This is a very common question and one that is not a simple yes or no. We talk about a few myths and facts surrounding calling the cops after an automobile accident.
Statistically, the most common scenario you will find yourself in while driving on the road is someone rear ends you. Whether it is just a tap or rocks the whole car it is never fun to get rear ended. Most people find this as a huge inconvenience, get out of the car to see if there is any damage, and if they don’t see anything usually, they go on their merry way but what they don’t see could come back to bite them later.
Myth: If someone hits me and I get their license and insurance info BUT I don’t call the cops, I can still claim it through their insurance and fix my car.
Fact: Just because you have someone’s license and insurance does not mean they are at fault. If you are on a public roadway the police report will make all the difference in determining the FAULT of the accident. If the other driver is not found to be at fault THEIR insurance company WILL NOT pay to fix your car. EVEN IF the person admits hitting you their insurance company can still determine that you had some fault and not pay the entire claim. This is avoided by obtaining a police report.
Myth: If I call the cops then I must use insurance, I don’t want to go through insurance.
Fact: By calling the cops you are obtaining a legal record of the accident happening. The cops will come out and make a police report by collecting information and statements of what happened from both drivers. It is a legal requirement to have insurance, but you do not have to use it if the damage is minor!
Myth: If I hit someone, I must call the cops and use insurance to fix vehicles.
Fact: In the event of a minor accident such as a bumper tap there is no legal requirement to call the cops OR use your insurance. You can pay for the other persons car out of pocket which in turn could save you money by not dinging your insurance.
It is in your best interest to ALWAYS call the cops if someone hits your car. This serves as a legal record of the accident and cannot be denied later by the person who hit you. No matter how honest or nice they sound, once you leave the scene of the accident if there is no police report it is almost like the accident didn’t happen, as there is no legal record. We have seen many scenarios where our policy holders were promised by the person who hit them that they would cover the damage and when it ends up being more than they thought they disappear. DON’T let this happen to you, EVEN IF it is an inconvenience and you are in a hurry getting the legal record of the accident is the single most important thing you can do to make sure your car gets fixed later.