How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident to Your Insurance?

If you’re involved in a car accident, you might instantly start to worry about all the things that you need to do, and all the steps you should be taking, in order to ensure you’re handling the situation as is required.

If you’re not gravely injured, and once you’re able to step out of the car and assess the situation, you’re going to have to face the consequences, whether you’re at fault or not, and start up a few processes.

One of the main things that need to be done, is to contact your car insurance to let them know. If you’re really shaken up by the accident, your nerves might cause you to forget to do as such.

And if so, how long do you have to report the accident to your insurance? Is there a time limit? What happens if you don’t report it? 

Let’s get into answering all of these questions! 

Do you have to report a car accident to your insurance?

First of all, we need to clarify whether or not you have to report a car accident to your insurance. To answer this, let’s look at two different scenarios: 

A car accident that has caused damage:

If the car accident that you’re involved in has resulted in either or both vehicles being damaged, then you 100% have to report it to your insurance company.

The insurance is there to provide you with the finance to repair your car after an accident, and it will cover the price of the other car’s repair in some cases too. 

Basically, whether you’re at fault or not, you need insurance to cover the legal process and to arrange who has to pay for what and then cover it. That’s why you’re paying for insurance in the first place!

Reporting the accident to your insurance will essentially begin the claim process, so that everything can be sorted out appropriately, as soon as possible. 

A car accident that has not caused damage:

Your insurance is in charge of covering the cost of damage done during a car accident, although the details of those covered costs can vary. But what if the accident has resulted in zero damage? Do you still need to report it to the insurance?

A lot of people will want to avoid reporting an accident to their insurance when possible, as it might cause the insurance to up your monthly charges. And if no damage has been done, then what’s the harm, right?

Well, you should still technically report the accident to your insurance company. Especially because the other party might still report it, and might even start a claim against you or try and sue you. If that happens and you haven’t informed your own insurance, you’re in big legal trouble.

If the accident is against a tree, or the fence around your own house, you can probably get away with not reporting it, as you’re the only one involved. But if others are involved, 100% report the accident.

How long do you have to report a car accident to your insurance?

Okay, so long story short, you have to report a car accident to your insurance, even if no claim is involved. They need to know, and you’re required to inform them. But how long do you have to report the accident? Is there a time limit?

You should always check the specifications and requirements of your own insurance company, as it might vary from one to another. But as a general rule, most insurances have a time frame of 24 hours during which you are required to report the accident.
If you report the accident after the time limit, or not at all, you might be facing some severe penalties, fines, or even legal action. So basically, make sure you do report the accident in time!

Most insurance companies will actually ask that you inform them straight away, while you’re still at the accident site. In fact, calling your insurance company should be one of the first things you do after checking whether you’re injured or not and checking on the state of the other party involved in the accident.

This is also the best way to ensure that you report the accident correctly, as they will guide you through all the information and details that you need, so that you may provide them then and there, while you still have access to the other person and the events are fresh in your memory.

How to report a car accident to your insurance:

How do you report a car accident to your insurance? The easiest way is to phone them, then and there, while you’re still at the site of the car accident. They will then guide you through the process, and remind you of all the details and information that you need to provide.

Nevertheless, just in case you do end up phoning your insurance a little later, here are the different details and information that you should collect and have ready to provide them:

Details of the other person involved in the car accident

You’re going to need the full contact details of the other person involved in the car accident, and these include:

  •  Full name and contact information
  • Their insurance company and number
  • Their driver’s license and plate number
  • The type of car they have: model and color included

Time and place of the accident

You’ll need to inform your insurance of the exact time the accident took place and the exact location.

A full description of what happened and how it happened

If you’re going to take a while to phone them, make sure you write everything down as it happened so that you don’t forget any important details. And don’t be scared about going into too much detail, more is better than less.

Photo evidence

It’s super helpful to take photos of the accident and of the cars, such as how they’re positioned, and close-ups of the damage. These photos can serve as evidence in your insurance claim.

Any other details

Any other information you think is relevant...provide it. Things such as what you said to the other party, or what was said to you. Whether there were any witnesses, and what they said, etc.

In Conclusion

To sum everything up, you will usually have up to 24 hours to report a car accident to your insurance company.

It is required that you inform them, even if no damage is caused by the accident. You also need to collect the necessary details and information so that you can report the accident correctly, and the insurance claim process is initiated without any issues.