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Should I report my car accident to my insurance company and is that the same as filing a claim?

If you were injured in an auto crash, you may not see the reason to notify your insurance company of your accident, especially if you are making a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. However, even if you do not plan to file a claim with your insurance company, there was no damage to your vehicle, or you do not believe you were injured, you want to report your accident. If you fail to do so, you could later regret your decision.

Why You Want to Report Your Auto Accident to Your Insurance Company

Aftermath of a Car WreckThere is a difference between reporting your crash and filing a claim. Reporting your accident is simply notifying your insurance company that an accident occurred, not filing a claim to receive coverage for your property damages or injuries. You want to report your accident as soon as possible after it occurs. Here are reasons why it is important to do this:

  • Meeting contract requirements. Your insurance policy is a contract between the insurance company and you. It could require you to report your accident whether or not you are making a claim and will have a strict deadline to give notice. If you fail to follow your contract requirements within the time period specified, you could lose your right to insurance coverage if you later need to file a claim.
  • Authorizing repairs to your vehicle. Even if you file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company, you may decide that it is quicker to pursue a claim for your car repairs and a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop with your own insurance company. If the other driver’s company is disputing your claim, it could take months or longer to negotiate a settlement. If you did not promptly report your claim in a timely manner, you could be denied coverage under your insurance policy.
  • Making a claim under your policy. Even if the other driver claims he has insurance, you may discover once you file your claim that his insurance policy has been cancelled or that he has insufficient coverage to provide you with the full compensation you deserve. If you reported the crash to your insurance company, you can file a claim for benefits under your underinsured or uninsured insurance coverage—if you purchased this type of insurance.

If you were injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, start an online chat today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with David Brauns.

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