When it comes to car insurance claims, you may want to think twice before filing.

Flickr User The Truth About
Flickr User The Truth About

In New Jersey, premiums go up an average of 59 percent after a single claim according to a new report from InsuranceQuotes.com. That's the third-steepest spike in the country.

Nationally, rates go up an average of 38 percent after one claim and 86 percent after two. In New Jersey, a driver with two claims pays an average of 134 percent more for car insurance than a claim-free driver.

"New Jersey is certainly above the average," said Laura Adams, senior analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com. "It's hard to pinpoint one particular reason why one state has higher rates than another. Insurance is regulated at the state level. Those individual laws give insurers the leeway in how they can apply claims according to a driver's history. Some will charge more and some will charge less."

So, what's a driver to do?

"You want to really analyze whether making a claim is going to hurt you financially or not. If it's a large claim, that's what insurance is for. If you have a lot of damage and high repair costs, that's when it's going to make sense. But, if you have a claim that may be just a couple hundred dollars, it really doesn't make sense if your premium is going to skyrocket as a result," said Adams.

According to the report, the hike is steepest in Massachusetts where just one claim leads to an average premium increase of 67 percent. California comes in at number two with an increase of 62 percent followed by New Jersey.

InsuranceQuotes.com has created a calculator to help provide guidance for consumers to decide if it does make financial sense to file a claim. That 'Should I Make a Claim?' calculator can be found at InsuranceQuotes.com in the auto section.


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