Do You Have to Tell Your Insurance About a Fender Bender?

Have you ever been involved in a minor car accident and wondered what you should do? Maybe you were rear-ended at a stop light or sideswiped in a parking lot. These types of accidents are called fender benders, and they usually result in minor damage to your vehicle. If the damage is only cosmetic, like a scratched bumper or a cracked taillight, you may be tempted to just pay for the repairs yourself and not involve your insurance company. After all, it’s just a little bit of damage and your rates won’t go up, right?

Wrong. Even if the damage seems minor, you should always notify your insurance
company about any accidents you’re involved in. Here’s why:

You May Need to File a Police Report

In some states, you’re required to file a police report if there’s any damage to either vehicle involved in the accident. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance or if they flee the scene, you’ll need to file a report in order to make a claim on your uninsured motorist coverage.

The Damage May Be More Extensive Than You Think

Even if the damage looks minor, it could be more extensive than you realize. For example, a small dent in your fender could mean that your wheel is out of alignment. And if your taillight is cracked, water could get in and cause electrical problems. It’s always best to take your car to a reputable auto-body shop to have it inspected after an accident.

You May Need a Rental Car

If your vehicle is damaged in an accident, you may need to rent a car while it’s being repaired. If you have rental car reimbursement coverage on your auto insurance policy, your insurer will pay for the cost of the rental. But they won’t do so if you don’t notify them of the accident.

Your Rates Could Go Up

Even if you’re not at fault for the accident, your rates could still go up. That’s because insurers often raise rates for all policyholders in an area after paying out claims for accidents in that area. So, if you’re in an accident and don’t notify your insurer, you could be paying more for your car insurance than you need to.

You Could Be Sued

If you’re involved in an accident and the other driver is injured, they may decide to sue you. If they win their case, your insurance company will have to pay out the settlement. But if you don’t have enough liability coverage, your personal assets could be at risk. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have adequate liability coverage on your auto insurance policy.

You Could Be Denied Coverage

If you don’t notify your insurance company about an accident and then try to file a claim, your insurer could deny your claim. That’s because you violated the terms of your policy by not reporting the accident. So, if you want to protect yourself and your vehicle, always notify your auto insurer after an accident, even if it seems like a minor fender bender.

As you can see, there are many good reasons to notify your insurance company about any accidents you’re involved in, even if the damage seems minor. So, the next time you’re in a fender bender, don’t try to hide it from your insurer. Doing so could end up costing you a lot of money in the long run.

Chris Turn