Regardless of fault, you should still call your insurance company after a car accident. There are multiple reasons why you should do this, and they all benefit you as an insurance policyholder.
Failing to contact your insurer after a car accident could mean losing out on insurance benefits you are entitled to, getting higher premiums, or worse, losing your coverage altogether. It’s important to seek advice from a car accident lawyer as they can help you navigate the legal complexities of your situation and ensure that you receive the full compensation you deserve. Even if it’s not your fault that you were in a car accident, you should call your insurance company and your car accident lawyer to inform them of the collision.
Your Insurer May Take Action Against You if You Do Not Call Them
The primary reason for you to contact your insurer after a car crash is that you are contractually obligated to do so. You may not realize that your insurance policy is a contract between you, the policyholder, and the insurance company. When you signed up and paid for coverage for the first time, you agreed that you would abide by the terms of the policy in exchange for the service the insurance agency provides.
When you purchase an insurance policy, you agree to its conditions and pay a monthly fee. Generally, one of these conditions is that you inform the insurance company of any collision you are involved in.
If you do not notify your insurer, the company may choose to:
- Raise your premiums
- Deny your car accident claim
- Cancel your insurance policy
The actions your insurer takes will depend on what it stipulates in your policy. It may be best to read over the policy when you choose your coverage and after you are in a car accident to be aware of what your insurance company expects of you.
Car accidents can raise your insurance premiums if you are at fault for the crash. When you’re at fault, the insurance company believes you pose a greater risk of getting into car crashes. It’s possible that your insurance rates will increase every time you cause an accident.
Even if you were in an accident that was not your fault, your insurance company could raise your premium if you do not contact them. If you hide the accident with no official determination of fault, the insurer may presume you were at fault and raise your fee accordingly. You should clear up the details of the accident with your insurance company to avoid any misunderstanding.
In other scenarios, the insurer may not tolerate the lack of compliance with its terms and choose to terminate your policy. The best thing to do is avoid the possibility of termination by reporting the accident in a timely manner.
If you don’t report the accident in the window of time the insurer allows, you may have your coverage denied when you attempt to make a claim later. Your insurer may require you to notify them of the crash in 30 days. If you file a claim after 30 days, the insurer may deny your claim and you’ll be left paying out-of-pocket for your own damages.
All told, your insurance company may find out about the accident on its own anyway and penalize you for it. You may be able to avoid facing penalties from the insurance company by reaching out to them as soon as you can after the wreck.
You Cannot Claim Benefits Under Your Policy Without Contacting the Insurer
You cannot receive the benefits of your policy if you do not file a claim with your insurer. You don’t need to file a claim in order to notify the insurer of an accident, but you need to notify the insurance company in order to file a claim. If you don’t contact your insurance company, you may miss out on key first-party benefits you are paying for that could help you after a car accident, such as:
Collision coverage pays for any damage to your motor vehicle that results from a crash involving another vehicle or object. If you are waiting for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to own up to liability, you may want to get your vehicle repaired or replaced in the meantime. You can do so under your collision coverage.
If your vehicle was damaged due to forces outside of a collision, such as inclement weather, a fire, theft, vandalism, or falling objects, you can file a claim under your comprehensive coverage.
Roadside assistance provides help in the event that your vehicle breaks down. Things like battery jumps, a tow truck, and flat tires are covered under this type of insurance.
If you have med pay insurance, your medical expenses for common types of car accident injuries will be covered up to the policy limits.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection
Many drivers take the risk of driving without car insurance. If you are hit by one of these drivers, you will not have the ability to recover damages from their insurer. That’s where uninsured/underinsured motorist protection is beneficial. It covers your losses in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver or in a hit-and-run.
Rental Car Reimbursement
If you are left without transportation, your rental car reimbursement coverage will pay for a rental for a period of time while you wait for your vehicle to be repaired.
You May Have to Wait Longer to Cover Accident-Related Expenses if You Don’t File a Claim With Your Insurance
Without contacting your insurance agency after the car crash, you won’t be able to receive the benefits of coverage you pay for each month. Moreover, even if you are entitled to damages from the other driver in your car accident, filing a claim with your applicable insurance coverage could result in much quicker payouts for accident-related expenses.
You may not have to wait as long to make car repairs or cover your medical expenses. Filing a third-party claim or lawsuit against the other driver could take longer to resolve, leaving you stuck in limbo when it comes to covering necessary expenses without using your insurance benefits.
How Long Do I Have to Notify My Insurer of a Car Crash?
The time you have to notify your insurance agency of the car crash may vary. If you do have a time limit, your policy will likely indicate what it is. Alternatively, you can call your insurer and find out any time constraints it puts on reporting the accident.
Other Deadlines You Should Know About After an Accident
You may or may not have a deadline to notify your car insurance company of a collision, but there are other deadlines you need to consider. If you believe the other driver was at-fault for the crash and plan to file a lawsuit against them, you must act fast. Each state limits the amount of time accident victims have to file a lawsuit.
The statute of limitations imposes a deadline on how long you have to file a case in civil court for personal injury. Many states give you a couple of years after an accident to file, but this time may pass by quickly. Your state may also allow exceptions to the legal deadline, but it all depends on the circumstances of your case.
In general, you may want to contact a car accident lawyer to find out how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit based on the specifics of your case. If you don’t meet the statute of limitations, the liable party will likely not be responsible for paying your damages. Outside of the legal deadline, the state will probably not enforce your right to recover compensation unless you have a valid exception.
You May Want to Call a Lawyer Before You Call Your Insurer
Before you call your insurance company, you may want to speak to an accident lawyer. An injury lawyer can advise you of the steps you need to take following a collision. They can also inform you of the best way to contact your insurance company and the information you should provide. Your insurance company may ask you for a recorded statement, and a lawyer can help prepare you for this phone call.
Further, your lawyer can help you file a claim for the benefits under your policy. You may need help gathering documentation of your losses, such as photos of the car damage. You may also need assistance securing an accurate valuation of the costs you’ve incurred due to the crash, like car repair or replacement estimates.
You’ll need to supply this information to the insurance company. An attorney can help you retrieve the necessary information, records, and documentation to prove the amount of money you are entitled to receive from your insurance company.
Do I Need a Lawyer if the Car Accident Wasn’t My Fault?
You might find that working with a lawyer makes the aftermath of an accident less stressful. Not only can they assist you with filing a claim for insurance benefits, but they can also help you if you’ve already filed the claim on your own.
If you’ve already started a claim with your insurer, you may still want hire an attorney after a car accident if:
- Your insurer denied your claim
- Your insurer offers you less money than you expected or believe you are entitled to
- Your insurer is taking longer than expected to respond or settle your claim
A personal injury lawyer can find out why your claim was denied, devalued, or delayed by your insurance company. They can then work to prove your losses, supply the right evidence to the insurer, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. If your claim is taking an unreasonable amount of time to settle, a lawyer can hold the insurer accountable under the insurance laws of your state.
The Benefits of Speaking to a Lawyer Before You File an Insurance Claim
When it comes to filing a claim against the at-fault driver, you may want to speak to a lawyer before communicating with their insurance company. The other driver’s insurer will likely try to contact you soon after the accident in hopes that you haven’t retained legal counsel yet. Some of the benefits of working with a lawyer include:
They Can Advise You About Recorded Statements
You do not have to speak with the liable party’s insurance company or provide a recorded statement. You have no legal or contractual obligation to give a recorded statement to a third-party insurer.
An attorney can handle this communication on your behalf. The insurer may use the information they gain through this statement against you later if they can. Your car accident attorney can prepare you for any recorded statements or even help you submit a written statement instead.
They Can Help You Avoid Low Settlement Offers
The insurance company may offer you a low settlement, believing you’ll take any money you can get. Your lawyer can fight for your right to receive fair compensation from the liable party. If your claim was denied, undervalued, or unnecessarily delayed, your lawyer can help you navigate the process of pursuing compensation.
Your auto accident lawyer can build a strong case from the start and file a lawsuit against the opposing party if it is necessary before the statute of limitations expires.
You Need to Call Your Insurance After an Accident, But You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
There are not many good reasons to avoid calling your insurance company after a car accident. You are likely contractually obligated to speak with your insurer after the crash. Also, you’ll want to speak with your insurer to access the benefits of the policy you purchased. A personal injury lawyer in Augusta could help you make this call, and they can assist you in your pursuit of compensation.
If an insurance claim does not provide all the money you need after an accident, you could file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of an attorney, as well.