Your car insurance is designed to financially protect you in the event of an accident.
If you hit someone else’s property or vehicle, you should always call the police to report the accident and your insurance company, even if you do not plan on filing a claim.
If you are worried about whether or not you’ll be covered in the event of a car accident, you can use a comparison tool to find better coverage.
Reasons You May Not Want to Call Your Insurance Company After an Accident
When drivers get into car accidents, they are in shock, afraid, anxious and confused. These emotions and mental states can lead drivers to make the wrong decision when it comes to properly handling their car accident. Unfortunately, there are very few valid reasons for not calling your insurance company.
- You were drunk, high, or otherwise impaired – If you are arrested and convicted of a DUI or driving while impaired, your insurance company will be notified. It’s best if you call your insurance company first.
- You’ve had several accidents over the past few years – Calling your insurance company to tell them about the accident is not the same as filing a claim. In this instance, you are being proactive, especially if another driver and insurance company are involved.
- You fear an auto insurance premium increase or can’t afford an increase – This depends on your insurance policy and your insurance company. When you call to notify them of the accident, you can also discuss potential rate increases.
If you do call your insurance company and/or file a claim, and they raise your rates, you are under no obligation to continue your business relationship. You only have to maintain continuous coverage on your vehicle, which means you are free to switch insurance companies.
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Determining if You Should Call Your Insurance Company
You should call your insurance company if:
- The damage was more than your deductible
- Someone else’s property was damaged
- At least one other car was involved
The reason you should notify your insurance company if you are in a car accident that involved more than just yourself and your property is that you cannot predict other people’s behavior.
The other driver may tell you they are fine and that you can leave the scene and forget about the accident, but they may choose to call their insurance company at a later date.
You may not need to call you insurance company if:
- You damaged your own property while driving your vehicle
- It was a single car accident and the damage is less than your deductible or you only have liability coverage
- You were not injured in the single-car accident or accident on your own personal property
If no one else was involved in the accident and only your car and/or property was damaged, you can choose to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket and forego contacting your insurance company.
However, if you have collision insurance and the damage was more than your deductible, you may want to call your insurance company and file a claim to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
Exercise Caution After a Car Accident
To make sure you are covered, you should always notify your car insurance company after an accident or incident. This alerts them to the fact that you have been involved in an accident and allows them to prepare in the event that you or another driver files a claim.
If your insurance carrier does opt to raise your rates after you call, you are free to shop around and find a cheaper insurance policy with a different carrier.