Almost everyone has been in either a small time collision or had a door ding and wondered if they should report these things to their insurance company. Because every little incident is different, the answer may change. However, you should read your actual policy to see if you have a duty to report such claims. Most insurance policies have a provision that requires you to report every accident, even if it was not your fault. If you don’t, they may not cover you in that claim or future claims for failing to follow your policy. So, the safe advise is to always report a claim, no matter how small. Your deductible should not rise at all for non-fault claims, and claims where you are not seeking to utilize your deductible.
In most door ding cases, chances are that you will not report it to your company unless you can’t find the responsible person or their insurance. More common is when someone is involved in a low speed collision and initially believes that they are physically OK, and their car has only minor damage. This is where you need to be careful. Just because someone has an insurance card in their car does not mean their insurance is active. People cancel insurance all the time, so you need to make sure you get all their information. Often in low speed collisions, symptoms of physical injury will not appear until hours or even days after the crash. And if you have not reported your accident to your company, you may be in trouble.
You also may have coverages that you can utilize from your own policy that you are not aware of such as: Free Rental Car, Medical Payments Coverage, and excess coverage (underinsured motorist) that all protect you and make life easier. So, the next time you are in a fender bender, go ahead and call your agent or claims office to report it to make sure the insurance your paying for, actually helps you.
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.