It happens to nearly everyone at some point. You’re sitting at a red light and someone stops a little too slowly, bumping into the back of your car and jolting you forward. Even if you don’t notice significant damage or feel any signs of whiplash, it’s important to call your insurance company after an auto accident.
You Probably Agreed To Do So
Nearly every auto insurance policy you can purchase requires you to report any accident you have, regardless of how minor. If you don’t report an auto accident, you will likely be in violation of your contract. If your insurance company learns of the violation, it could charge you high penalty fees or drop you from the policy and deny providing you coverage in the future.
There May Be Damages or Injuries You Can’t See
Depending on the type of accident, you may not see damages or experience injuries right away. A fender bender may look like it’s only a few hundred dollars in damage, but if your car has parts that are harder to get, or if there is damage you can’t see under the bumper, you could be looking at thousands of dollars. Additionally, the adrenaline you feel pumping after an accident can sometimes make you feel as if you aren’t hurt when you are. You may find you have neck pain, back problems, or worse days or even weeks after your accident. Many times, police won’t respond to fender bender accidents. If you don’t report it to your insurance and need to file a claim down the line, the other driver could say the accident never happened.
The Other Driver May File a Claim
Even if you don’t think there’s a reason to file a claim, the other driver may disagree and file a claim with his or her insurance company. Even worse, he or she may not have coverage at all. If you don’t file a claim and you find out that you have an expensive repair, you won’t have the help you need to cover it. If you have underinsured auto coverage (you should!) and contact your agency immediately, you’ll have the coverage you need if repairs cost more than you expect.
Calling Your Insurance Company Is Not the Same as Filing a Claim
If you’re worried about calling your insurance company because of an increased premium, you can breathe easier. Reporting an accident is not the same as filing a claim on one, as a car accident lawyer like one from John K. Zaid & Associates can explain. Simply reporting one won’t raise your insurance premium but still gives you necessary protection in case something related to the accident occurs in the coming weeks that requires an official claim to be filed.
Filing a claim is also important in case you end up in court due to the other driver deciding to sue for some reason. If you find yourself with a court date, contact a reputable car accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible.