06/23/2011 06:34 pm ET Updated Aug 23, 2011

Five Claims Insurance Companies Want You to Make

Insurance companies are great judges of character. They've spent decades honing their skills at predicting whether you'll crash your car, burn your house down, fall ill or live a shorter-than-average life. That depth of knowledge is based on claims information -- who has made them, how often and how much they got stuck for.

So you'd assume that insurance companies frown upon any type of claim. But there are cases in which an insurer is probably happy about your claim. How can this be? Here are five examples.

  1. A claim they don't owe you money for.

  2. People submit claims all the time that insurers don't owe
    money on -- because the claim is lower than the customer's deductible. For
    example, if I crash into a stone wall and incur $900 worth of car damage, and
    the deductible on my collision insurance is $1,000, my
    insurer doesn't owe me anything.

    If you take away only one thing from this post, take this:
    Don't report damage you won't be making a claim on! It still likely makes its way to
    your CLUE report
    , which is a seven-year history of property-damage claims
    that could affect your ability to buy cheap insurance in the future.

  3. A claim the government will have to pay.

    Flood damage claim? Come on down! Flood insurance is
    generally provided through the federal government, so the National Flood
    Insurance Program will pay -- a program which, by the way, is on
    the verge of financial collapse

  4. A claim that someone else has to pay.

    If you've crashed a rental car, you may be making a claim
    against insurance that's not your personal auto policy. For example, if you
    charged the rental to a credit card, your credit card company may have
    automatic coverage. Or if you purchased the rental car agency's insurance, that
    coverage will kick in first and your own collision coverage, if you have it,
    will be "excess" coverage.

    And it's probably better that way. Making a claim on
    alternate insurance keeps your own insurance record clean and saves you from
    paying your collision deductible. Here's an explanation of options for
    rental car coverage

  5. A claim on someone else's policy.

    Every state except New Hampshire requires drivers to carry
    liability insurance for the damage they do to others. If someone crashes into
    you, you should make a property-damage claim on their auto policy, not your own
    collision coverage.

    By making a claim on someone else's policy, you can avoid
    paying your collision deductible - and your own insurer will be perfectly happy
    with your decision. Here's more on dealing
    with another driver's insurer when a crash is not your fault

  6. A claim that will eventually save them money.

    Occasionally an insurance claim can head off future, bigger
    claims, so who wouldn't be happy about that? Take, for instance, a visit to the
    doctor for preventive care that leads to the early diagnosis and treatment of
    what could have turned into a severe medical condition.

    Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers must cover
    preventive care 100 percent, so there's no financial reason not to get a good
    check up. This health
    care reform timeline
    shows other current and upcoming provisions.

I'm sure your goal in life isn't to make a big insurance
company happy. But remember that keeping your own insurance record as
uncluttered as possible will likely help keep your future rates down.

This article was written by Amy Danise at