People often get confused about reporting a car accident to their insurance company even when it is not their fault. Do you really need to notify your insurance carrier when you are obviously trying to get compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance? The short answer is yes! Reporting the accident to your insurance company and the law enforcement agency is important, especially if someone got injured. This is useful even when the other driver is shady or uncooperative, or the damages appear significant.
Reasons to Report the Incident to Your Own Insurance Company
These are a few reasons why you should consider reporting the accident to your insurance carrier even when the accident was not your fault:
- Keeping the terms
Most insurance policies require holders to report any accident to the company. You may have agreed to this by signing the document at the time you purchased the policy. Every car insurance policy in the US requires accidents to be reported. You may face hefty penalties if you fail to adhere to the terms.
- Injuries and damages may not be immediately obvious
You may think you are looking at a typical bumper replacement that should not cost you more than $300 – $700 at face value. However, you may realize later that the make and model of the vehicle inflates the repair bill to $3,000 or more. Additionally, injuries don’t become apparent immediately. It may take weeks or days following the accident for you to realize the complete extent of the damage. At this time, the other driver may claim that the accident never occurred.
- For paying immediate repairs
It can take weeks or months for the at-fault party’s insurance company to sort through all the paperwork and release your check. You can cover immediate repairs by reporting the damage to your own insurance company. You don’t need to wait until the dispute is settled. You can also rely on your insurance carrier for obtaining the best possible settlement for you.
- Other driver doesn’t have insurance
You may need to cover all expenses on your own if the other driver doesn’t have car insurance and you missed informing your own carrier. You may be able to pursue compensation and justice through a private lawsuit if you hire a capable attorney.
However, it will cost you time and money. Also, the chances of a person that doesn’t have car insurance to have enough money to cover the settlement amount is slim. Instead, you can seek compensation through underinsured coverage by reporting the accident to your own company.
Alerting the Insurer is Different From Filing a Claim
You need to understand that there is a difference between reporting an accident and filing a claim. Your premium will not increase when you report a claim. Rate adjustment occurs only when you file a claim. You have risked nothing by reporting the accident. Instead, you make sure that you are covered for injuries and damages if you are unable to claim from the other party.
Imagine, you get into an accident that doesn’t cause any immediate injuries or damages. However, over the next few days you develop symptoms for whiplash. This will require a trip to the nearest clinic. Also, the minor bumper ding took out a radar sensor in the driver-assist technology kit. From a $500 bill for taking care of the scratch, you may be looking at a substantial $5,000 bill.
You can ensure that your insurance company has your back by reporting the accident to them. You can choose to pay the expenses out-of-pocket if you think the cost of damage is less than the premium increase or your deductible. You should not speak with the insurance company without consulting with a capable and dedicated attorney beforehand.
Information Required by the Insurer
Your insurance company may require the following information when you call them:
- Contact information of everyone involved in the car accident
- Insurance policy information of all drivers in the accident, including the policy number, insurance provider, and the driver’s name
- Law enforcement agency that arrived at the accident scene (such as the city policy, highway patrol, or the sheriff)
- Time, location and date of the accident
- Details about the injuries or your damage
You should take photos and make videos, if possible, to document the accident scene, property damage, and your injuries. It is important that the insurance you provide to the carrier is concise, clear, and accurate. Any discrepancies found may work against your personal injury lawsuit.
It is recommended that you let your attorney deal with the insurance company.
Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
You should get in touch with your insurance carrier whether it was your fault or not. Your next step should be to consult with a proven and capable personal injury attorney from the law firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We have the legal resources and knowledge to fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve. Give us a call at (833) 997-1774 today to schedule an appointment, or reach out to us using our online contact us form.