Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Do you have to report an accident to the insurance company

Report an accident to the insurance company — Mandatory?

Every day I see questions from people who ask; “Do I have to report an accident to the insurance company?” They’ve obviously been in an at-fault accident and intend to pay for the damage out of pocket. They’re writing because they think the other party is trying to screw them and they want to know how they can get by cheaper. Which gets us back to whether they should report an accident to the insurance company.

First, you should know that EVERY auto insurance policy REQUIRES you to report any accident. You think that’s just so they can raise your rates. Wrong. The insurance company wants to know because the second you hit another vehicle or person, the insurance company incurs a liability. They need to know when they’re liable for damages.

Let’s say you just dented another person’s vehicle, they get an estimate, and you pay it. Three weeks later they call to tell you that the transmission isn’t working and their mechanic claims it’s due to the accident. They want $3,000. Or perhaps that their Chiropractor tells them that the pain in their neck is from the accident. Guess who’s going to get sued? You. Think you should report an accident to the insurance company now? Ready to explain why you tried to screw them in the first place?

You should report an accident to the insurance company because you simply don’t know enough about the law to protect yourself from future lawsuits.

First, you have no idea what the going repair rates are for body damage. The insurance company does. If the other party hands you a high estimate and you think it’s out of line—well, too bad. You have to pay it. You don’t get to choose a cheaper shop. Think the other party is having the shop do extra work? Too bad.

Even if the estimate is reasonable, how do you intend to handle future claims? Just because you paid for the body damage doesn’t prevent the party from coming back to collect for damage they discover later. As long as they have an expert who claims it’s from the accident, you’re on the hook.

Your insurance company adjuster can sort through the estimate and separate the reasonable from the con jobs. And they have clout with the body shop. You have none.

The same goes for injuries. Most people think they’re fine after a small rear end collision. But three days later they may “remember” that their neck hurts. Get the point?

Now let’s get back to the insurance company. The longer you wait to report the claim, the worse it’s going to go for you, especially if the claim starts to grow due to a newly discovered personal injury. Don’t forget, failing to report the accident is grounds for cancellation. What the heck are you going to do if they cancel you for non-reporting?

So the answer to the question; “Do I have to report an accident to the insurance company/” is yes. You do. And you should do it as soon as is practical.

Been in an accident and having a disagreement with the insurance adjuster?

Click here to learn how to Negotiate with an Insurance Adjuster

©, 2015 Rick Muscoplat


Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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