Is a police report required for insurance claim?

12 minute read Published on Jun 24, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

A policeman talks to a driver during traffic stop.

If you get into a car accident, you may need to file a claim with your insurance company. But filing an insurance claim following a loss can be tricky, and many policyholders have questions about what information they must provide during the claims process. Specifically, some customers are unsure whether a police report is required to file a car insurance claim. We dig deep into police reports and insurance claims below.

Do I need to report a car accident?

First, let’s answer the most basic question: do I need to report a car accident in Ontario? Regardless of whether you intend to file an insurance claim or not, certain circumstances necessitate a call to the police. For instance, in Ontario, there are a number of situations in which the parties involved in a vehicle collision are legally required to notify the police. Of course, the priority after any collision is to check if anyone involved sustained any injuries and needs medical attention. If so, make sure they get the help they need. Once emergency services are on their way, then you can call the police. As mentioned, there are some times when calling the police after an accident is mandatory, and if you don’t report the car accident, it could not only make it harder to file an insurance claim but it could also have other legal repercussions, such as a fine. Below is a list of circumstances in which those involved in the accident are required to notify the authorities in Ontario:

  • If the damage caused by the collision is over $2,000 between both cars.
  • If someone involved in the collision is injured, no matter the extent of the injuries.
  • If the collision involved a government vehicle.
  • If the collision involved a driver who is uninsured or underinsured.
  • If the collision involved a criminal act, like driving while texting or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • If the collision involved a pedestrian.
  • If the collision caused damage to private or municipal property.

Ontario motorists have 24 hours from the time of the accident to notify the police. Please note that failing to report a car accident when it meets any of the criteria above is illegal, as is fleeing the scene of an accident. In Ontario, if you are caught leaving the scene of an accident without properly identifying yourself, you could be fined up to $2,000, face jail time depending on how serious the accident was, and have your driver’s licence suspended for a maximum of two years. Thus, remaining on the scene and reporting the accident is always the right decision. Even if the collision was minor, having a record of the incident is generally better than not.

To learn more about the mandatory requirements around reporting a car accident in Canada, contact BrokerLink.


How to file a police report for an accident

Filing a police report is fairly straightforward, but if it’s your first time doing so, then the prospect might seem daunting. Luckily, the BrokerLink team has put together this guide on how to report a car accident:

What to expect when filing a police report

After the accident occurs and you contact local authorities, a police officer will ask you for information on the collision. Depending on when you contact the police, the questions asked might be different. For example, if the accident was severe and you called and waited for the police at the scene, the officer’s process might be slightly different than if you reported the accident a few hours later and are answering questions down at the station. That said, generally speaking, police reports for car accidents require certain pieces of information that don’t change. Thus, anytime you contact the police to file a car accident report, you should be prepared to provide the following information:

The date and location of the collision

The day the collision occurred, as well as the time and the precise location (e.g. the intersection where the accident happened), will be noted in the report.

Details of the collision

Information about the injuries sustained or property damage that resulted from the collision will also be included in the police report. This is where you can provide any photos or video footage of the incident. You will also be asked questions about the type of accident, e.g. a fender bender.

Driver information

The police will ask you for your driver’s licence number, the name of your car insurance company, the details of your car insurance policy, and the contact information of all drivers involved in the collision.

Vehicle information

You can expect the police to ask for information on your vehicle, such as its make, model, year, and VIN.

Witness and passenger statements

If applicable, the police will ask for the contact information of any witnesses or passengers so that they can give a formal statement on the accident.

Driver statement

Assuming you were the driver, the police will ask you to give a statement outlining the series of events that caused the accident.

Additional information

Finally, a police officer may also ask some additional questions to better understand the accident, such as what the weather was like when it occurred or if there were any noteworthy road hazards or conditions that could have led to the accident. This information will be included in the final report.

Please note that all police reports have a report number or reference number to differentiate one report from another. In addition, once a police officer has asked you for the information above, they will give a personal statement on their own observations and opinions about the accident, which will also be included in the report.

Reasons to file a police report following an accident

Aren’t sure whether you want to file a police report after a car accident? Consider a few of the benefits of doing so below:

You have a record of the accident

By reporting your car accident to the police, you will receive a copy of the police report, which is an accurate record of the details of the accident. This can come in handy in a variety of circumstances, whether a legal issue arises (more on that below) or simply when filing a claim with your insurance company.

Protection against legal issues

A car accident police report can protect you if legal issues arise in the wake of the incident, such as the other driver suing you for damages.

Proves liability

A police report can help prove fault. If needed, it could show that you were not at fault or less at fault for the accident.

You are in compliance with the law

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, not filing a police report might be illegal. For example, if someone was injured in the accident or the damages sustained were over $2,000, and you still fail to report the accident, you could face serious legal repercussions in Ontario.

Peace of mind

Ultimately, filing a police report provides drivers with peace of mind knowing that they did everything they could following the accident.

Additional Witness

By giving a statement immediately after the incident, the police can offer their statement for the situation in court.

Insurance claims and police reports

One of the most common myths about claims and premiums is that a driver must file a police report if they want to file an insurance claim. Although drivers may be legally required to file police reports in some provinces under some circumstances, a lack of a police report does not prevent you from filing an insurance claim with your car insurance provider. In fact, many auto insurance claims are approved without, especially if the accident was minor. Unless there is excessive property damage, someone involved sustained serious injuries, or the collision was the result of a crime, chances are your insurance company will not ask you to file a police report. Note that even if you decide against informing the police about the accident, calling an insurance company after a minor car accident is just as important as after a major one.

It is also worth noting that even if your insurance company doesn’t require a police report, they do hold weight. They are a credible source that an insurance adjuster will look to when reviewing your claim. From the perspective of an insurance company, a police report is an objective account of the accident, which is extremely valuable. Having a police report can also speed up the claims process. So while your claim may still be approved, it could take longer, which means your payout could also be delayed without a police report.

Collecting evidence for a car insurance claim

If you are involved in a car accident, even if you contact the police, , you should still collect evidence for your car insurance claim. The following is a list of evidence that you should gather while on the scene:

Photos and videos of the scene of the accident

First, take out your smartphone and start snapping photos and videos of the scene. Take a video that shows the entirety of the accident and take photos of the accident from all angles. Specifically, we recommend taking photos of any damages to your car, for example, the point at which the other car made contact with yours and where there is now a dent. If there are skid marks on the road, broken glass, or any other property damage, take photos of those as well. Also take photos (if applicable) of the third partie(s) licence plate, vehicle make and model. Meanwhile, if you sustained any injuries, try to collect photographic evidence of those too.

Note the road and weather conditions

In addition to taking photos of the road, jot down some information on the general road and weather conditions at the time of the accident. Were there any hazards on the road? Any adverse weather conditions, like rain, fog, or glaring sun? Write them down.

Contact information

Make sure to get the contact information of anyone else involved in the accident. This information should include the other party’s address, phone number, licence plate number, driver’s licence number, and the name and number of their car insurance company.

Eyewitness statements

If applicable, speak with anyone who witnessed the accident and take an informal statement from them. You could even record this statement on your phone. Exchange contact information with them as well so that you, your insurance adjuster, or the police can get in touch with them if need be in the future.

Information needed when filing a car insurance claim

Anytime you file a car insurance claim with your insurer, you should be prepared to answer a wide range of questions. If you gathered the necessary evidence following the accident, you should be able to easily answer these questions and have proof to back up your claims. Note that there are different types of car insurance claims that you can file. The type of claim you file will ultimately depend on who is deemed at fault for the accident, whether the other driver was uninsured, underinsured, or fled the scene, and what issues arose from the accident, e.g. property damage, bodily injury, both, or neither. If you aren’t sure what type of auto insurance claim to file with your provider, contact BrokerLink. A BrokerLink auto insurance specialist can review the circumstances of your accident and your current coverage and offer a professional opinion on the appropriate claim to file.

That said, regardless of what type of car insurance claim you decide to submit to your insurance company, you will need to have the following pieces of information handy:

  • The full name and address of the other driver
  • The driver’s licence number of the other driver
  • The licence plate number of the other driver’s vehicle
  • The name of the other driver’s insurance company
  • The number of the other driver’s auto insurance policy
  • The make, model, year, and registration number of the other driver’s vehicle
  • The date, time, and location of the collision
  • The damage done to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle
  • The names of any passengers in your vehicle at the time of the collision
  • The extent of any injuries sustained (if applicable)
  • The name and badge number of the police officer who arrived on the scene and/or filed the police report (if applicable)

What to do before filing a car accident claim with your insurance company

Before you file a car accident claim with your insurance company, contact BrokerLink and ask a licenced insurance broker to review your policy alongside you. This step is important anytime you wish to file a claim with your insurer because it will help you understand the coverage you have, allowing you to make the best possible decision about your claim. A BrokerLink insurance broker can explain the ways in which you are covered and outline your coverage limits, helping you decide which type of car insurance claim to file and giving you the best odds of having your claim approved. Assuming you decide to file a claim, the next step will be working with the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim. Like a broker, your insurance adjuster will also review your coverage and explain to you which expenses the insurance company may cover you for. From there, they will conduct their independent investigation into the accident.

Note that after filing a car accident claim with your insurance company, you will need to wait and see whether it is approved or denied. There are several reasons why a car insurance claim can be denied, and a BrokerLink insurance broker can help you understand each of them ahead of filing a claim. If needed, a BrokerLink advisor can also help with cancelling a car insurance claim if you decide that filing a claim is not the right decision for you.

Learn how to file a police report and a car insurance claim with BrokerLink

Are you ready to dive into the world of car insurance? Whether you have car insurance in Toronto, Calgary, Moncton, or another Canadian city, the BrokerLink team can help you just the same. Our job is to make the car insurance process less complicated. We do this by helping our customers with a wide range of tasks, from filing an insurance claim to renewing their policy to purchasing brand-new coverage. So whether you have questions about filing a police report after a car accident or what type of car insurance claim to file with your provider following a collision, you can count on BrokerLink. A BrokerLink insurance advisor will be with you every step of the way. If you are deemed at fault following a collision, we can even help you find new coverage down the road or give you tips on how to keep your premium low after an at-fault accident. For general car insurance advice and tips, or to request a free auto insurance quote, contact BrokerLink today. You can reach us by phone, email, or in person at any one of our 200+ locations across the country.

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FAQs on car insurance claims

What happens if another driver hits you and they don’t report it?

If another driver hits your vehicle and doesn’t stop or report the accident, they could face serious consequences if caught. Leaving the scene of the accident is a serious crime and can result in major fines, driver’s licence suspensions, and even jail time, depending on how serious the accident was.

Do I have to report a car accident that happens in a parking lot?

Reporting all car accidents, no matter if they happened in a parking lot or on the road is generally recommended. Remember that reporting an accident to the police, even a minor one, has many benefits, like providing you with an objective account of the incident. In some cases, it might even be legally required, such as if the parking lot accident resulted in bodily injury or over $2,000 worth of damages.

Will the police come to the scene of the car accident if I call?

Sometimes. It ultimately depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident. If the accident is severe, resulting in serious damage or bodily injuries, then the police will almost certainly arrive on the scene. However, for minor accidents, they may not. The best way to find out if the police will come to the scene of the accident is to call them. If they decline, you will need to visit your nearest police station following the accident if you want to file a police report.

Does filing a police report mean you need to file a car insurance claim?

No, just because you choose to file a police report does not mean that you are required to file a claim with your insurance company. A police report and an insurance claim are two completely different things. That said, having a police report can expedite the insurance claims process.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.