What to do if you’re in a minor fender bender?
Have you ever been involved in a minor fender bender and wondered: “What am I supposed to do now”?
Once you’ve made sure everyone is safe, exchanged information and notified police, your next step is to call your insurance company. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may wonder if you should call your insurance company at all. Will your premium go up because of a minor fender bender? What happens if you don’t report the accident to your insurance company?
Keep reading to learn when to call your insurance company and why it’s important.
Why you must report a minor accident to your insurance company
It’s prudent to call your insurance company or broker in the event of a car accident, even if it’s minor. Your broker and insurance company will help you follow the process that takes place after an accident occurs. Here are a few reasons why calling your insurance company, can benefit you:
Damage and injuries are not always seen immediately
If you’re involved in a fender bender, you may think you are looking at a few hundred dollars to replace a bumper. However, once you get it into the shop, you learn that because of the make and model of your car, it will cost closer to a few thousand. As well, injuries may not be apparent until days or weeks later. If you haven’t reported the incident and there is no police report to back it up, the other driver involved could claim the collision never happened.
Your insurance company can help you with the repairs
Sometimes it takes a while for insurance companies to settle a claim. By reporting an accident with another vehicle to your insurance company (even if it was not your fault), your coverage will allow you to seek immediate repairs to your vehicle rather than waiting until any dispute is settled. In addition, your insurance company and advisor will advocate for a fair claims settlement.
The other party may not have proper insurance
If another party is involved and that driver doesn’t have car insurance – and you haven’t reported an accident to your insurance company – you could be on the hook for all expenses on your own. If you report the incident to your insurance company in a timely manner, you could be compensated through uninsured coverage, but there is a deductible of $300 and a limit of $25,000.
Calling your insurance company is different from filing a claim
There is a difference between calling your insurance company to report an accident and filing a claim. By reporting the accident, you will be covered if the damage or injuries are significant. For example: imagine you have an accident and it appears there are no injuries – just a ‘ding’ to your rear bumper. A few days later, whiplash symptoms develop and you need to visit the doctor. You later learn that the ‘ding’ took out an important sensor that’s part of the driver-assist technology. You could go from expecting to pay a few hundred dollars to paying expenses several times that amount.
In addition, if another party involved files a claim with their insurance company and you don’t, your insurance company will still be notified and the claim will be opened anyway. It’s best to be honest even if the damage is minor and you don’t need to file a claim.
Call to learn more
If you are in an accident and you notify your insurance company directly, remember to give your insurance broker a call to let them know what happened. They can also provide advice and answer any questions about the claims process.