There’s a direct relationship between filing a claim and your insurance premiums going up. Claims filed after you get into a car accident or fender bender, will cause your insurance premiums to go up. Policies can be different from company to company, but in general, most insurers will increase your premiums according to how much the claim costs.

A chargeable claim is one that the insurer considers to be your fault. The percentage and maximum of an increase on your premium will depend on your company’s policies. Generally, a chargeable claim acts as a kind of black mark against your record, as you will continue to be charged this increase long after you have filed the claim. If you end up with too many chargeable claims, your insurance company could decide not to renew your policy.

Although filing a claim feels a bit daunting, it’s best to do so right away. If you fail to report an accident to your insurer, you could be taking a chance even if it appears the damage is minor. If the other driver escalates the claim on their side, you could be very vulnerable. Not only will you not have a claim to defend yourself, but your insurance company could also choose not to honor the policy.

But filing claims aren’t the only way to see your premiums go up. Marks against your driving record can also lead to an increase in your premiums, though insurers have different policies as to what constitutes an unacceptable driving record. Severe violations like a drunken driving conviction usually come with a non-renewal of insurance, or, at the very least, a large premium increase. This will mar attempts at obtaining cheap car insurance in the future.

The best formula is to practice safe driving and file insurance claims on time. You’ll get the best premiums if you alert your insurance company to a new claim. Even if it’s your fault, the insurance company can handle the situation as your advocate. It’s best to go through this process and leave the paperwork to the pros.