Insurance can be a great safety net to protect you from paying large amounts of money if your home or car is damaged or broken into. In some cases—like when another driver hits you and it’s clearly their fault—the other party’s insurance covers all costs, and your insurance rates typically aren’t affected. Or if you have a home break-in or property damage. But in a lot of cases, you’ll need to pay a deductible, and your premiums might go up if your insurance company has to pay a claim.

Some of the situations where your premium could go up are car break-ins, single-car accidents or other types of damage.

1. How serious is the damage?

One thing to ask yourself before you file a claim with your insurance company is, do you really need to? For example, if you accidentally backed your car into a pole, and there’s a small dent in your bumper, can you live with it or do you absolutely have to have it fixed? Did a tree branch fall on your fence and damage it, but it’s still structurally intact? You may find that the damage isn’t very noticeable, and maybe you can just go on with your life and not even notice or think about it again. Or, it might really bother you, and in that case you might decide that it is worth making a claim, even if your premium might go up.

2. How much will it cost to repair or replace?

Another important thing to consider is how much it will cost to fix the problem. If it’s a big dent in the side of your car that will cost $6,000 to fix, you probably won’t want to pay for it out of pocket—paying your deductible and maybe seeing a possible increase in your premium will still cost you considerably less than the repair.

If, on the other hand, it’s something less expensive—like a stereo worth $200—you’ll want to carefully compare both scenarios. Because by the time you pay your deductible and pay the added costs of an increase in your premium, it might be cheaper to just buy the replacement stereo yourself.

3. How much is your deductible, and how much is your insurance premium going to go up?

This is the most important question—basically, how much is it going to cost you to make an insurance claim? You can look up your deductible in your policy itself. But to find out about a possible increase in your insurance premium (which will mean ongoing higher costs), it’s a good idea to ask your insurance company. Then, you can weigh the costs of filing a claim against the costs of the repair or replacement and decide which makes more sense to you.