Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience. If you haven’t had one before, you might also have the added pressure of learning what and when you need to tell your insurer.
How Long Do I Have to Report an Accident to My Insurance Company?
If you’re involved in an accident, you must tell your insurance company as soon as possible. Most insurers specify that you must inform them within 24 hours of the incident.
Check the wording of your insurance policy to see if your insurer has specified how long you have to report an accident. But in general, the sooner you tell your insurer, the better.
Is It Illegal to Not Report an Accident?
If you’re involved in an accident, you must stay at the scene for a reasonable time. You are also legally required to give your name, address, and vehicle registration number to “anyone with reasonable grounds for requiring them.”
As it specifies on the Government’s website, if you’re unable to exchange your details at the scene of the accident, then you must inform the police.
So long as you’ve exchanged your details with the other driver, and so long as nobody’s been injured in the collision, then you’ve no obligation to inform the police.
What Happens If I Don’t Report an Accident?
If you don’t stop after an accident and report it, you could receive a significant fine and up to six months’ imprisonment.
If you don’t tell your insurer about the accident, or if you tell them too late, then they may cancel your policy and refuse to insure you in the future.
What About My No Claims Bonus?
The cost of losing your no claims bonus can be more than the cost of repairs.
What if you want to keep your no claims bonus and pay for the repairs yourself, or to recover the cost of repairs from the other driver?
You still have to report the accident. But you can make it clear that you’re reporting for “information only”, and that you do not want to make a claim.
You see, if someone holds you responsible for the accident, they have every right to request your insurance details. If you don’t tell them yourself, your insurer could settle with the other driver’s insurer without your knowledge.
And as we said above, not reporting an accident is an offence that could seriously jeopardise your chances of getting insurance in the future.
Don’t risk it! Even if your insurance policy wording specifies you have a few days to report an accident, it’s in your best interests to report the incident as soon as possible. To avoid all risks, do it within 24 hours.
Failing to report an accident is a criminal offence. So is driving uninsured. For total peace of mind, it’s vital that you make sure you’re covered by adequate car insurance at all times.