How Long Do I Have to Report an Accident to My Insurance Company?

If you’re involved in a car accident, you must tell your insurance provider as soon as possible.

Some insurers specify how long you have to report an accident. For example, some might require you to report all accidents, no matter how minor, within 24 hours of the incident. For more information, check your car insurance policy document.

Everything You Need To Do Following a Car Accident

The government sets out clear guidelines for your legal responsibilities following a car accident.

In short, you need to provide your details to anyone who has “reasonable grounds for requiring them”. And this includes your insurance company, along with any other individuals involved in the incident.

If you’re unable to exchange details with other individuals at the time of the accident, you must inform the police within 24 hours.

You can read our full guide to what to do after a car accident here.

Importantly, the quicker you report the claim, the sooner the insurer can take the steps it needs to, to deal with any claims that may arise. For the insurer, speed of action is vital, as usually the quicker the claim can be dealt with the lower the cost, and that will help keep premiums down.

What Will Happen If I Don’t Report The Accident to the Police?

Failing to report an accident is a criminal offence. If you leave the scene of the accident without leaving your details, and then you neglect to inform the police within 24 hours, you could receive a hefty fine and points on your licence. You may also face a custodial sentence.

What Will Happen If I Don’t Report The Accident to My Insurer?

Always tell your insurance company if you are involved in an accident, no matter how small, even if you aren’t intending to make a claim. Failing to inform them could have repercussions on your insurance, it may even be cancelled. And if a claim is made against you, by not reporting the accident to your insurer may result in the insurer recovering any payments it is required to make from you.

A cancelled insurance policy will stay on your record for the rest of your life. In future, you may find it harder to get insured as some insurers may refuse to cover you. Or if they do, they may charge you a significantly higher premium.

So don’t take the risk.

Will Reporting an Accident Affect My No Claim Discount?

When reporting the accident, you can make it clear to your insurer that you don’t intend to make a claim.

In this way, depending on the type of incident, you may be able to retain your no claim discount.

You’d then have to deal with any repairs yourself, of course. But the cost of losing your no claim bonus could turn out to be much higher than the cost of repairs.

If the accident was your fault, your insurer may still raise the price of your premium when it’s time to renew. This is because, in causing an accident, your insurer will consider you to be a higher risk driver. So they may charge you higher premiums so as to cover the increased risk.

With this in mind, you might feel reluctant to report the accident to your insurers. But really, you don’t have a choice. You simply have to do it.

Remember that there’ll be other insurers or companies involved in the accident. The other driver may choose to make a claim on their policy, even if you don’t make one on yours. And if they do this, their insurer is likely to make contact with your insurer.

So even if you don’t inform your insurer about the incident, they may still find out about it! And as we said above, they may view your failure to report the accident as grounds for cancelling your policy.

Trust us: It really, really isn’t worth the risk. Be sure to report all accidents to your insurer, no matter how small.

For more information, please check your policy wording document.


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