You get to have your cake and eat it
I learned something new (and important) last week, so I want to share it with you today.
So last Monday I was involved in a minor traffic accident (thankfully not much damage and no one was hurt).
After calling (and waiting for) the police, the owner of the other car and I looked at the damage and decided it didn't look too serious.
"Let's get a quote and see if we can sort this out ourselves," we said to each other.
A couple of days later the phone rang and their quote was 320,000 yen. Hmmm. I contacted my insurance company and left the matter in their hands.
And that's where I learned my new thing: I had assumed that asking the insurance company to step in and do all the work of negotiating, deciding on responsibility and damages, and talking to the other party, repair places, etc. would in effect result in you making a claim on your insurance.
You can ask them to do everything, and then at the last moment when the payment has been decided you can then ask them to do a simulation of how much your premiums will go up and pay the claim yourself if the numbers work in your favour.
I had no idea. Basically I should have called my insurance company immediately, I would have saved myself some time and some stress, and the end result would have been the same.
The key is to tell the insurance company when you contact them that you are thinking of paying the claim yourself depending on the cost. Then make sure they check with you before settling it, and you should be able to have your cake and eat it: have them do all the work and then avoid more expensive premiums for years if the claim is small enough (depending on your situation it may be better to pay smaller claims under 100,000 yen or so yourself, but do ask them for projections for your specific situation).
So if you are unlucky enough to be involved in an accident, call your insurance company immediately and have them go into action.
And if you drive in Japan, for the sake of everything holy, make sure you have unlimited third party cover for people and property. You might not need to insure your own car, but traffic accident claims here can get ridiculous fast.
Any experiences with car insurance? Any recommendations? I may be shopping for a new insurance company soon as the person in charge of my case has been pretty sloppy and her supervisor wasn't much better...