There are a number of reasons a driver might not want to report an accident to the insurance companies. In some cases, the person might not have insurance at all and they don’t want that to get reported to the authorities.
Even those with insurance often hesitate to report accidents, especially if it was their fault, because they don’t want their insurance rates to go up. Most insurance companies jack up the rates for a driver after they’ve been in an accident, so depending on the extent of the damage, it might be in their best interests to pay for the damage out of their own pockets, rather than handing it over to the insurance companies.
If the damage is minor, there’s probably no harm in handling the costs yourselves, as long as you follow a few ground rules:
Contact the Police
Just because you’ve decided not to tell your insurance agencies does not necessarily mean it’s a good idea not to have an independent party record the incident. That way, the other party can’t come back later on and twist the truth in their favor.
Also, don’t talk about the details of the accident with anyone other than the other person/people involved, the police, and the insurance agencies if you decide to contact them. It’s their job to determine who was at fault and what the next steps should be, not yours.
Get a Receipt
If whoever caused the accident offers to pay for any repairs to the other car, that person needs to make sure they see a receipt from the repair shop before they hand over any money. Otherwise the other person could have all sorts of repairs and additions made to their car on someone else’s tab, or they might not spend any of the money on their car. Any time you hand over money, you need to be certain it’s being spent on what they say it’s being spent on.
If you’re the one who doesn’t want to contact the insurance agencies, but the other person won’t provide you with a receipt for the damage done to their car, then you’ll be better off contacting your insurance agency and letting them handle it.
Check Your Insurance Plan
Some insurance plans require you to let the company know any time anything happens that might result in a claim. It’s a way for insurance companies to reduce liability and make sure they don’t have to try to deal with claims that get filed months, or even years after the incident, by which time no one remembers the details of the accident very clearly and any evidence they might have been able to collect has likely been lost or destroyed.
Check your insurance papers after you’ve been in an accident to determine if this is the case for your plan. If it is, then you definitely want to go ahead and notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible, no matter what the other person says. Failing to do so could potentially result in you losing your insurance coverage.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or some other type of accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.