The time after a car accident can be hectic, especially if severe damage or injuries were involved. There are many things that need to be done in this situation, and doing them quickly can save you a lot of time, money and hassle later on. Some things can hold less of a priority, but there are other tasks that need to be done as soon as possible. One of those top priority tasks is notifying your car insurance company of the accident.
Many people often miss important tasks following a car accident due to the chaotic nature of things. Finding an personal injury lawyer is one of these tasks, but that is still only second to notifying your insurance company. In fact, you should notify them before you even start to look into an personal injury law firm.
Some people may not think notifying their car insurance company of an accident is a big deal, especially if they feel that they aren’t at fault. This can be due to many reasons. A person might feel that the accident does not apply to their insurance if they weren’t at fault, and they could believe that the other party’s insurance will handle everything.
You should never trust the other party’s insurance company to handle things for you. Depending on the laws in your area, the requirements for insurance regarding fault may be unclear. The other party’s insurance may decide that you had some part in the accident, however minor that part may be. You have no control over what story the other party tells their insurance – especially when they have motive to lie, and are therefore leaving a lot of important matters in the hands of somebody you cannot completely trust.
With that said, it does not matter whether you are at fault or not. Most insurance policies contain a statement that requires you to notify them immediately following an accident, regardless of whether any damages or injuries occurred. In fact, in some cases, your insurance may not have any obligation to cover your expenses if you fail to report the accident to them in a timely manner.
There are scenarios, however, where the matter of calling your insurance company following an accident can be a little more difficult to decide upon. For example, things get hazier when the “accident” only involves your car or property. This matter will depend on your state or local laws and your insurance policy, however there are cases where minor accidents may not affect your premium and therefore may not need to be reported. This is not always the case, however, and it would be better for you to report it just to be safe.
In the case of an accident that only involves one car, it might make sense not to notify your insurance company in three cases. The first case it might make sense is if your one-car accident involves no injuries or you are able to pay for your injuries by yourself – a.k.a. without the help of your insurance company. If you are involved in a one-car accident with damages to your vehicle, it may make sense not to notify your insurance company if you are, similarly, able to pay for the damages without their help or if the cost of damages amounts to approximately your deductible.
The thing about reporting a claim to your insurance company that causes many people to be weary of doing so is that the claim could potentially cost you more than what you would be paying had you not reported it in the first place. In the situation of a one-car accident that results in one hundred dollars’ worth of repairs, reporting a claim may result in money being tacked onto your policy for years to come. This could cost you hundreds more over time than if you had taken care of it yourself without a claim.
So, should you notify your car insurance company following an accident? The answer in most cases is yes – especially if there are severe damages or any injuries involved. Unless you are prepared to handle things completely on your own, you should notify your insurance company immediately. Also keep in mind local and state laws that may affect the amount of time you have to notify your insurance company. Your insurance policy may also affect this.
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