Myth: You Don’t Have to Report a Car Accident
When an accident occurs, do the right thing. Report it. Call the police to get an official statement over what happened on record. Be sure to file a police report. Then, call your auto insurance agent. The fact is, if you do not report it, chances are they will learn about it anyway. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your car insurance company will not know. Do you know what the consequences could be?
Will they know you were in an accident?
In most cases, even a simple accident can lead to extensive financial loss. Damage to your car or to another person’s car can be hard to pay for out of your pocket. This is why you have auto insurance. That's why you should report a claim to your insurer. The key to remember, though, is that your insurance company may learn about the damage anyway.
First, it may be illegal not to report it. Many state laws say if you are in an accident of any type, you must report it to the police. The police should visit the location, document what occurs, and then file a report. Even if your state does not require this, doing so helps figure out exactly what happened. This is helpful later.
If another party suffers damage, it is likely they can file a claim with your insurance company – even if you do not provide that information. They can contact the police. They can provide your license plate number. And, they can then pursue a claim under your policy. Their insurance company may take steps to do so as well. In short, your insurer will often find out.
But what are the consequences of not reporting an accident?
If you fail to report an accident, and the insurer learns of it, they often have the right to terminate your policy. They may not cover your losses. You may face criminal charges in a court of law if damage to another party’s possessions occurred. Because the risks are so high, it is critical to always file a claim.
Reporting tools make it possible for insurance companies to learn about such accidents. And, the costs of not filing can be high. But, realize you pay for car insurance to gain these benefits. And, just one accident may not impact your overall auto insurance costs. Make sure you file a claim, regardless.