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When am I supposed to report my car accident to the insurance company? Or if it’s a minor accident do I need to report it?

Yes, you are required to report your car accident to your insurance company. This is not because of any “state” law, but your insurance contract with your vehicle insurer requires that you report a car accident very soon after the collision.

The reason for that is if the company is made aware of the accident, the sooner it can attempt to investigate or defend a claim. If you do not report the crash within a reasonable amount of time, your insurer may deny coverage. A reasonable amount of time may be a little as one or two days after the accident. It depends on the circumstances. For instance if you were seriously injured and hospitalized, it may take you some time to let the insurance company know about the crash and the outcome.

Even if your accident only resulted in minor injuries and very little damage to your vehicle and you do not think it is a reportable accident, it is best to still let your vehicle insurance company know to ensure your carrier provides coverage for the accident if you “do” need it later. Additionally, you need to connect with your insurance agent if you believe the other driver was at-fault for the collision and that you want to pursue an insurance claim. This is a wise course of action, as there may be benefits available to you via your own policy that you may need to access.

Just because you feel the other driver was the one who caused the accident, it does not mean that individual’s insurance company is going to agree. Remember, you need an insurance company to provide the authority for repairs to your vehicle. If they are disputing fault, they may not want to agree to the repairs. You might need to rent a vehicle. Both those scenarios may possibly involve your own insurance company paying for repairs and a rental vehicle. However, that can only happen if they are aware of the accident, so reporting it no matter how big or small is the best course of action.

The other situation where it becomes crucial to have reported the accident is in a situation where the other driver does not have “any” car insurance. In a case like that, you may be able to access compensation from you uninsured motorist coverage.

The other very important reason to alert you car insurance company is if you sustained injuries, no matter how minor you may think they are. Injuries sustained in a car accident often turn into more serious ones over time and if you do not let your insurance company know you were hurt, you may not be able to invoke your insurance coverage and you may not receive reimbursement for any medical, therapeutic or ER costs.

When in doubt, call your insurance agent.

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