A driver can be affected by a minor car accident in a number of ways. However, following the proper procedures to contact your insurance company as soon as possible afterwards can help minimize costs and other issues.
Minor car accidents will generally not result in too many problems aside from inconvenience. This is especially true if no one is injured. However, there are still some rules that drivers need to follow to avoid additional problems and issues with their insurance provider or the police.
What to do immediately following the accident
After all minor accidents, the driver needs to remain at the scene and make contact with the other drivers involved. In most states, it is not necessary to contact the police when only minor damage is involved. However, if someone is injured or the total amount of property damage may possibly cost more than a couple thousand dollars to repair, it is better to err on the side of caution and contact the police as well. The police can also provide a third party explanation of what happened after their investigation on the scene, which can be beneficial to your insurance company or even help during a lawsuit if the report is introduced as evidence.
You should check with your insurance provider and search for local laws regarding whether the police should be contacted.
Contacting an insurance company after an accident
As a general rule, your insurance company should be contacted as soon as possible after all car accidents. This can be done at the scene if the area is safe, or it can be done shortly after. Your insurance company will require you to report accidents, and they can take actions against you if they find that you did not report the accident and violated the terms of your policy.
If you are unsure about your company’s exact procedures, you can call them or find instructions on your proof of insurance cards that are kept in your vehicle.
Costs of a minor accident
Unfortunately, car insurance rates will probably go up slightly even after a minor accident. They may go up a larger amount if you are found to be at fault, or they may not go up at all if you insurance company will forgive one minor accident within a certain look back period. A lot of this is at the discretion of your insurance company and you should contact them with any questions, or if you need an explanation of changes to your rates. Drivers who are involved in any kind of accident should expect their policy to cost at least a couple hundred dollars more per year for the next few years after the incident. Multiple minor accidents within a few years will also cause costs to go up even more.
You can see if your insurance company offers any kind of discounts for things like driving less total miles in an average week or switching to a safer vehicle.
Learn more about rules, regulations, and insurance policies
There are lawyers in your area who routinely handle cases related to auto accidents and insurance claims. You can use the listings on USAttorneys.com to find a legal professional who works in your location.