Have you ever been involved in a minor fender bender and wondered: “What am I supposed to do?” Being involved in minor fender bender can bring on a moment of panic but if you know what to do, this moment will pass as you jump into action.
Once you’ve made sure everyone is safe, exchanged information and notified the authorities (if necessary), your next step is to call your insurance company. But, depending on the damage, you may wonder if you should call your insurance company at all. Will your premium go up because of a minor fender bender? What happens if you don’t report the accident to your insurance company?
In this article, we’ll share what to do in the event of a minor accident. We’ll also suggest when to call your insurance company and why it’s important. Keep reading to learn more.
The Dos and Don’ts of a minor car accident
- Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If you or someone else is injured, call 911 or ask someone else to.
- If it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road, away from traffic.
- Depending on your province, if the damage is less than $2,000; there are no injuries, and no signs of illegal activity - such as drinking and driving, you may not need to call the police.
- If there is a local collision reporting centre, take your vehicle there.
- If you are unsure what to do, call 911 or the local police station for advice.
- Make sure you get all the relevant details immediately:
- Name, address and phone number of each driver and each vehicle’s registered owner
- Driver’s license number, insurance company and policy number of each driver involved
- License plate number of each vehicle
- Name and phone number of any passengers and witnesses
- Take photos and videos of the damage
- Note the weather conditions at the time of the accident
- Don’t assume everyone is okay. Injury is possible even if the accident is minor.
- Don’t move your car if it’s not drivable and if the location of the car could be considered evidence of fault, leave it where it is.
- Don’t lie about the incident. Whether you think it was your fault or the other driver’s fault, be honest about the facts, and explain from your perspective.
- Don’t hesitate to get the other vehicle owner(s) information and be sure to record details of the incident.
Why you must report a minor accident to your insurance company
It is recommended that you call your insurance company or broker in the event of a car accident, even if it’s minor. Your broker and insurance company will help you follow the process that takes place after an accident occurs. Here are a few reasons why calling your insurance company, can benefit you:
Damage and injuries are not always seen immediately
If you’re involved in a fender bender, you may think you are looking at a few hundred dollars to replace a bumper. However, once you get it into the shop, you learn that because of the make and model of your car, it will cost closer to a few thousand! Also, injuries may not be apparent until days or weeks after the accident. If you haven’t reported the incident and there is no police report to back it up, the other driver involved could claim the collision never happened.
Your insurance company can help you with the repairs
It can take awhile for insurance companies to settle. By reporting an accident with another vehicle to your insurance company (even if it was not your fault), your coverage will allow you to seek immediate repairs to your vehicle rather than waiting until the dispute is settled. In addition, your insurance company and advisor will advocate for a fair claims settlement.
The other party may not have proper insurance
If another party is involved and that driver doesn’t have car insurance – and you haven’t reported an accident to your insurance company in a timely manner – you could be on the hook for covering all expenses on your own. If you report the incident to your insurance company in a timely manner, you could be compensated through underinsured coverage.
Calling your insurance company is different from filing a claim
There is a difference between calling your insurance company to report an accident and filing a claim. By reporting the accident, you will be covered if the damage or injuries are significant. For example: imagine you have an accident and it appears there are no injuries - just a ‘ding’ to your rear bumper. A few days later, whiplash symptoms develop and you need to visit the doctor. You later learn that the ‘ding’ took out an important sensor that’s part of the driver-assist technology. You could go from expecting to pay a few hundred dollars to paying expenses more than double that amount.
In addition, if another party involved files a claim with their insurance company and you don’t, your insurance company will still be notified and the claim will be opened anyway. It’s best to be honest even if the damage is minor and you don’t need to file a claim.
Call BrokerLink to learn more
Download our helpful accident checklist and keep it in your glove box so that you’re always prepared. If you are in an accident and you notify your insurance company directly, remember to give your local insurance advisor a call to let them know what happened. They can also provide advice and answer any questions about the claims process.
It’s easy to get in touch with a BrokerLink insurance advisor!
FAQs for car insurance and minor accidents
Is it okay to have two or more car insurances?
An insurer will not allow you to have two separate policies on the same vehicle. If you were in an accident and filed a separate claim on two different policies, it would be considered insurance fraud and you may be prosecuted for such actions. You can however have different insurance policies on each separate vehicle you own.
What is insurance risk assessment?
Insurance risk assessment is how the risks associated with an insurance policy are evaluated – it’s also referred to as underwriting. Insurance underwriters determine your rates by assessing many factors related to how likely you are to submit a claim against your policy. If you are assessed as “high risk,” you may see higher rates than a customer that is considered “low risk” to insure.
What are deductibles?
A deductible on an insurance policy is the amount that a policyholder pays out of pocket towards a claim. Once the deducible portion is paid, the insurance provider will pay its portion as per the policy wording. For example, if the deducible on a $5,000 claim is $1,000, the policyholder pays $1,000 and the insurance provider pays the remaining $4,000. Your deductible is always a predetermined amount that’s stated in your policy.