Getting involved in a car accident is an unpleasant affair irrespective of whether it happens when you are commuting to your workplace, driving home with your family members, or running errands. Regardless of who is at fault, it is imperative to take care of some things and promptly.
Your priority should appropriate medical attention if either you or the other passengers succumb to severe injuries. However, one important question to ask in such a scenario is within what time you should report your car accident to the insurance company, or whether it's even essential to do so.
The answer to this question is that the accident should be reported by you as quickly as possible, sometimes even while you are at the scene of the crash.
Many insurance companies specify a deadline of 24-hours from the time the accident occurred for reporting. In case the accident involved a single vehicle, and you are uncertain whether to call your insurer or nor, it is better to go through your policy document properly and then make an informed move after getting back home. However, the sooner, you tell your insurance company, the better is it for you.
Several insurers need their policyholders to file claims within a certain time after the occurrence of the car accident. However, such limits are usually not made public and can be unique to each policy. In case you are uncertain, you can get in touch with your insurance agent.
While there are various instances where you may not wish to report your car accident at all, these are rare. For example, when you scraped the door of your car against a beam while parking it, you might not want to report the damage when the estimated repair cost is less than or equal to the insurance deductible.
Plus, your insurance company can decide to increase your premium rates after getting such a report, particularly when there are prior claims while the premium increases are unpredictable.
You need only to remember that you are accountable for damages caused to the property of another when you were at fault, even when it was a single-vehicle accident. In most cases, you need to still report to your insurance company after the accident occurred.
You may also want to get in touch with your insurer even when the accident was not your fault. You also need to file a 3rd-party claim with the insurer of the other driver.
Also, when you are involved in a car accident, you should be present at the scene of the accident for a reasonable period. You are also required legally to give your vehicle registration number, address, and name to any person with reasons for needing them.
In case you do not change these details at the car accident scene due to whatever reasons, you should inform the police. However, if you have given these details to the other driver and there were no injuries in the clash, there is no obligation to report the police.
In case you fail to stop after the accident took place and report the same, you can be penalized by a prison term of up to 6 months and a significant fine.
When you do not inform about the car accident to your insurance company or you report the accident too late, your insurer can cancel your insurance policy. They can even disagree to provide you with coverage in the future.