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Fender Bender: Am I forced to make a police report? A claim?; or, Can I just pay to fix my vehicle without anyone involved?

Douglas, GA |

The other night I was leaving the parking lot. I backed out and bumped into a pickup trucks bumper. I did not see the vehicle, the vehicle was parked in my blindspot. My friend and I jumped out and looked to check damages. There was no damages on the vehicle hit (we saw)and noone inside. No note No injuries No cops. We left. However, I now have a dent on the back of my vehicle. I am wondering if I need to go ahead and make a police report. Its been 2 days now. I have full coverage insurance. Since the damage is minor. I'm just wondering, if it would be easier to just fix the vehicle myself? I am not sure if making a police report would be best, as I left the scene or, what I would say. Could I go straight to the claims department with my insurance and just explain what happened

Will the insurance company even cover the claim since I would be at fault. I'm so lost!

Attorney Answers 4

  1. The laws of every state are different in what you need to do when there is a property damage collision. Since the other owner was not present, it is a good idea to get the police involved just to take down a report and get everyone's information in one place. As far as insurance, most policies (yours) require you to file a claim with them. If you don't start a claim, you may be in breach of your contract which could give them a way out of paying and make you responsible. So, if you are looking to do the right thing. Call the police, start a report, and file a claim with your insurance company.

    licensed attorney in Montana. Your specific state laws may be different.

  2. It would have been best to call the police to make a report. I am assuming that it is too late to locate the car you hit to let them know what happened. You are obligated to contact your insurance company whenever you are involved in an accident. You will have to weigh the option of using your collision coverage to fix your car as you will have to pay your deductible or if it would be more cost effective to pay for it yourself.

  3. May be too late to make a police report but you should notify your insurance carrier as you are required to do so in the terms of your agreement with them.

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  4. I don't mean to be condescending, but even if you couldn't see any damage to the truck you should have left a note for them just as a courtesy (you can't turn back the clock but if it happens in the future - do it).

    As for your property damage claim, if you have minor damages it is MUCH smarter to go ahead and pay out of pocket to fix your car. You probably have a deductible to pay before your insurance kicks in and once you file a claim your insurance premiums will go up due to you being at-fault for the damage. Indeed, when I or a family member has been at-fault in a small fender bender, I will go ahead and pay for the other person's vehicle repair out of pocket. Over the long term, depending on how many cars you have insured and your insurance limits, you save money by paying out of pocket in that your insurance premiums aren't hiked as a result of your insurer paying a minimal amount to repaint scratches.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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