You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

5 signs it's time to settle a car accident (and 5 that it's not) Logo By Barbara Marquand of | Slide 2 of 11: new caption

1. The accident is minor.

Only accidents without major damage or injuries should be considered for handling outside the insurance system, says Penny Gusner, a consumer analyst for You might be able to handle it on your own if you scratched a car while backing out of a parking space, for instance, but not if you T-boned a car in an intersection.

If the accident is your fault, get a mechanic's estimate for repairs first, before you decide for sure to pay out of pocket. Set a limit for how much you'd be willing to pay before getting the insurer involved. You might think you barely dented a car, but hidden damage could lurk under the exterior and cost a bundle to fix.

© Monkey Business Images/REX
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon