When do you report an accident, when don’t you, and what are the consequences? Below are some valuable guidelines to know about.
Reporting an accident under $1,000
Police Reporting: You are not required to report an accident to the police if the total damage is under $1,000. This $1,000 limit includes the damage of both vehicles. The exceptions are that you must report all accidents where anyone has sustained an injury, no matter how minor or where there has been damage done to property, such as telephone poles, guard rails or personal property including someone’s lawn.
Insurance Company Reporting: Your insurance policy states that you are required to report all accidents, regardless of the amount of damage. Even if you pay for the accident yourself, and you are either at-fault or partially at-fault, the accident will count against you. Insurance companies base their rates on "risk" regardless of who pays for the accident. In practice, however, all bets are off. Most people today report accidents where they want the insurance company to pay for the damages. The wild card is always with the other driver reporting injuries or damage to their insurance company.
Beware:There is always a risk that the police can charge you with leaving the scene, if the other driver reports the accident. If you let the police know of the accident you can not be charged with leaving the scene. Which is a serious conviction, that could leave your insurance rates skyrocketing. Don’t worry, the police won’t automatically contact your insurance company.
Reporting an accident over $1,000
Police Reporting: By law, you are required to report an accident if the damage is over $1,000. In other words, if one vehicle had $500 damage and the other vehicle had $501 damage you are required to report it to the police or a Collision Reporting Centre.
Insurance Company Reporting:If you don’t report it, and the other driver does, their insurance company will contact your insurance company, so your own insurance company will find out about it. Regardless if you were at-fault or not at fault and didn’t report the accident to your insurance company they "could" cancel your policy or not renew your policy. If you are not at-fault it will not count against you and your insurance rate will not increase.
What about collisions that occur on private property, like parking lots? If you have an accident on private property, then police do not come to the scene unless there are injuries or property damage. These accidents are considered by insurance companies to be 50/50, meaning each driver is considered to be 50% at fault. In this case, you might want to consider sharing payment of the damages.
Do the driver’s covered under my insurance policy, who have accidents, effect my rate? Drivers, who are covered under your insurance policy, if they have an accident, and they are at-fault or partially at-fault, will cause your rate to increase. If they go off your policy, their accident stays on your insurance claims history for 6 years.
When does your insurance company find out about accidents? Your insurance company could find out about your accident, by another driver reporting the accident to their insurance company. If the accident was reported to a Collision Reporting Centre, they automatically advise your insurance company, but you can request them NOT to report it, and they won’t. If a Police Report has been done then either driver can request a copy of the report at no cost and can use the report to file a claim with their insurance company. The police do NOT send out these reports automatically to your insurance company.