Do I have to tell my car insurance provider if I’ve had a crash?

Do I have to tell my car insurance provider if I’ve had a crash?
Do I have to tell my car insurance provider if I’ve had a crash?

Car crashes range in severity from minor parking bumps to serious collisions with wide-ranging and potentially fatal consequences.

In accidents where there has been a lot of damage or injury it seems obvious to involve insurance companies.

But what if there’s little damage or you don’t want to make an insurance claim, perhaps to protect your no claims discount?

Read more: Revealed: the best time to buy car insurance to save hundreds

Even in these circumstances you have to tell your insurer.

All motor policies will include a clause stating that you must report any accident to your insurer within a “reasonable time” but this does not mean you have to make a claim.

car insurance crash
Even if you plan to pay for the repairs yourself you must tell your insurer about any crash

You should write to your insurer with details of the incident – the where, what when etc – but make it clear that this is for “information only” and that you don’t want to make a claim.

Failing to inform your insurer could give them a reason to refuse you cover in the future. It could also lead to problems if someone tries to make a claim against you at a later date.

What else to do if you’re in a crash

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 if you’re involved in a crash that results in someone else’s injury, damage to another vehicle of someone else’s property or the death of an animal (as defined in this list) you must:

  • Stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable period
  • Give your vehicle registration number, your name and address, and that of the vehicle owner (if different), to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for those details
  • If you do not exchange those details at the scene, you must report the accident in person at a police station or to a police constable as soon as you can, and in any case within 24 hours.

If there is injury to another person you must also produce your certificate of insurance to anyone who has reasonable grounds to request it. If, like many people, you don’t have that in your car you must report the incident to police and present your insurance certificate to them within 24 hours.

Failing to stop and failing to report an incident are both criminal offences that carry fines of up to £5,000 and 10 penalty points.

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