Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Apr 14, 2022

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In a nutshell...

  • Reporting an accident is important when others are injured or there is severe damage involved
  • Report any accident that exceeds your deductible to avoid out-of-pocket expense
  • Don’t over-report minor accidents if no one was injured as this could raise your premiums

When driving across the highways and byways, the last thing on your mind is an accident.

You may enjoy traveling and seeing the sights, and you may even be a careful driver, but, once in awhile, an accident can happen.

That’s why it’s so important to have adequate insurance coverage so that you will be prepared for the unexpected incidents in life.

There are several different approaches to reporting accidents which we will examine in this post. Enter your zip code above to get FREE car insurance quotes today!

Some Say to Report it Every Time


One school of thought is to report every single accident.

The advantage to this is that you will always have an exact record of what happened and no one can say later that it was your fault or try to win damages from you.

Reporting an accident any time it occurs gets the police there to take a report and may even give you extra witnesses who may be at the scene where the accident took place.

But the disadvantage of reporting an accident every time is that it can draw too much attention to you on the part of your insurance company.

An insurance company can use their judgment regarding the risk that a certain person carries with them and can decide to raise your premiums.

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Subjective Reasoning

Also, insurance agents are human beings with subjective reasoning who sometimes make decisions based on a feeling or “gut instinct.”

Like in any profession, some of this is allowed to provide the agents or employees of the company a reason as to why that decision was made.

So, before you report every accident, survey the damage and weigh the risk of reporting it with not reporting it before you make that call.

In cases where the other person is likely to blame, it will always be best to report it, since it will be their insurance company, not yours, who will pay for the damage.

When Other People are Involved or Injured


In cases that are severe enough where people were injured, and other passengers or motorists were involved, you should most certainly report it.

This is because you could suffer some legal repercussions for not reporting it, in addition to civil damages.

If you thwart the insurance and go around it to solve it yourself, you may find yourself involved in lawsuits that can end up costing you lots of money in the long run.

When there are injuries or there is an accident that is obviously your fault, it is never wise to avoid reporting it.

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To Report or Not to Report

A good rule of thumb in deciding whether to report any given accident is whether you can afford to pay for the damages out-of-pocket.

If you think the damage is only around $100 or less, your insurance is not going to pay for that anyway, since most deductibles don’t even start below $500.

If you wonder whether your accident is one you should report or not, consider these factors before deciding:

  • Were others involved either in your car or the other vehicle?
  • Was the accident caused by you?
  • Were there external conditions present such as weather that may have caused the accident?
  • Was anyone injured?
  • Is the damage more than around $500?

Looking through this list of questions, you should be able to make a sound judgment on whether you should report the accident.

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Was it your fault?


Negligence is a legal term meaning that a reasonable person either knew or should have known that the accident could occur.

Regarding external conditions such as weather or other events, you should consider whether it could be ruled a “no-fault” accident.

In the final analysis, decide whether you may need a police report to back up your claim that it was not your fault and if others were injured, it would be wise to report it.

The police report is valuable to you because it shows what the facts are so that insurance companies can take it from there.

Tips on Finding the Right Insurance

Consider how much you think you need based on the amount of time you spend on the road and amount of money you have invested in your automobile.

If you have poor driving habits, consider taking a defensive driving course to get your premiums lowered and to decrease your chances of an accident.

Practice safe driving habits at all times and keep a copy of your current driving record so that you will have the same information that the insurance companies have.

Make sure you include your state liability and personal injury and damage amounts and any other coverage you want to include.

Shop and compare rates with different companies on our site and ask for a free quote to get started. Enter your zip code below to get FREE car insurance quotes today!