Pay out-of-pocket or use insurance for a car accident?
I just rear-ended someone on the freeway. It's unclear what her damage costs will be (it looked minimal), but I'm fairly certain that mine will be in the $2000 - $3000 range. I had similar damage done when someone backed into me 3 years ago, and it cost $2300.
The car is a '96 Mazda Protege, 130K mileage, with a Blue Book value of $3900. I think that the insurance company may total it, and even if they don't, I'm not sure it's worth fixing.
The question is: should I use my insurance to pay for all of this or just try to pay out-of-pocket if the person that I hit will let me?
Of course, if I pay out-of-pocket I would forfeit the Blue Book value the insurance company may give me for totaling my car. But it would also mean that I could avoid a potential costly raise in my insurance rates. I've never actually hit anyone, but I've heard that the rates can go up substantially for 3 years after a claim.