If you’re in an accident involving property damage, injury, or both, after reporting the accident to the police, you should advise your insurance company accordingly. In California, you must immediately report the accident to your insurance company whether it was your fault or not.
The insurance company has the right to conduct its own investigation. By failing to report the accident, you are breaking your agreement with them. Failure to report might cause them to drop you as a client. They might also refuse collision or medical payments coverage if you elect to make such claims under your own policy.
What to Tell Your Insurer
As per your contract of insurance, you have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company. Questions will likely be asked of you, and you must answer them as completely as possible. Be honest. A statement between an insured person and his or her insurer is privileged. What you say won’t be disclosed to the other side.
After you’ve provided the necessary information, you’ll likely receive a letter from the adjuster that your insurer assigned to your file. It will contain a claim number that you should refer to if you need to contact him or her.
What to Tell an Opposing Insurance Company
An adjuster for the insurer of the party who caused your accident is likely to contact you. He or she will have questions and probably want a recorded statement from you. California law doesn’t require you to give an opposing insurer any type of statement. It’s only the beginning of a strategy to try to use your own words against you in the future to affect your credibility and devalue your claim.
Politely refuse to give any kind of a statement. Don’t allow yourself to be threatened or intimidated. If that adjuster tells you that your file will be closed for lack of a statement, let him or her close it. If you retain us to represent you for your injuries and damages, we can have that file opened again quickly with no adverse consequences.
Will My Premiums Increase if I Report the Accident?
Many drivers won’t report an accident to their insurer, fearing a rate increase. You won’t see an increase if the accident wasn’t your fault. California prohibits a rate increase unless you were primarily at fault for an accident. Primarily at fault might be 51% or more at fault.
You pay insurance premiums for a reason, and California laws protect you in the event that you’ve been in an accident that wasn’t your fault. If you were seriously injured in such an accident, you’ll likely have questions about how you would go about obtaining compensation for those injuries. You can contact us for a free consultation and case review in that regard. We’ll be pleased to answer your questions and advise you on how we can help.