Regardless of who may be at fault for a car accident, the first priority should be dealing with the more immediate concerns, such as any injuries that may have been sustained. Once you get past this point, the next step generally recommended is to contact your insurance company and report the accident. As for how long you have to actually complete this step, we go over the general recommendations and considerations below.
Check Your Policy to See What Applies
For insurance purposes, it’s often more beneficial to let your auto insurance provider know about any vehicle-related or accident-related damage sooner rather than later. Plus, it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to have time limits for reporting accidents. Therefore, the first step to take if you prefer to hold off on reporting an accident is to read through your policy to see what applies with regard to how long you have to report an accident.
Statutes of Limitations May Apply
If legal action is involved related to a car accident, statutes of limitations usually apply. This can happen if another involved driver or his or her insurance provider has opted to seek certain accident-related damages from you or your insurance company.
There may also be a need to take legal action if you’re having difficulty obtaining sufficient compensation for your injuries or vehicle damage from the at-fault party. Each state has a time limit that applies to lawsuits of this nature, referred to as the civil statute of limitations. In this case, the clock starts ticking on the day the car accident occurred. In California, you have two years to file a lawsuit related to injuries from an accident. You’ll get an extra year to take legal action for vehicle-related damage.
People May Be Hesitant to Report Accidents
Some drivers are hesitant about taking this step, especially if they’re the at-fault parties. The main reason for this hesitation for most vehicle owners comes from concerns about the possibility of higher insurance rates. Drivers also sometimes hesitate to report accidents if there are no injuries or significant vehicle damage.
Reporting an Accident Is Often Beneficial
If another involved party files a claim against you related to the accident, you’ll definitely want to report it to your car insurance San Diego. Otherwise, you could be responsible for all applicable legal costs and any damages you may be ordered to cover related to the accident. Also, reporting the accident makes it easier to take care of the costs involved in fixing your car. In turn, this means you’ll be able to safely use your vehicle again without too many delays.
Reporting an Accident Isn’t the Same Thing as Filing a Claim
Finally, just because you report an accident to your insurance company doesn’t mean you’re actually filing a claim related to that accident. It’s only when claims are actually filed that your insurance rates may be affected. Simply reporting the accident also keeps your policy valid and allows your record to be properly updated.
If you’re in any kind of vehicle accident, the most important thing is to make sure everyone is safe and gets medical attention right away if it’s needed. Then follow the other steps listed above to make sure legal requirements are met and your interests are protected. If you need affordable, reliable auto insurance, reach out to the experienced agents at Altra Insurance Services. We also offer several other types of insurance, including homeowners, renters, and motorcycle insurance San Diego residents should call us today at (619) 404-6311.