Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

Full Bio →

Written by

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different insurance providers please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

The lowdown...

  • Car insurance is a contract between you and your auto insurance carrier
  • Under this contract, you are required to take certain actions such as reporting incidences, even if you do not intend to file a claim
  • If someone is making a claim on your car insurance without you knowing, it may be fraud
  • To file a claim, other parties must know your insurance carrier and policy number
  • This exchange of information is usually done after an accident

Car insurance serves a necessary purpose of helping pay for damages when they occur. While we are extremely thankful we have it when we need it, we also don’t want to break the bank trying to pay for auto insurance coverage.

If you need to find the best policy at the best price, consider using an online price comparison tool. We have one ready for you to use right here!

The Contract of Car Insurance


Auto insurance is a type of contract between you and your carrier. If one party in the contract does something to void the contract, the other party can be released from upholding their part of the duty.

This means if you do not abide by the rules of your auto insurance carrier, they can cancel your coverage or not pay on your claims.

Even though you may not want or need to file a claim for everything that happens with your vehicle, most drivers are contractually required to report any type of incident that could lead to them or another party filing a claim and requesting money from the insurance company.

Most auto insurance contracts state that this must be done within a reasonable amount of time, which usually means within the first couple of days after the occurrence.

The auto insurance company will likely obtain as much information as they can regarding the incident such as:

  • Your statement
  • Police reports
  • Statement from the other party
  • Witness statements

Whether or not a claim is made is up to you and up to the other parties involved, depending on the circumstances. Your insurance company will simply want to protect themselves by knowing about any occurrences, even if you do not intend to file a claim.

Compare Insurance Providers Rates to Save Up to 75%

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Filing a Claim


Being in an accident, even if it is minor, can be extremely stressful. You will want to report your accident and file your claim as soon as possible. Be sure to collect the following information from the other driver(s) whenever possible as this will be helpful in filing your claim:

  • Their driver’s license information
  • Their license plate and car registration information
  • Their insurance information, including their policy number and expiration date
  • The make, model, and year of their vehicle
  • Their name and contact information
  • Names of any passengers in their vehicle

If you are able, it can also be helpful to collect the names and contact information of any witnesses. You may also want to take pictures of the vehicles involved and the surroundings following the accident.

This will help you document the accident and give a better idea to the insurance adjuster as to what may have happened and who is at fault.

When you report the incident to your insurance company or file a claim, they will ask you several questions about what has happened and the condition of the people and vehicles involved.

You will then be assigned an insurance adjustor who will be your point of contact regarding your claim.

At this time you should ask your insurance agent what kind of records you will need to keep and what documentation they will need from you. They will likely ask for a police report and for you to complete a proof of claim form.

You may also want to discuss what type of coverages you have and how your claims will fall within your available coverages. Other questions you may want to ask include:

  • Do I have rental car coverage and if so, how much?
  • Do I need to obtain estimates to get my vehicle repaired
  • When can I expect you or the insurance adjuster to contact me next?
  • Is there a time limit for submitting additional information regarding the accident?
  • Are claims disputes barred by a time limit?
  • Is there a time limit for submitting relate bills and filing claims?

Free Insurance Providers Comparison

Compare Insurance Providers Rates to Save Up to 75%

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can somebody claim on my car insurance without me knowing?

In most circumstances, the answer is no. It would be highly unlikely for someone to file a claim on your car insurance without you at least knowing that it was a possibility beforehand.

For someone to file a claim on your insurance policy they would need your insurance information such as which insurance carrier you have and your policy number.

If you are in an accident and exchange insurance information with another party, they may file a claim on your insurance policy without speaking to you further.

However, your auto insurance company should call you to discuss your involvement in the accident and verify what has happened.

Filing a claim on an insurance policy based on false pretenses is insurance fraud.

If you suspect someone has filed a false claim on your insurance policy, you need to contact your insurance company immediately. Although rare, some drivers have had the unfortunate experience of having this happen to them.

Types of Insurance Coverage


Drivers should be familiar with the types of coverages they have on their auto insurance policies. This will help them to know what may or may not be covered when and if they need to file a claim. The most common coverage types include:


This coverage is the minimum type required by law in most states. Liability only covers damages that you cause to others, it does not cover your own damages. Bodily injury liability covers medical expenses and funeral expenses.

Property damage liability pays for expenses to repair or replace other people’s property such as their vehicle or structure.


Even though auto insurance is legally required in nearly all states, some drivers still choose not to obey the law. If you are in an accident with another party that is not insured, your own uninsured motorist coverage will pick up the expenses up to your policy limits.

This also applies if you are hit by a hit-and-run driver. Underinsured motorist coverage will pick up the tab where another party’s insurance coverage leaves off when their limits are exhausted. Some states legally require drivers to obtain uninsured motorist coverage.

Medical Payments/PIP

Personal injury protection, also known as PIP or med pay, can be used no matter who is at fault. It will pay for your own medical expenses, lost wages, and even for hiring help, such as child care, or housekeeping services, around the house due to your injuries.


If you are in an accident, your own collision coverage will come into play. Although not legally required, this coverage is wise to have. In fact, it can be contractually required if you lease or finance your vehicle.

With collision, you choose your coverage amount and a deductible amount.


Similar to collision coverage in that you select your deductible and coverage amounts, collision is also usually required for drivers who lease or finance their car.

However, it covers other events besides an accident, such as flooding, a fire, hitting wildlife, natural disasters, theft, and vandalism.

Rental Car Reimbursement

In the event that your car is being assessed for damages or repaired, you may be without a vehicle for at least a few days. Rental car coverage will help pay for a rental car up to a certain dollar amount per day for a certain number of days.

If you rely heavily on your vehicle for transportation, you may want to consider this type of coverage.

Knowing as much as you can about your insurance policy, your elected coverage types, and what happens if you need to file a claim will make you an informed consumer who is well-equipped to handle whatever may happen.

To find the best policy for you at the best price, consider using our price comparison tool online.