Most drivers must alert their insurance carriers when they are involved in an accident. How long you have to report a car accident to your insurance carrier depends on the language in your policy. This time limit can vary significantly from one policy to another.
There can be steep consequences should you fail to notify your insurance carrier on time. In some cases, it could result in the denial of your claim or the cancellation of your policy.
Time Limits for Reporting Accidents to Insurance Companies
Most (if not all) insurance policies require the policyholder to report a vehicle accident. Where these policies vary is the amount of time the insurance company will give you to make your report.
Many insurance policies set out a specific amount of time in which you have to report your accident. One common time limit for reporting an accident is 30 days from the date of the crash. Despite these deadlines, insurance companies frequently pressure their drivers to report accidents immediately.
Not all insurance policies will give a set number of days to report the accident. Instead, these policies could state that the policyholder should “promptly” report the accident. This subjective time limit could be problematic if the case ever goes to litigation. The safest option is to report an accident immediately after it happens.
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The Consequences of Delayed Claims
There are serious risks that can come with a delay in reporting your accident to your insurance company. Waiting too long to notify your insurance carrier could complicate your current situation and cause long-term problems with your insurer as well.
If you fail to report an accident to your insurance company right away, it could complicate any claims you make regarding the accident. The insurance company could claim they were not given the chance to investigate the circumstances of your accident. This could cause them to deny any claim you file.
Even more troubling is the possibility that your insurance company will refuse to cover you if the other driver in the accident claims on your policy. In some cases, the insurance company could even cancel your policy entirely. Given these consequences, it is best to proceed cautiously. Reporting an accident to your insurance company could prevent you from facing these steep penalties.
When Reporting Might Not Be Necessary
The reality is some accidents may not be necessary to report to your insurance company. However, this is true in only a small number of circumstances. Many insurance policies will not require a report if the accident happens on private property and does not result in bodily injuries or serious property damage. Without meeting these requirements, you can expect to have to report it right away.
The language of your insurance policy is what matters most. If your policy is strict on reporting collisions under any circumstance, you must comply. Notify your carrier as soon as possible. If you are unsure of what your policy requires, you could benefit from a discussion with an attorney.
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Filing a Claim vs. Reporting an Accident
It is also helpful to understand the important differences between reporting an accident and filing a claim with your insurance company. Reporting your accident involves little more than providing your insurer with notice that the accident occurred. On the other hand, filing a claim involves formally requesting monetary benefits under the language of your policy.
Reporting your accident is likely required under your policy, but filing a claim on that policy is never mandatory. It is not uncommon for policyholders to report an accident with the insurance company only to not file a claim. Once you have reported the accident, you have the option of filing a claim with your insurance. This decision will depend in part on whether you believe filing the claim is worth it.
Filing an insurance claim can have indirect repercussions that do not occur with merely reporting the accident. The most common example is increasing monthly premiums.
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You Can Have Your Lawyer Handle Your Car Accident Case
You do not have to concern yourself with complicated car accident laws or speaking with the insurance company. You can retain the services of a lawyer with our firm to do these things for you. We work on contingency, so you don’t have to scramble to figure out payment up front.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Car Accident Claim
It is understandable if you have a lot on your mind in the aftermath of a car accident. If your injuries are serious, emergency medical treatment is likely your top priority. In other situations, you could be distracted with arranging towing for your damaged vehicle.
These issues are important, but they should not prevent you from reporting your accident to your insurance company. The attorneys with Kaine Law could advise you how long you have to report a car accident to your insurance. They could also help you recover compensation for your injuries. Call (404) 214-2001 for a free consultation today.
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