What Happens if You Don’t Report an Accident to Your Insurance in Florida

Do I Have To Report an Accident to My Insurance

Getting into a car accident is always a stressful situation. Even if it was a minor fender bender, you still have to deal with the initial shock while taking the time to pull over and exchange information with the other driver. This almost always means disruptions to your daily life, such as being late for work or taking the kids to school.

Yet another concern for many is reporting the accident to their insurance carrier. Getting into an accident is something that no one plans on happening, and when it does, you may wonder about how serious an accident needs to be to report the accident to your insurance carrier. It’s also common to ask what happens if you don’t report the accident to your insurance.

To help you get clear answers, we’re sharing the following guide. Read on to understand the benefits of reporting your accident to your insurance carrier and how a lawyer can assist with this process.

Do I Have to Report an Accident to My Insurance in Florida?

The shortest answer is that you are not legally required to report an accident to your insurance provider. But depending on the terms of your policy, you may be contractually obligated to by your carrier.

While reporting may seem like a hassle, you pay for your insurance to protect you in the event of an accident. By not reporting it to your carrier, you may be denying yourself necessary medical and property damage coverage. Car accident injuries can have a delayed onset, which is why it is also important to seek immediate medical care after an accident, even if you don’t think you were hurt. Reporting the accident to your insurance provider is important because you are entitled to coverage under Florida law.

Not reporting an accident to your insurance may also expose you to liability if the other party reports the collision to their insurance carrier and begins an investigation.

What does Florida law require after getting into a car accident?

Reporting to your insurance and reporting an accident to law enforcement are different circumstances. There are specific situations where you are required by law to report the accident to the police. These include:

  • If a commercial motor vehicle was involved in the accident
  • If any of the drivers involved were under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • If any of the cars have to be towed
  • If anyone is complaining of pain or discomfort

It is also important to understand that it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident. So even if none of the above occurs, and you still flee the scene of the accident, you may still face criminal charges if someone reports the accident to authorities.

If you are in a relatively minor accident where no one is immediately injured, you exchange information, there is little to no property damage, and you do not contact the police, you may wonder what the point is to contacting your insurance. Even in this situation there are several key reasons why any motorist should report the collision and possibly file a claim.

Why You Should Notify Your Car Accident to Your Insurance Company

You may be required by contract.

When you purchase car insurance, you agree to legally binding contractual terms. In the same way the insurance provider has a duty to cover your losses under certain circumstances and provide legal representation if the other driver sues you, you have a duty to comply with your end of the contract. This may include reporting an accident within a specific period of time — and cooperating in their investigation.

Failing to do so can put you in breach of contract. As a result, your policy premiums could be increased or the insurance company may even cancel the contract, leaving you vulnerable if the other driver files a lawsuit.

Your insurance company will cover some or all of your injuries.

Florida is a no-fault state. This means your carrier is required to cover a portion of your damages regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Take for example if you are waiting at a red light and someone rear-ends you. Even if it seems like a minor accident, you could end up with whiplash or find out you have herniated disks a few days, or even months, down the road. Symptoms may not even appear until much later.

Your own insurance company will cover up to $10,000 in medical bills and lost wages, as long as you report the accident within 14 days from it happening.

If you weren’t at fault, your insurance premium won’t increase.

Your car insurance carrier cannot increase the cost of premiums due to the crash unless they can make a determination that you were substantially at fault for the accident. They can make this determination by conducting their own investigation. Raising them automatically is considered to be an unfair practice prohibited by law.

If you don’t file a claim and the other driver does, the opposing side will have a head start on the investigation.

Sometimes, accidents aren’t so clear cut. You may think it happened because the other person failed to slow down and was not aware of the fact that your brake lights weren’t working, making you partly responsible for the accident.

Take this scenario and imagine that the other driver did report their claim to their own insurance company while you didn’t. Their insurance company will start an investigation, locating witnesses, requesting surveillance footage, and getting medical records from the other driver. Meanwhile, your insurance company is in the dark. If the case ends up in litigation, you’ll want to have as much of a level playing field as possible.

Contact Clark Hartpence Law for a Free Consultation

Car accidents are time sensitive, but you should never feel like it’s too late to report the collision to your insurance. If you have questions, an attorney can help.

If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. The longer you wait, the higher the chance of missing the opportunity to file for certain damages, or obtain reliable evidence for your case.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.