Have you been in an accident? Perhaps you want to know what to do if you’re ever in an accident. Keep reading because we’ll explore the relationship between police reports and insurance claims.
In this article, we will provide a guide to whether or not you need to call the police, how long after an accident you can file a police report, and figuring out why insurance claims may be denied. We’ll help you feel more informed about police reports and insurance claims!
What Happens If There Is No Police Report?
If there is no police report, the insurance company and the claims adjuster will collect evidence and information about the collision to determine fault.
Police reports are a big help to this process, and it’s best practice to contact the police for a report following most accidents.
How Insurance Companies Prove Fault
Using the available information, photos, and accounts of what happened, insurance companies and claims adjusters determine fault for the accident. Payments on claims are paid accordingly.
Insurance companies collect the following information from policyholders following an accident:
- The location of the accident
- The date, time, and conditions, such as weather during the accident
- Names, phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses for all drivers, occupants, and witnesses
- Insurance information for all parties, including the company, policy number, and phone numbers
- Photos of the scene, vehicle license plates, and damage
- Police report number, badge number, and names of any police responders
Keep in mind that the police will help collect all of this information and accounts. It’s helpful to have the police report to gather and report this information. It will also help verify details in case of a second collision for either party before claims are solved.
Do You Need to Call the Police After an Accident?
Following an accident, it’s best practice to call the police. The operator or responding officer can help determine whether a police report is necessary. Even if you are at fault, calling the police may protect you if the other party tries to make unfounded claims.
Make sure that you contact the police if any of the following apply to your collision:
- Any driver involved does not have valid auto insurance or driver’s license
- Anyone has been injured in the collision
- Significant damage– this definition varies from state-to-state
- Anyone is acting uncooperative
The police may not respond to minor collisions on private property. This includes parking lots owned by private businesses. Be sure to collect all the information your insurance company will need. See below for a list.
Will My Claim Be Denied Without a Police Report?
Your auto insurance claim will not be automatically denied because there is no police report. File your claim and provide all the details, accounts, and evidence as requested by the insurance company. Be sure to gather this information from a safe location at the scene of the accident.
Your insurance company will ask for the following information:
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- Driver’s license numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and names for all involved parties
- Insurance company, policy number, and insurance phone numbers for other drivers
- Details of other cars like make, model, color, state of registration, and license plate number
- Names and contact information for any witnesses
- Details and photos of the damage
- Lighting, weather, conditions, and other details at the scene during the accident
Common Reasons Insurance Claims Are Denied
Insurance companies will notify you in writing if your claim is denied, and the reason will be stated in the letter. One of the most common reasons claims are denied is false information. Make sure that you provide accurate information to your insurance company.
For example, if the address listed as the garaging address for the car is not accurate, your auto insurance company can deny claims. Update all of the information for your policy every time it changes.
How Long After An Accident Can I File a Police Report?
Most states require the accident to be reported immediately. It’s best to report the accident to the police immediately after getting to a safe location near the scene. When in doubt, contact the police as soon as possible. For minor accidents in some states, you may have longer to report the incident.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to report a damage-only accident to the police?
We recommend contacting the police if there is any property damage because the minor damage definition varies from state to state. The police can help you determine if a police report is necessary.
Will filing an insurance claim make my rates increase?
When it comes time to renew your policy, filing a claim may cause an increase in your premiums. Depending on location and company, rates won’t increase when the insurance company doesn’t pay for the claim, like when you’re not at fault.
What do you do if insurance denies the claim?
Depending on the cost of legal representation and court fees compared to the claim amount, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney for advice. An attorney will know the specific laws in your area.
Allstate (2020, May 1). How Is Fault Determined After an Accident? Allstate.com. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from https://www.allstate.com/resources/car-insurance/determining-fault-after-car-accident#:~:text=The%20adjuster%20will%20gather%20details,at%20fault%20for%20the%20accident.
Geico (2023). What to Do After a Car Accident. Geico.com. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from https://www.geico.com/claims/after-an-accident/
Massachusetts Division of Insurance (n.d.). Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Insurance Claims. Mass.gov. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from https://www.mass.gov/service-details/frequently-asked-questions-about-auto-insurance-claims
Progressive (2023). Car Insurance Claim Without Police Report. Progressive.com. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from https://www.progressive.com/answers/insurance-claim-without-police-report/
Jesse Cunningham V is a professional writer and licensed insurance agent. He has worked in the insurance industry in different capacities, starting as a customer service representative and working his way up to an independent agency owner. He is licensed in the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania for Property, Casualty, Life, and Health products. Jesse has worked with many national carriers, including Nationwide, State Farm, Travelers, and Liberty Mutual, and specializes in car and home insurance and health, life, accidental death, and disability insurance. He writes for multiple publications including FIXD and Bauple.com. All articles by Jesse are opinion-based. Speak with your licensed insurance agent about the particulars of your insurance before making any decisions.