What to do when you have a minor car accident
There are several things you should do after an accident, even if it's just a fender bender. If your car is drivable, the first thing to do is move it out of the way of traffic. When you're in a safe location, check to make sure no one who was involved in the accident is hurt.
If there aren't any serious injuries, exchange information with the other drivers, get witness statements, and take photos of the accident scene. It may seem excessive for a few dents and scratches or a damaged bumper, but it's essential to have a record of what happened. In general, it's also a good idea to call the police so there's an official record of the incident.
Some injuries may take hours or even days to show up, and certain types of vehicle damage aren't visible to the naked eye. Before you know it, your fender bender accident could turn out to be much more serious than you thought. Having a record of the accident can help the insurance companies sort out the details and determine who is responsible for paying any claims that may be filed.
Do you have to call the police after a minor car accident?
Laws for reporting car accidents vary by state. If there's a severe injury or significant vehicle damage, you may be required to call the police. If there aren't any injuries and damage to the vehicles is minor, you may not have to, but it's still a good idea. Note that you can still file a car insurance claim even if you don't file a police report.
A police officer can help make sure everyone is okay and document what happened. Some jurisdictions might not send officers to the scene for minor car accidents. But you can still file a report with your local police department, which could come in handy later.
Should I call my insurance company after a minor accident?
Yes. It's essential to contact your insurer if you're in an accident with another vehicle because it's not always possible to determine how severe someone's injuries are or how badly a car is damaged at the scene. No matter who was at fault, your insurer can work with the other insurance company to sort out the details and make sure there's no delay in processing claims that are filed.
It's important to contact your insurer if you're in an accident with another vehicle, even if the accident is minor.
Should I file a claim for a minor accident?
For vehicle damage: If your vehicle received minor damage, it may be worth filing a collision claim with your insurance if the damage costs more than your deductible. If the other driver caused the accident, then you could file a claim with their insurance company instead.
For injuries: Even if the accident was minor and no one appears to be seriously hurt, you should still consider filing a claim for minor injuries. Some injuries might be more severe than they seem, and others can linger and may cost more to treat than you expect. You could file a claim under your medical payments or personal injury protection coverage, assuming you carry these coverages. If the other driver caused the accident, then you could file a bodily injury claim with their insurer.
Looking for more information about auto insurance? Our car insurance resource center has you covered.