Yes, a fender bender counts as an accident for insurance purposes. Most insurance policies require drivers to report any accident, including fender benders, and an at-fault fender bender will usually disqualify you from your insurer’s safe driver or good driver discount. The specific requirements for these discounts vary by company, but they usually require at least three years without an at-fault accident.
It’s important to treat a fender bender like any other accident for a few reasons. With the technology in cars steadily advancing, even a seemingly-small fender bender can result in expensive repairs. Similarly, injuries sometimes take a while to appear, leading to unexpected claims. By the way, these are also reasons why you should take photos and document evidence, as well as exchange names and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in a fender bender.
Plus, if you don’t report a fender bender to your insurance company, they will be caught off guard if you or another driver decide to file a claim down the road. Depending on the terms of your policy, the insurance company could even drop you for failing to report an accident. Keeping your insurer informed can help protect you if another driver makes a fraudulent claim in the future, too.
It’s also important to note that in most states, you are required to file a police report for any accident, including a fender bender, if the damage exceeds a certain dollar amount or if anyone is injured. Each state has a different threshold, though, and a few states only require police reports for serious accidents. However, since it’s hard for drivers to assess the cost of damage in the heat of the moment, reporting a fender bender is the safest choice.
Ultimately, the bottom line is that by taking a fender bender seriously, you can prevent missteps that could harm you and your finances in the future. For more information, check out the complete WalletHub guides to What to Do After a Car Accident and When & How to File a Claim.
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