Car Accident:

Inform Your Insurance Company

It is advisable to promptly contact your insurance company after an auto accident. It is essential to be honest and open with the insurance company; clearly explain what happened, the extent of the auto accident damage, and any resulting injuries. If you lie and the insurance company finds out, there can be serious repercussions (such as denying you any coverage for the auto accident).

While it may seem either unwise or unnecessary to inform them, it is best that your auto insurance company hears your version and hears it first; it will probably differ from the other driver’s version, as related by his or her insurance company. It may seem convenient to settle the issue with the other driver, without contacting the insurance company, but there are many potential drawbacks. For example, if the other driver agrees to pay for the damages, but then sees the bill and decides that it is too expensive. At that point, it is difficult to file a claim because time has passed and the matter was not reported. Also, the other driver may change his or her mind and report the car accident or cite injuries in their auto accident claims  that were not present at the time of the accident. In this case, your failure to report the accident could lead to large settlements, premium hikes, and even lawsuits. Reporting auto accidents, even minor ones, is the much safer route.

Most state laws will protect you from a rate hike, provided the car accident was not your fault. You should be aware that even if you live in a no-fault state, this does not necessarily exempt you from paying the other driver’s medical bill. While his or her insurance company will pay the bill initially, they will then contact your insurance company looking for reimbursement if they have reason to believe the car accident was your fault. By being open yet assertive with your insurance company, you will build support for your case, force them to take you seriously, and be taking a strong measure to protect your rights.