People carry auto insurance for two reasons. In most states, minimum coverage is required by state law. Then, of course, car accidents can be very costly, and most of us couldn’t afford to cover the cost of car repairs and medical expenses on our own. To complicate matters, some insurance carriers require their customers to report all accidents regardless of injuries. Then, from a driver’s perspective, there is the issue of whether your premium will go up after reporting an accident. So, as you can see, there are many things to consider before deciding whether to notify your insurance carrier of an accident.
What to Do Immediately After an Auto Accident
• Check to see if you or any passengers have been injured. Serious injuries may require calling 911 for medical attention.
• If you vehicle is still in running condition and you are physically able, move the car off the road where it can’t block traffic.
• Some states require that all accidents be reported to the police. Keep in mind that a police report provides you with proof of an accident. The report can be very important when it comes to legal issues and financial matters.
• To retain insurance coverage, many insurers require you to notify them of an accident immediately or within about 72 hours.
Contact Information and Insurance Info
In most instances, after an auto accident, everyone is shook up to a certain extent. You might not be thinking clearing, or your attention could be drawn to an injured passenger. Your best bet is to exchange information with the other driver. Failing to get contact and insurance information could be a huge mistake when it turns out there was more damage to your vehicle than you realized. You should collect:
• Contact phone number.
• Full name of the driver.
• Insurance company name.
• Policy number.
• License plate number.
• Model, make and color of the car.
• Note the location of the auto accident.
• The driver’s license of the driver.
Should I Report an Accident to My Insurance Company?
Even if all those involved, in an accident, show no apparent signs of injuries, you never know what kind of injuries could develop in a week or so, which could turn out to be very costly down the road. Are you really prepared to pay huge medical expenses that you can’t afford?
In some cases, the damages may look minimal and both parties agree to work out the damages on their own without involving insurance companies. This is often a huge mistake. Many fender benders are often far more expensive to repair, and you might be the one to foot the bill.
If you should decide not to notify your insurance carrier about an accident to avoid the possibility of higher premiums, you could be making another mistake. If accident notification is a requirement for doing business with your insurance carrier, they could cancel your policy.
Drivers frequently change their minds about filing a police report or reporting the accident to their insurance company after you leave the scene of an accident. You could find yourself in deep trouble legally and financially for failing to report an accident. Many insurance policies cover the cost of legal defenses when you file a claim.
It is possible that you initially purchased auto insurance, so you could drive legally. However, it is also more than likely; you couldn’t afford to cover auto repairs for your car and the other vehicle involved in the accident and medical treatments for everyone. Then, you’ll also need to consider how you would pay for towing if your car is no longer drivable. Plus you could also be facing the cost of a car rental.
Notifying the Insurance Company
Since, most of us don’t have legal or insurance backgrounds, it’s best not to make assumptions as to who is at fault for an accident and whose insurance company will be paying for the damages. In other words, don’t assume you don’t need to report the accident because the other driver’s insurance company will cover the costs.
You should check your insurance policy to learn how quickly notification of an auto accident must be reported to your insurance company. Insurance companies can deny auto accident claims if you exceed the number of days to report an accident.
When you take everything into consideration, the most logical decision is to call your insurance agent to report the accident, regardless of who may be at fault.
Don’t take risks. Review your legal responsibilities in your auto policy. Accidents involving injuries should always be reported to the police and your auto insurance company.
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