States vary on the timeframe for when an accident report should be filed. Georgia and Michigan for example require you to file a report immediately, while other states like Minnesota allow for 10 days after the crash. Alabama and will give you 30 days while someone living in Oklahoma can have up to 6 months to report an accident with the police. A minimum property damage threshold might also need to be met when considering whether you need to file a police report, which is why you should always check local state laws when it comes to requirements for reporting an accident.
Some states don't require you to file a police report at all if no one was injured. However, you should always report an accident to your insurance company, as it can lead to your insurance dropping you if the other driver seeks damages for an accident you failed to report.
Yes. Your State (and likely insurance carrier) most likely require it. A common threshold for filing a police report is if there is $1,000 or more in damage; if anybody is injured in any way; and/or, if any property was damaged, regardless of amount. Failing to report could cause you to be prosecuted and even being dropped by your carrier.
Finally, it just makes sense to report to your carrier: You never know the full extent of the damage, and it may manifest later. If you hadn’t reported, they’d likely deny the claim because they weren’t aware. This is another case where having a police report comes in handy because it documents, officially, what happened, when, where, etc.
You could have as little as 30 days to file a car insurance claim, or you could have months or even two to three years. Your policy probably states that you should report an accident or possible claim right away, but reporting an accident is different than filing a claim. After “promptly” reporting, you’ll have some time to file the official claim. Check your policy or contact your insurer directly for exact deadlines.… read full answer
If you intend to file a claim in court, you typically have two to three years after the accident to pursue damages in a lawsuit. Each state has its own statute of limitations for filing a claim in court, and deadlines can be different for personal injury and property damage claims. State laws range from one to six years, but two to three is most common.
Why is there a time limit on car insurance claims?
Time limits are in place to protect the insurance company’s ability to investigate a claim. Your insurer will collect a lot of information about the accident, including witness statements, police reports, photos of damage, medical and auto repair bills, and more. The insurance company may also send an adjuster to the scene of the accident or to inspect damaged property in person. As time goes on, evidence degrades and memories become foggy. Time limits make sure the accident can be thoroughly and accurately investigated.
There are reasons you may want to delay filing a claim, though. It may take weeks for the symptoms of certain injuries to show. You may also be getting treatments on a doctor’s schedule or want to seek a second medical opinion. Property damage is usually easier to see, but you may not find out about major problems with the alignment, suspension, or exhaust system until your car is in the shop weeks later. Since most insurers won’t allow you to file more than one claim per accident, it might be better to delay filing, so you don’t leave out something insurance would have covered.
While there are situations when it makes sense to wait, it’s almost always in your best interest to file a claim with your insurance company right away. The reality is the longer you wait, the more likely it is the insurance company will deny your claim. But you can still file a claim and even get it approved as long as your delay doesn’t prevent the insurer from investigating properly.
Drivers usually have 30 days to report a car accident to their insurance provider. Policies don’t always give a specific timeframe, though, and could simply state that a driver needs to report the accident “promptly.”
You should almost always report accidents to your insurance as soon as possible, since waiting too long could jeopardize a future claim or cause an at-fault driver to lose certain protections. There are certain situations where it might not be necessary, however.… read full answer
When You Can Skip Notifying Insurance (All Must Be True)
The accident happened with just your vehicle.
It was on your property.
There were no injuries involved.
The only damage was to your property.
Reporting a Car Accident vs. Filing a Claim
A common misconception is that reporting a car accident to insurance is the same as filing a claim. While filing a claim means you’re making a formal request to an insurance company for compensation, reporting an accident simply means you’re notifying your insurer that it happened.
In most cases, you’ll want to report an accident as soon as possible in order to get the claims process started. But even if you don’t initially plan on filing a claim, you should notify your insurance company just in case you discover additional damage or change your mind.
What Happens If You Delay Reporting a Car Accident?
If you wait too long to report your accident to insurance, it could cause problems down the road. For example, if you don’t initially report but realize later on that you need to file a claim, the insurance company has no way of knowing whether the damage is the result of the accident or something else that happened later. Or, if the accident was your fault and the other driver files a claim against you later on, your insurance company might deny you certain protections because you failed to promptly report.
Even if you don’t think you need to report the accident, it’s always in your best interest to do so. Many insurance companies have mobile apps and 24-hour hotlines to make the reporting process as quick and easy as possible. Also, keep in mind that even though you’re not legally obligated to notify your insurance company after a car accident, most states will require you to at least report it to the police if anyone is injured or if there is a certain amount of property damage.
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.
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