave a little more room between other cars when parking, or find another shopping mall with less traffic.

Better yet, take your bike instead of the car. Just be sure to lock it up securely.

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