Reporting an accident to your insurance company usually provides a safeguard from unexpected consequences. You might think you experienced a minor accident you can handle yourself or talk over with the other motorist in a two-car accident. However, you don’t always know the full extent of the damage or what the other driver plans to do. Although an accident claim could risk raising your insurance rates, situations arise when reporting the accident becomes necessary.
You don’t necessarily need to notify your insurance company for an accident that involves only you in a slow-speed mishap. For example, you might have backed into a post or tree that brings minor damage to your car. The damage could amount to less than your deductible or out-of-pocket expense before the insurance coverage takes over. As long as no one is injured and you haven’t damaged someone else’s property, you could consider avoiding a report to the insurance company and handle the costs yourself.
If you have any doubts or questions about the costs for damage on your car, reporting the accident to your insurance company doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in insurance premiums or a blemish on your driving record. Reporting minor accidents involving only you and your car may not have any impact if you have a clean record, depending on your policy and state laws, which vary. Unfortunately, you usually won’t know for sure until you file a claim. You’ll need to report the accident if you want your car repaired and can’t afford it without an insurance payment.
When involved in a minor accident with another driver, you both might decide to make an arrangement without involving insurance companies. This isn’t usually a good idea, because you don’t really know the extent of the damage to your car. It might be worse than it first appears. Even injuries might not be noticed until a day or so later. Your insurance company could put limits on your coverage or claims if you don’t report the accident in a timely manner. Avoid discussing details of the accident with the other motorist and choose the safety of reporting the accident to your insurance company.
Not Your Fault
Damage from accidents caused by another driver requires the at-fault motorist’s insurance company to handle coverage. Get information from the other driver, including the motorist’s name, address, phone number and insurance company. It’s necessary to report the accident to the police, who determine the person at fault. The insurance company uses the report to pay compensation. Keep in touch with the other person’s insurer with information on your damages or injuries. You should also contact your own insurance company even though you were not at fault. Your insurer can help you out if delays occur or if the other insurance company denies compensation.
Jerry Shaw writes for Spice Marketing and LinkBlaze Marketing. His articles have appeared in Gannett and American Media Inc. publications. He is the author of "The Complete Guide to Trust and Estate Management" from Atlantic Publishing.