Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Aug 9, 2021

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Key takeaways...

  • If you get into an accident or you have a loss, you can file a claim against your policy to help pay for damages
  • You must have first-party coverage on your policy if you want your insurer to pay for your repairs or medical bills
  • Many times, filing a claim against your own insurance can have an impact on your future insurance rate for up to three years
  • If you find out that your claim will be classified as at-fault, you can be surcharged at your next term renewal
  • First-party claims can be canceled if you haven’t yet received a payment from your insurer

It’s nice to have the right type of auto insurance when you need it. After you crash into a pole or back into a fence, it can be shocking to learn that the minor dents and dings in your car will cost thousands of dollars to repair. If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy which is intended to cover most accidental damage to your vehicle, you may want to think twice before going through the claims process.

When you have auto insurance with the right coverage, all you have to worry about is covering the deductible that you chose at the onset of the policy.

Unfortunately, as nice as it is to have insurance, using your insurance could cost you more in the long run. If you file a claim for minor to moderate cosmetic damage, you could wind up paying more over the course of the next three years to your auto insurance company than you would have to just pay outright for the damage yourself.

Fortunately, there’s a chance that you’ll be able to cancel your claim after it’s filed. To get the right car insurance coverage in the first place, just enter your ZIP code here for FREE quotes!

Should you consider what type of claim was filed?

Not all types of claims can be canceled at your request after they’ve been filed. You need to distinguish between the types of claims that can be canceled and the types that can’t be canceled before you rush to do anything following the loss.

Typically speaking, you can request that any claims for first-party benefits be canceled. If it’s a claim for third-party benefits, then you don’t have a say in whether or not the claim is canceled.

Any request to cancel a third-party claim would have to be made by the claimant or their insurance adjuster.

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What is a first-party claim?

A first-party car insurance claim is one that you make against your own car insurance policy. If you suffer any type of loss where you need financial help repairing your car, replacing your property, or paying for medical bills, it’s considered a first-party claim when your own insurance carrier is paying you a settlement.

Not just anyone can file a first-party claim. If you have a basic policy with only liability insurance, you won’t have any protection to safeguard you against damages to your own property or injuries to your family.

Here are some of the first-party coverage options that you can file claims against:

  • Comprehensive – For damage to your vehicle sustained in a fire, theft, vandalism, flood, or storm
  • Collision – For damage sustained to your vehicle in a collision
  • Towing – For tows to your home or another site after your car is disabled
  • Medical Payments – For immediate medical expenses to see a doctor or to go to an emergency room after you’re injured in any type of auto-related accident
  • Personal Injury Protection – For help to pay for hospital bills, continual treatment, disability income replacement, rehab costs, and other related expenses after an accident

What are examples of first-party claims that can be canceled?

If you’re the one who will be collecting money for the claim, you have the right to call your claims adjuster and cancel the file altogether per your request primarily because it’s a first-party claim that you initiated filing with the company.

Here are some of the examples of claims that can be canceled as long as certain conditions can be met:

  • You crash into your fence and have a dent in your bumper
  • You back out, and the side of your car is scraped by something hanging out of a vehicle parked nearby
  • You rear-end a commercial vehicle and the other car isn’t damaged, but your car needs front-end repairs
  • You drive off a hill or an embankment and are injured in the accident

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What is a third-party claim?

A third-party claim is one that’s filed when you’re in an accident involving another driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian.

As long as a third party is involved, and they have suffered any type of property damage or injury, there’s an argument that there will be a third-party claim filed against you.

The coverage options claimants can file against include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability – For claims made when you injure someone in an accident or if someone passes away as a result of the accident
  • Property Damage Liability – For claims made when you damage someone else’s property

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Can claims can only be canceled if you haven’t settled?

If there’s any possibility that you’ll want to complete the cancellation process on your claim, you shouldn’t sign any paperwork to settle the claim. You’ll get a settlement offer in the mail, and you’ll have to sign the offer to accept it. With the acceptance signature, you’ll be given a claims check.

If you’ve cashed any claims checks issued to you, there’s no way to cancel the claim.

When should you consider canceling your claim?

It doesn’t always make sense to cancel your claim. If you’re filing a comprehensive claim, your future rates won’t change, so you can use your benefits without worrying. If you were hit by a hit-and-run driver, you can file a collision claim without being penalized as well.

It’s when you will be surcharged that you should consider the cost.

Assess how much it will cost to repair the car, and then ask your agent for an estimate showing how much a chargeable accident will affect your rates. If the surcharge is going to bump up your rates substantially, pay the repairs on your own.

No one wants to pay too much for their insurance. If you’re not happy with your rates after filing a claim, you should start to shop around.

Get online quotes now and see if you can still save money even after filing a chargeable claim.


  1. https://www.state.nj.us/dobi/ins_ombudsman/wysk1.htm
  2. https://www.rmiia.org/auto/steering_through_your_auto_policy/Glossary_of_Auto_Terms.asp
  3. https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-a-car-insurance-surcharge-527252
  4. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/autoinsurance/12-things-your-auto-insurance-agent-knows-that-you-dont/ar-BB7QdgM
  5. http://classroom.synonym.com/possible-withdraw-auto-insurance-claim-after-filing-6969.html
  6. https://www.claimsjournal.com/news/national/2015/08/06/264926.htm
  7. https://www.thebalance.com/understanding-full-coverage-auto-insurance-527412
  8. https://www.thebalance.com/who-will-my-auto-insurance-claim-check-be-made-out-to-527131
  9. https://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/what-to-do-after-a-car-accident.html