Yes, you can file an insurance claim with no police report after a car accident. Having a police report is helpful and can simplify the claims process, but it’s not required to file or authorize a claim. Whether or not you are legally required to file a police report depends on your state’s laws, however.
In most states, you are required by law to file a police report if anyone is injured. You may also have to file a police report if property damage exceeds a certain amount, but the exact number varies greatly by state.
When You Don't Have to File a Police Report
You don’t have to call the police after an accident if no one was hurt, the damage was minor, and everyone involved is licensed, insured, and cooperative. In fact, the police can’t and won’t come to the scene of every accident. For example, you only need to contact the police after a minor fender bender if the other driver is uncooperative, uninsured, or intoxicated.
If you don’t file a police report right after a car accident, at least make sure to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, and photograph the damage to both vehicles as well as the full scene of the accident. Write down the date, time, and location of the accident, too, along with the weather and road conditions and a description of the vehicles involved.
You can always take this information to a police station to file an incident report if the police don’t come to the scene.
What happens if there is no police report for a car accident?
When a claim is filed after an accident, insurers want to know who was at fault so they can decide whose insurance will cover the damage. A police report is a detailed and official account of the accident that includes whether anyone was cited, eyewitness accounts, the officer’s opinion of how it happened, and any on-the-scene evidence – like the length of skid marks or the position of the wreckage on the road.
These details are useful when making an insurance claim, and a police report can make the process faster and easier. But not having one won’t bar you from being able to file a claim or lawsuit.
Reporting an Accident vs. Filing a Claim
Whether you decide to file a police report or not, it’s always in your best interest to report a car accident involving another driver to your insurance company. Making a report is not the same thing as filing a claim. Most insurance companies require you to report an accident as soon as possible, and failing to do so could give them an easy reason to deny your claim. The only time it is OK to skip reporting an accident to insurance is if it happens in your car, no one is injured, and only your own property is damaged.
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