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Automobile accidents and their aftermath may be stressful. But calling your insurance is an essential step in the process. You may also need to act quickly, since many insurers have ambiguous accident reporting procedures.
Here’s what you need to know about accident reporting deadlines:
How quickly must I report an accident to my insurance provider?
The majority of automobile insurers do not have a specific timeframe for reporting an accident. Instead, they urge policyholders to swiftly report incidents. Progressive suggests that you “shouldn’t wait notifying your insurance,” but Geico advises “immediately” reporting.
States, on the other hand, have specific due dates. First, you may be subject to filing deadlines with your state’s department (or bureau) of motor vehicles. In California, for instance, you must report an accident within 10 days if someone is hurt or killed, or if damages exceed $1,000.
States also have limits periods that govern when you may (and cannot) submit a claim for an accident. The statute of limitations in Texas is two years, so you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim for damages or injuries. Whether this pertains to your accident, you should check with a local attorney to see if this is the case in your state.
Reasons to delay filing a report after an accident
Insurers encourage you to report your accident as soon as possible, but you do not have to contact right after the incident. In some instances, you may wish to wait a few days.
For example, if you are submitting a police report, you may have excellent cause to postpone reporting the accident. A police report may expedite the claims procedure and offer crucial event facts.
Additionally, you may choose to wait a few days to see whether any injuries manifest. Just be sure to submit a police report first, since proof that the collision caused the injuries is essential.
Am I have to get a police report prior to reporting my accident?
You are not need to get a police report before reporting the accident to your insurance or filing a claim. However, you may want to.
Police reports provide your insurance with an official record of the date and circumstances of the accident. In addition, they provide vital information such as the location of the incident, the names and contact information of the persons involved, the kinds of vehicles involved, and information regarding the damages.
Having a police record may also expedite claim processing, resulting in faster reimbursement if another motorist is responsible for your losses.
How do I report a vehicle accident to my insurance provider?
Depending on your insurer, you may need to phone your insurance agent or, if your insurer offers a mobile app, log onto it.
When making contact, ensure you have the following information available:
- Names of others involved in the accident
- Date and time of the accident
- Address or cross streets where the accident occurred
- Name and badge number of the police officer on the scene
- Names of any witnesses
Your insurance may also request that you transmit or upload images of the accident if you have them.
Compared to making a claim, reporting an automobile accident is less involved.
Reporting an accident and submitting a claim for it are two distinct actions.
When you report an accident, you just inform the police or your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles that it happened.
In contrast, filing a claim involves requesting compensation from your insurance company for property damage or injuries experienced in the accident.
What to do after a car crash?
To safeguard your safety and to prepare for making a claim, it is essential to take the proper actions following a vehicle accident. Here are the steps to take after an automobile accident:
Examine any injuries and exit the highway (if possible)- Call 911 and wait for an ambulance if you or someone else is hurt. If you can safely pull your car out of traffic, you should do so.
Call the cops- Even after a small collision, it is advisable to contact the authorities. However, it is particularly necessary to inform the authorities if there were injuries or deaths, or if you are unable to move your cars. Call the police if the motorist flees the scene, has no insurance, or looks to be inebriated.
Get information from the opposing motorist (s)- Obtain the names of all drivers and passengers, as well as their contact information, insurance company, and policy number.
Take photographs and notes- Notate the accident’s location, the time and date it happened, the weather conditions, and any other pertinent information. Take many photographs from various angles to document any car damage.
Collect information from witnesses- Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. The police or your insurance company may need to contact them.
You are not required to contact your insurance company at the scene, but you should do so quickly afterwards, especially if you want to file a claim for damages.
When to seek legal counsel after a vehicle crash
In certain instances, you may choose to include an attorney in your car accident claim. An attorney may strive to ensure that you obtain the compensation you deserve for your medical expenditures, misery, and suffering if you have sustained significant injuries, for instance. If the other motorist disputes who caused the collision, a lawyer may potentially be able to assist.
Additionally, an attorney may help you if you do not feel confident managing the claims procedure or if you just want to verify that everything is done accurately and efficiently. They will lead the claims process, negotiate with insurers, collect evidence, and interact with the other party’s insurance and legal counsel.
Consider scheduling an initial appointment with a few local lawyers if you’re uncertain as to whether you need legal assistance. Many provide free consultations and operate on a contingency basis, which means they are only compensated if you win.
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