After Your Car Accident: Inform Your Insurance Company

Learn why it is important to get in touch with your insurance company soon after your car accident.

If you get into a car accident, you must let your insurance company know about it. Failing to promptly report the accident violates a requirement of your insurance policy and may allow your insurance company to void the policy altogether, leaving you without insurance coverage for your accident.

So, promptly notify your insurance company and cooperate with the claims representative. If requested, give your company a statement of what happened. If claims are made against you as a result of your accident, your insurance company will defend you. If you are sued, the company will provide a lawyer to represent you. If you settle or lose in court, they will pay, up to your policy limit.

No matter who caused the accident, you may have no fault claims under your own policy, such as a PIP claim or a medical payment claim, or have a collision damage claim for the repair of your vehicle. So, you want to contact your insurance company to start the ball rolling on these claims. (Learn more about different types of car insurance.) 

On the other hand, you should be very careful about talking to a representative of the other insurance company. In fact, the best advice might be: Don't  talk to the bad guys. Tell them politely but firmly that you're not ready to give a statement, but you will do so in the future, once you have a full understanding of the situation. And refer the representative to your attorney, if you have one.   

Oh, one more thing.  When you report your accident to your insurance company, try to do better than these actual accident reports:

"The guy was all over the place. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him."

"I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment."

"I had been driving for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident."


"An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my vehicle, and vanished."

"The accident occurred when I was attempting to bring my car out of a skid by steering it into the other vehicle."

"I was on my way to the doctor's with rear-end trouble when my universal joint gave way, causing me to have an accident."


"The telephone pole was approaching fast. I was attempting to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end."

"My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle."

"I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat I found that I had a fractured skull."


"I was thrown from the car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows."

"I thought my window was down, but I found out it was up when I put my head through it."

"When I saw I could not avoid a collision, I stepped on the gas and crashed into the other car."


"The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran him over."

"I saw the slow-moving, sad-faced old gentleman as he bounced off the hood of my car."

"Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don't have."


"The indirect cause of this accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth."

"I had been learning to drive with power steering. I turned the wheel to what I thought was enough and found myself in a different direction going the opposite way."

"No one was to blame for the accident, but it never would have happened if the other driver had been alert."


"I was taking my canary to the hospital. It got loose in the car and flew out the window. The next thing I saw was his rear end, and there was a crash."

"The accident happened when the right door of a car came around the corner without giving a signal."

"I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him."


"I was unable to stop in time, and my car crashed into the other vehicle. The driver and passengers then left immediately for a vacation with injuries."

"To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front, I struck the pedestrian."

"I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way."


"In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole."

"As I approached the intersection, a stop sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever appeared before. I was unable to stop in time to avoid the accident."

"A truck backed through my windshield and into my wife's face."


"The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intention."

"A pedestrian hit me and went under my car."

"I had been learning to drive with power steering. I turned the wheel to what I thought was enough and found myself in a different direction going the opposite way."


"I was backing my car out of the driveway in the usual manner when it was struck by the other car in the same place where it had been struck several times before."

"I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home. As I reached an intersection, a hedge sprung up, obscuring my vision."

Get more tips on Steps to Take After a Car Accident.

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