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Many people live by the rule that nothing should ever be reported to the auto insurance company ever lest the premiums go up or the insurance company decides to stop covering you and your family. While no one wants their insurance premiums to go up, there are times when reporting a small accident – even one without injuries – is a good idea.
In cases where two parties are involved, it is always best to call the police, report the accident, and act as if the damage looks worse than it is.
The first reason for this is that it protects you from future liability. If after you leave the scene of the accident and, the other party takes you to court, you will have no evidence to protect yourself if the other party fails to tell the truth.
The second reason to report an accident with another party is that what looks minor at first could always end up being worse than initially thought. Injuries like whiplash are often dismissed at the time of the accident and can grow much worse over time. The same is true with vehicles. What may look like a simple dent could actually be covering damage to the internal workings of your automobile.
Finally, if you fail to report an accident to your insurance company immediately, as required by your insurance policy, the insurance company may deny your claim. Secondly, the insurance company may deny your claim because the evidence needed for the insurance company to investigate your claim is long gone.
Imagine that your spouse scrapes your new van against a pole in a parking garage or your daughter backs your truck, tailgate down, into your closed garage door. You are under no obligation to report these accidents to the police or your insurance company. You have three options.
- Do nothing. If you can live with the damage, and the car is still drivable and safe you may leave the vehicle as it is and drive it around in all of its scarred glory.
- Have the damage fixed, but do not use your insurance to cover the cost. Most repair shops will be familiar with situations like this. They can use used parts to keep your costs low.
- Report the damage to your insurance company. If the damage to your vehicle and property is bad enough that you cannot afford to have it repaired without your insurance company’s help you will have to balance the cost of the deductible and any increase in premiums against the cost of the previous two options.
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