It’s pretty common knowledge that you need to report car accidents to your car insurance company in the wake of a crash. But are there any exceptions to the rule, and if so, how do you know if you should give them a call or not? This week, we’re outlining exactly when you need to pick up the phone and report your collision and when you can skip the whole thing (though remember: the best way to know is to dig out your insurance policy and read the fine print.
When You Might be Able to Skip Reporting Your Car Accident to Your Insurance Company
Reporting is a hassle, and you shouldn’t do it if you don’t have to, especially if it might mean seeing your rates go up because your driving record is tarnished. You might not have to give your insurance agent a call if all of the following are true:
- It was a single-vehicle accident. If no one else was involved, there is no one to file a claim except for you. If you had a minor one-car accident that also didn’t damage anyone’s property, you may be off the hook.
- No one suffered a significant injury. If you and any passengers are totally okay (maybe save a scratch or bruise or sore muscles) you may be okay not to call. Just be warned: it may take a day or two to realize an injury (especially, for example, a head injury or internal injury) and if you don’t file a claim, you won’t be able to be compensated for any medical bills or lost wages.
- Your car didn’t get significantly damaged. If you were just in a fender-bender with a pole or bumped a fence, the only damage may be some scratched paint or a small dent. If it’s something you don’t feel the need to get fixed professionally, or if the repairs will cost less than your deductible, you may choose to skip the headache.
Be aware: many car insurance policies contain a clause that states that you must report any vehicle accident that may result in a claim. Always read your insurance policy closely both when you purchase the policy and when you are involved in an accident.
When You Should Report Your Car Accident to Your Insurance Company
As a general guideline, any significant traffic accident that results in damage or injury should be reported to your car insurance company in an express manner. Specifically, always report your car accident when:
- Someone is injured. If you, your passengers, or someone else involved in the collision suffers a significant injury that results in medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering, you must report the accident to the insurance company. As stated above, be aware that the damage from some injuries, like concussions or neck injuries, may not surface immediately.
- A vehicle is damaged. If your vehicle or another vehicle suffers damage that needs professional repair, you need to call the insurance company and report it, because a claim will likely be filed to pay for the repairs.
- Property is damaged. Damage does not need to be limited to your vehicles. In some cases, a car may damage another piece of property during a collision, or personal property within the car may be damaged (two common items are cell phones and laptops).
Remember: you cannot file a claim and get compensation for damages if your accident or injuries are not reported. Also remember that it is vital that you report only the facts of the accident and nothing more, so that fault can be determined fairly. If you are unsure about how to report your accident, don’t hesitate to speak with an attorney about the process.
Request a Free Car Accident Case Review from Washington Attorney Chong Ye
The wake of a car accident and car accident injuries can be stressful, overwhelming, traumatic, and confusing. The Ye Law Firm is here to help you get through the entire claims process quickly and efficiently, while securing you the compensation that you deserve under the law. To learn more about your case, ask a Washington car accident attorney a question, or schedule an free, private appointment, please call or fill out our short online contact form.