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Do I need to inform my insurance company of an accident if the at fault driver wants to pay out of pocket?

Anderson, IN |

I was rear-ended by an individual who did not want to file a police report or involve the police because he insisted that he wanted to pay for the damage out of pocket (fairly minor damage to my bumper, but for a nice black car, silver paint and chips don't look so nice!). I also believe he had been drinking, but the police simply asked both of us if we had been and after he said he had "a few drinks", they did nothing else because he knew the police officer. He offered $80 cash in person, which I did not accept and was able to get a police report filed. I have taken pictures of the damage and will be getting two estimates from dealerships this week. Other than requesting that he pay the repair shop in full before the repairs are made, do I need to contact my insurance company?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. "Don't worry, I'll pay out of pocket." Famous last words.

    Yes, report the collision to your insurance company. People are happy to pay out of pocket and not involve insurance until they find out that even fixing a bumper cover at a reputable repair shop can cost hundreds of dollars, not to mention if the shop finds damage to your absorbers, reinforcement bar, brackets, and so forth.

    If you try to start the process without using your own insurance and something goes wrong and you need their help, you may encounter resistance if you did not allow them to inspect the vehicle in its damaged state.

    Plus, if he decides not to pay up, what are you going to do then? Yes, going through your own insurance means paying your deductible, but I assure you that they are a better collection agency than you.

    Finally, most policies require you to report all collisions, even if you are not at fault.

    Obviously, if you are hurt, even a little sore, go to the doctor and get checked out. You don't want to still be "a little sore" in a month and not have told anyone.

    Best of luck - sorry for your unfortunate mishap.

  2. Yes, report the incident to your carrier. If the other party "changes his mind" you are still protected.

  3. Always report every accident to the insurance company. Never try to settle a claim directly, as it always comes back to bite you.

    Licensed in Pennsylvania & New Jersey. Free Consultation:1-877-258-3083. Only 29% fee deducted.

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