You should consider filing an insurance claim for a fender bender if the damages or medical bills incurred as a result are higher than your deductible and you can't afford to pay out of pocket for them. Filing a claim with your insurance will usually result in increased insurance rates, especially if you have filed claims in the past.
That being said, you should always report a fender bender to your insurance company. Reporting an accident does not equate to filing a claim, and if the other driver decides to seek compensation from your insurance for the accident and you have not reported it, your insurance company could even decide to drop your policy.
Yes, you should call your insurance company after a minor accident. You should contact your insurer anytime you’re in an accident involving another driver, but it’s even more important to call promptly if the accident resulted in property damage or injuries. The only time it might be worth skipping a call to your car insurance company is if you damaged only your own car, there are no injuries, and property damage is minimal.… read full answer
There are two big reasons you should always call your car insurance company if you get into an accident involving another driver, even a minor accident:
1. You might want to file a claim
Even if the accident seems minor at the scene, you might decide later that you want or need to file a claim. Accident-related injuries like whiplash can have delayed symptoms that don’t show up right away, for example. Or, maybe a dent or scratch doesn’t bother you at first, but when you find out the impact on resale value, you change your mind.
2. The other driver might file a claim
A handshake agreement at the scene doesn’t prevent the other driver from filing a claim against your policy. Your insurance company is there to help defend you, either with the other driver’s insurer or in court.
If you don’t report an accident right away, your insurance company may be able to deny any claims you file and won’t represent you in a claim or lawsuit, leaving you to pay out of pocket. Your insurance company can say your delay in reporting resulted in them being unable to properly investigate your claim, so they are no longer obligated to cover you.
Yes, you have to report an accident to insurance. You should report any accident to your car insurance provider as soon as possible because virtually every major auto insurance company in the U.S. requires policyholders to report all accidents in a timely manner. Still, it’s important to remember that reporting an accident to your insurance provider is not the same thing as filing an … read full answerinsurance claim, which could result in a rate increase, unlike a simple notification.
Sometimes, drivers involved in minor accidents want to avoid reporting them to their insurance providers to avoid rate increases, and because they believe they can handle any fallout from the incident themselves. However, this line of thinking is a mistake. Failing to report an accident to your insurance provider could result in claims stemming from the accident being denied since it wasn’t recorded properly. Plus, you could face fines from your insurance provider or lose your policy altogether.
So, whether the accident you were in was just a minor fender bender or a more serious incident, you should report it to your insurance provider from the scene, once you get home, or from the hospital, should you need medical attention. Even if you weren’t at fault, you should report the accident so that if you need to file a claim to cover repairs or medical bills, your provider won’t have grounds to deny it.
The only exception to this rule is if a minor accident that injures no one happens in a vehicle you own outright, on your property, and you don’t intend on making a claim with your insurance company to cover repair costs. In this case, there’s no dispute about who’s at fault for the accident or who’s responsible for paying for damages.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines. This question was posted by WalletHub.
Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.
Ad Disclosure: Certain offers that appear on this site originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on an offer’s details page using the designation "Sponsored", where applicable. Advertising may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At WalletHub we try to present a wide array of offers, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products.