Car accidents happen every day and the police don’t answer to every one of them. In certain cases, yes, it’s the law; you need to call the police. This is especially true in the case of injuries or death. Minor car accidents or those without injury fall within that gray area. Should you have a police report? Yes, absolutely. Do you have to have one? It depends on the circumstances.Get today’s insurance rates.
How the Police Report Helps
If you have damage to your car or yourself, you may file a claim with your insurance. If the other driver was at fault, your insurance company will go after the other driver’s insurance company. What proof do you have of who is at fault without the police report, though?
Out on the street after the accident, both parties may be agreeable. You may think the other party will take complete blame and pay up for the damages. After a day or two, though, they may sing a different tune. When you call the insurance company, they have to question their client. What if the person that hit you decided they weren’t at fault? Now it’s a game of he said/she said.
The police report clears things up. It’s official documentation of what happened and who’s at fault. Insurance companies don’t question police reports. Without it, you are at the mercy of the insurance adjustors figuring it out.
Working Without a Police Report
The police report helps the process move along smoothly. The insurance companies process the claim according to what the police say happened.
Without it, the adjustors must come out, look at the cars, and try to piece the accident together themselves. This causes processing delays. It may result in less money exchanging hands too. If you don’t have a police report, but have eyewitnesses or pictures from the scene, it may help speed things along.Shop and compare insurance quotes.
A Police Report Helps Get Personal Injuries Covered
Personal injuries can be hard to pinpoint unless you have solid proof of the accident. The insurance company could argue that you had a back injury from something else and not the car accident. The same goes for head and neck injuries. They are hard to prove unless you have that unbiased third-party opinion on what happened at the scene of the accident.
How Long do you Have to File a Police Report?
What if you fell for the other driver’s sincerity and didn’t file a police report? You drive away and fear takes over. You feel like you should have made a report. Is it too late?
Time is always of the essence when filing a police report. There isn’t a hard deadline though. If you didn’t file a report at the scene, call the local police department and ask their policy. They may ask you questions about the extent of the private property damage or injuries and then decide. Waiting to file the police report may be an issue with your insurance company, though. They may want to know why you waited. If you plan to file a claim with insurance, report the accident to the police right away.
If you are ever in doubt, call the police. They can decide if they want to come out or not. If they don’t come out, get adequate information from the other driver including his/her license plate number, license number, phone number, name, and address. Take as many pictures as you can and call your insurance company right away to discuss the situation.Get the right insurance coverage.