Minor car accidents are not uncommon with thousands happening throughout the country each day. Normally, these accidents do not result in injury and often only cause minimal damage, such as a scratch or small dent. The damage may even cost more to fix than the vehicle is worth so you may wonder if you even need to let your insurance company know that you were involved in an accident.
Contractually, yes, you are required to report any accident to your insurance company, even if it is minor. However, there may be other reasons your insurance company should know other than because your policy requires you to do so.
If there are any injuries, even if they initially appear minor, you should report the accident to the insurance company. Adrenaline and confusion can sometimes make a serious injury look minor initially. Soft tissue damage like whiplash may not appear for a day or so after the accident as well. In addition, you should involve the police in an accident which causes injuries as your insurance company may require a copy of a police report should any claims be filed.
If there were no injuries and damage is minor, you can decide with the other driver whether you report the accident to your insurance companies. However, if the other driver is clearly at fault and there is any damage to your vehicle, do not simply accept that the other driver will compensate you out of their own pocket for the damage. Insist on filing a claim rather than agreeing to accept out-of-pocket payment.
When an accident occurs on a public street, you should report it to your insurance company. If the accident occurs on private property, like a parking lot, it is possible that the police will may not file a report which makes filing an insurance claim more difficult. In addition, if the accident only involves your vehicle, like when you back into a fence or mailbox, it is assumed you share some of the fault for the accident, but still it may be beneficial to file a claim.
If you cause significant damage to your home while driving your car, such as backing into a garage door and bending it significantly, you should not only file a homeowner’s claim but an auto claim as well.
Often, people do not file claims with insurance companies because they are afraid their premiums will increase. Although some auto insurers may raise rates based on an accident, the fact is that your premiums could increase more if you do not report the accident. If you were at fault, you may receive a citation or ticket which will appear on your driving record eventually.
Insurance companies review your record when deciding whether to renew your policy. If they find that you were at fault in an accident and did not report it, your premiums could rise significantly. Even worse, the insurer could decide not to renew your policy due to your failure to report your involvement in one. If you are not at fault, it is unlikely your rates will increase because you reported an accident.
If you or a loved one were involved in a minor accident, contact Lundy Law today to learn what rights you may have. You can arrange for an initial consultation by completing the easy query form online or calling us at 1-800-Lundy Law.