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Not Informing Your Insurer About an Accident – What You Need to Know

Posted on May 21, 2024

You should notify your insurance carrier about an accident soon after the incident occurs, preferably within a day or two. However, failing to inform your insurance carrier about a collision could lead to significant consequences, even if the incident wasn’t your fault.

Reporting a Car Accident and Notifying Your Insurance Carrier Are Different Things

It’s a good idea to understand that reporting the accident to local law enforcement and notifying your insurance carrier are two separate responsibilities.

Reporting the accident to the police creates an official record of the incident, which is vital for both legal and insurance purposes. On the other hand, informing your insurance carrier ensures that you comply with the terms of your policy and allows them to start processing any claims.

In Chicago, like many other cities, it is standard procedure to call the police if the accident results in major property damage, injuries, or fatalities. After the police report is filed, you should promptly contact your insurance company to inform them of the incident. Delaying this notification can lead to complications and potential denial of coverage.

Why The Insurance Carrier Needs to Know About Your Crash in Chicago

Simply put, your insurance carrier has to know about a car crash

Simply put, your insurance carrier has to know about a crash. You agreed to this when you took out your policy. While that’s a good enough reason to report the incident, others include:

  1. Policy compliance. Your insurance policy is a contract that requires you to notify your insurer about any accidents promptly. Failing to do so may be considered a breach of contract, potentially leading to the denial of claims or even cancellation of your policy. In a bustling city like Chicago, where traffic accidents are frequent, adhering to these terms is vital to ensure you remain protected.
  2. Accurate claims processing. Insurance companies need to investigate accidents to determine fault and assess damages accurately. By notifying them promptly, you allow for a timely and thorough investigation, which is crucial for processing your claim efficiently. This is particularly important in Chicago, where traffic conditions and congestion can complicate accident scenes.
  3. Protection against uninsured motorists. In cases where the other driver is uninsured or does not have enough coverage to handle your losses, informing your insurer allows you to file a claim under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage is essential in a city like Chicago, where not all drivers carry sufficient insurance.

Three Things to Know if You Do Not Tell the Carrier About Your Collision

If you have not told your insurance carrier about a recent vehicle accident, there are some things we want to warn you about:

  • Denial of coverage. If you fail to notify your insurance carrier about an accident, they may deny coverage for any claims related to the incident. This means you could be personally responsible for all repair costs, medical bills, and legal fees arising from the accident. For instance, if you are involved in a fender bender on Michigan Avenue and do not report it, you might end up paying out of pocket for damages and injuries.
  • Increased premiums and policy cancellation. Insurance companies rely on accurate information to assess risk and set premiums. If they discover an unreported accident later, it can result in increased premiums or even policy cancellation. Insurers may view the failure to report as a sign of higher risk, leading to higher costs for you in the long run. In Chicago, where insurance rates are already higher than the national average, this can significantly impact your financial situation.
  • Legal consequences.  Not informing your insurer about an accident can also have legal repercussions. If the other party involved in the accident decides to file a lawsuit, your insurance company may refuse to defend you if they were not informed about the incident. This can leave you vulnerable to significant financial liabilities and legal battles. For example, if a pedestrian files a claim against you for an accident near Millennium Park, your lack of notification could complicate your defense and increase your legal expenses.

Call an Attorney Today

If you are unsure about your responsibilities after a vehicle accident or if you think you may be entitled to monetary compensation after an accident caused by someone else’s actions, we encourage you to contact an attorney immediately. A car accident lawyer in Chicago can examine your case and speak to you about the best options moving forward so you can recover the money you need soon.