An Accident Report and Insurance Effects

Without an accident report, insurance companies may make filing a claim more difficult. After an accident, it’s normal to be confused and frightened, but you need to make sure you call the authorities to get a report filed so dealing with the aftermath won’t be as daunting.

Police Report
An accident report should be filed by your local police department as soon as the accident occurs. The police will generally respond, even if there are no injuries. The exceptions to this would be if the accident occurred on private property (such as a parking lot). In this case the police tend to only respond if there are injuries, or evidence of drug or alcohol use. Regardless, call the police department and request an officer respond. If they are unable to, the dispatcher will let you know.

If you can not get the police to come out, you can walk in to the police department and file a walk-in accident form. This will still help you with the insurance company, even though it won’t have all the information that an on scene report would have. It’s certainly better than nothing.

Insurance Report
Once everything at the scene has calmed down and the police have been dispatched, your next phone call should be to the insurance company. They can get a claim started for you right away. Rarely will they ask you to call back after you have all the information. This will notify the insurance company to expect a more formal report. Often times an insurance adjuster can meet you at the scene as well. Sometimes the adjuster will come out at a later date to survey the damage. You need to make sure you have the other parties insurance information as well, and you will need to make sure they are contacting their insurance company to report. If they don’t, you can always call their insurance company to file the report.

What to Expect
After the claim has been filed with the insurance company, several things can take place. An adjuster will want to see the damage. They may ask you to get an independent repair estimate. The driver of the other vehicle will also need to go through the same thing.

If you are found to be at fault for the accident, your insurance should cover the damage to the other parties vehicle. This will cause your rates to increase, generally for at least three years. If the other driver was found at fault then the same will be true in reverse. In a true accident where no one is at fault, the insurance company can handle it either way. In some cases you can expect to pay a deductible and see an increase in rates, and other cases the other parties insurance may pick up the damage.

No matter what or who caused the accident, filing both the police report and the insurance claim are important steps to getting back on track.
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