May 18, 2022

Whose Insurance to Call First in a Car Accident

Stay calm. First, call 911 and let your car insurance provider know you’ve been in a car accident.

When you’re in a car accident, you might wonder whose insurance you should call first. We’d recommend calling your car insurance provider as soon as you’re done contacting the police. Even if you’re not at fault or there’s minimal damage, you should still notify your car insurance provider to avoid delaying repairs and coverage.

Call your insurance provider after you’ve called  the police and checked that all parties involved in a car accident are not injured. Whether or not you’re at fault you’re not responsible for contacting the other party’s insurance company. They are responsible for that.

 

Should I Talk to the Other Insurance Company After a Car Accident?

You don’t need to talk to the other insurance company. Your insurance company will work on the claim and coverage. However, if you are in an accident where the other driver is at fault, you may need to file a third-party car insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company and contact it briefly.

You can either file the third-party car insurance claim online or with the other car insurance provider, but we’d recommend consulting with your insurance provider on whether or not you should reach out to the other insurance provider.

The third-party insurance claim would help pay for your car repairs and medical expenses. From there, you might work with a claims representative or insurance adjuster from the other party to determine fault or any car repairs needed.

Why Call Your Insurance Company First After an Accident?

Here are some reasons for contacting your car insurance provider right away:

  • It can help provide coverage as soon as possible for damages or injuries.
  • It can assist with the claim process.
  • The other driver might allege injuries or damages later on, or your story might not correlate with what you said at the scene.
  • You might have out-of-pocket costs if you decide not to report the car accident right away.

Do I Need to Inform My Insurance Company Even if the Damage Isn’t Substantial?

Yes, you still should still call and notify your car insurance company even if there’s minimal damage during a collision or accident. However, you’re also not obligated to let it know. We recommend letting your insurance company know about an incident, since it’ll have a record of that if you need to file a claim, or if the other driver files a claim against you.

What to Do After You’re Involved in a Car Accident

Follow these steps after a car accident:

  1. Stay calm and contact 911 for injuries or immediate medical attention. If there are no injuries, report the car accident to the police regardless.
  2. Make sure no one is fatally injured.
  3. Take photos of the damage and the other driver’s license plate number.
  4. Document the time of the accident, the location, the weather, and the speed of the vehicle during the incident.
  5. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, including driver’s licenses, license plate numbers, insurance policy, phone numbers, addresses, and names.
  6. When the police arrive, tell them about the incident and ask for a copy of the police report. Write down their police badge numbers and names.
  7. If possible, find witnesses and get their contact information.
  8. Call and notify your auto insurance company about the car accident.1
Car insurance companies Phone number Email address or online form
21st Century 877-401-8181 service@21st.com
AAA 888-883-8417 https://www.fuzeqna.com/aaawebsupport/consumer/question.asp
AARP/The Hartford 800-423-6789 N/A
Amica 800-242-6422 https://www.amica.com/en/customer-service/contact-us/form.html
Allstate 800-255-7828 (1-800-ALLSTATE) https://messaging.allstate.com/corp.aspx
CarShield 800-277-7170 https://carshield.com/help-support/contact-us/
Clearcover 855-444-1875 support@clearcover.com
Concord Group 800-852-3380 https://www.concordgroupinsurance.com/about/contact-us
Dairyland 800-334-0090 https://www.dairylandinsurance.com/contact-dairyland-insurance
Direct 877-463-4732 https://www.directauto.com/emailus
Endurance 800-253-8203 https://www.endurancewarranty.com/contact/
Erie 800-458-0811 https://www.erieinsurance.com/contact-erie/customer-care
Esurance 800-378-7262 (1-800-ESURANCE) https://www.esurance.com/contact-email
Farmers 888-327-6335 https://www.farmers.com/contact-us/send-message/
Foremost 800-527-3907

(claims)

imaging@foremost.com
GAINSCO 866-GAINSCO (claims) gainsco.services@gainsco.com
GEICO 800-207-7847 https://www.geico.com/contact-us/email/
National General (formerly GMAC) 888-293-5108 Service@NGIC.com
Good2Go 855-646-4661 customerservice@good2go.com
Infinity 800-782-1020 customer.service@ipacc.com
Liberty Mutual 844-629-8984 N/A
Mercury 800-503-3724 (claims) https://cp.mercuryinsurance.com/guest/contact-mercury
MetLife 800-METLIFE N/A
Metromile 888-595-5485 (claims) N/A
Nationwide 877-669-6877 https://www.nationwide.com/personal/contact/online-form?language=en
Plymouth Rock 800-437-5556 rockcare@plymouthrock.com
Progressive 888-671-4405 https://www.progressive.com/contact-us/
Root 866-980-9431 (claims) help@joinroot.com
Safeco 800-332-3226 (claims) N/A
State Farm 800-782-8332 (1-800-STATE-FARM) N/A
The General 844-328-0306 customersupport@thegeneral.com
Travelers 800-252-4633 (claims) https://www.travelers.com/contact-us/email
USAA ​​800-531-8722 N/A

What Happens When Someone Hits Your Parked Car?

Here are the steps to take when someone hits your parked car:

  1. Call the police and obtain a police report for your claim.
  2. Determine whether the person left a note or fled the scene. If they left a note, document their contact information and let your insurance company know.
  3. Speak with possible witnesses.
  4. Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible.

Will My Insurance Rates Increase After Someone Hits My Car?

Whether or not you’re at fault in a car accident, you might see premium increases afterward. However, if you’re not at fault, your premiums won’t go up as much. An exception to the typical rate increase is if you have accident forgiveness coverage, which prevents your premiums from increasing after a specific number of accidents.2

TIP

We recommend contacting your insurance provider after someone hits your car. As a policyholder, you’re obligated to update your provider if you’ve been in an accident.

What if I Don’t Have Insurance When My Car Is Hit?

Your license might be suspended for not having insurance, with the exception of states like New Hampshire and Virginia, which don’t require insurance. You still need to file a claim with the other party’s insurance if you don’t have insurance when someone hits your car.

No-Fault and At-Fault State Systems

If you’re in an accident, look into what type of fault system your state observes: no-fault or at-fault.

Florida’s no-fault system lets you file claims through your own insurance provider to cover medical expenses. Additionally, when you’re at fault in an accidnet, you need to pay for the other party’s damage by filing a claim through your insurance.

In at-fault states, if you’re the driver who caused a car accident, then you or your insurance provider must pay for the cost of injuries or property damages to the other driver’s vehicle. The other party can also sue you for damages.3

State Fault system
Alabama At fault
Alaska At fault
Arizona At fault
Arkansas No fault
California At fault
Colorado At fault
Connecticut At fault
Delaware No fault
District of Columbia At fault
Florida No fault
Georgia At fault
Hawaii No fault
Idaho At fault
Illinois At fault
Indiana At fault
Iowa At fault
Kansas No-fault
Kentucky Optional
Louisiana At fault
Maine At fault
Maryland At fault
Massachusetts No fault
Michigan At fault
Minnesota No fault
Mississippi At fault
Missouri At fault
Montana At fault
Nebraska At fault
Nevada At fault
New Hampshire At fault
New Jersey Optional
New Mexico At fault
New York No fault
North Carolina At fault
North Dakota No-fault
Ohio At fault
Oklahoma At fault
Oregon No fault
Pennsylvania Optional
Rhode Island At fault
South Carolina At fault
South Dakota At fault
Tennessee At fault
Texas No fault
Utah No fault
Vermont At fault
Virginia At fault
Washington No fault
West Virginia At fault
Wisconsin At fault
Wyoming At fault4

What Types of Auto Insurance Cover Damage in a Car Accident?

Check your auto insurance policy for damage and loss coverage under six main insurance coverage types.

Liability Coverage

Liability insurance coverage includes both bodily injury liability and property damage liability in an at-fault accident. This type of coverage covers the other parties’ injuries and damages to their vehicle, including any of their personal property. However, it doesn’t cover you and your passenger’s bodily injuries, or an accident in which an uninsured motorist damages your car.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage provides additional coverage in the event that a driver without auto insurance crashes into your car. It covers your medical bills for bodily injury, damages to your car and property, and any lost wages.5

Collision Insurance Coverage

Although collision coverage isn’t legally required, we still recommend it, as it will cover the cost of repairs to your car after an at-fault accident.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage covers your car damages from incidents other than collisions, such as theft or vandalism.

Medical Payments Coverage and Personal Injury Protection

You can apply either medical payments coverage in at-fault states or personal injury protection (PIP) in no-fault states to your injuries. In no-fault states, PIP is required with an average minimum of approximately $13,000 per person and per accident and a range from $2,000 to $250,000. Medical payments coverage is an optional coverage that can help cover you or your passengers for medical expenses — even if you’re found to be at fault.6

Read our auto insurance guide to learn about how much auto insurance you need.

Should I Contact the DMV or Police After an Accident?

You might still need to contact your state DMV or local police after a car accident. Each state has its own rules and requirements regarding the deadlines and forms for reporting injuries, property damages, or fatalities following car accidents.

State General deadline to file Forms to fill out (if not investigated by police and you need to self-report) Minimum estimated amounts for reporting property damage, fatality, injuries
Alabama 30 days SR-13:
https://www.una.edu/police/docs/forms/sr-13.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages over any amount when the at-fault driver is uninsured
Alaska 10 days Alaska Motor Vehicle Crash Form:
12-209 https://dot.alaska.gov/sef/forms/CarCrash12-209.pdf
Property damages over $50

Injuries or property damages worth $2,000 or more

Arizona Immediately None specified Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $300
Arkansas 30 days SR-1:
https://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/driverServicesOffice/SR121.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
California 10 days SR-1:
https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv-virtual-office/accident-reporting/accident-reporting-form/
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
Colorado 10 days Traffic Crash Report DR3447:
https://www.codot.gov/about/committees/strac
/dr3447-folder/using-the-dr3447/dr3447-paper-report-page-handling
Not specified
Connecticut 5 days DAS Vehicle Incident/Accident Report:
https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DAS/Fleet-Operations/
Vehicle-Accident-Form.pdf?la=en
Death, injury, or property damages over any amount
Delaware Immediately Request crash report:
https://dsp.delaware.gov/traffic-unit/
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $500
District of Columbia Immediately Accident report with the Metropolitan Police Department:
https://mpdc.dc.gov/
Not specified
Florida 10 days Driver Report of a Traffic Crash (Self-Report):
https://flhsmv.gov/pdf/forms/90011s.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth at least $500
Georgia Immediately Personal Report of Accident:
https://dds.georgia.gov/sites/dds.georgia.gov/files/
related_files/document/accidentreport_dds_190_rev0116.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $500
Hawaii Immediately State of Hawaii Motor Vehicle Accident Report:
https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/
documents/mvar_final_combined_pages.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $3,000
Idaho Immediately Crash Reports:
https://www.accessidaho.org/secure/itd/ohs/crashreports/search.html
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,500
Illinois 10 days SR-1050:
https://policeepi.uic.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/751/2020/09/
Illinois_PoliceSR1050_2013.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,500 (if all drivers are insured)
Indiana 10 days Report of Incident:

https://forms.in.gov

Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
Iowa Immediately Iowa Accident Report:
https://iowadot.seamlessdocs.com/f/IowaAccidentReport
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,500
Kansas Immediately Online Accident Report:
https://www.kansas.gov/accident-reports/
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,500
Kentucky 10 days Request copy of accident report from Kentucky State Police Headquarters:
https://kentuckystatepolice.org/civilian-collision-reports/
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $500
Louisiana Immediately Louisiana State Driver’s Accident Report Form DA 2041:
http://www.dnr.louisiana.gov/assets/docs/intranet/Forms/
Driver%20Safety%20Accident%20Report.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $500
Maine Immediately Maine Crash Reporting Online:
https://www1.maine.gov/online/mcrs/
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
Maryland 15 days Motor Vehicle Accident Report:
https://mdsp.maryland.gov/Organization/Pages/SupportServicesBureau/
Central%20Records%20Division/CRD-Document-Page.aspx
Death, injury, or property damages over any amount
Massachusetts 5 days Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report:
https://www.mass.gov/doc/motor-vehicle-crash-operator-report/download
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
Michigan Immediately Traffic Crash Report:
https://www.mass.gov/doc/motor-vehicle-crash-operator-report/download
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
Minnesota Immediately Minnesota Crash Record Request Form:
https://www.mass.gov/doc/motor-vehicle-crash-operator-report/download
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
Mississippi 10 days Mississippi Crash Report:
https://www.ms.gov/dps/crash_reports?
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $500
Missouri 30 days Motor Vehicle Accident Report:
https://dor.mo.gov/forms/1140.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $500, or if an involved party doesn’t have liability insurance
Montana 10 days Crash Release Form:
https://media.dojmt.gov/wp-content/uploads/Crash-Release-Form-Fillable.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
Nebraska 10 days Driver’s Crash Report:
https://ecmndotportal.nebraska.gov/NDOT-CRASH-REPORTING5
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,500
Nevada 10 days SR-1:
https://dmvnv.com/pdfforms/sr1.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $750
New Hampshire 5 days Motor Vehicle Accident Report:
https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/dmv/forms/documents/dsmv400.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
New Jersey 10 days SR-1:
https://njdot.prod.simpligov.com/prod/Portal/
ShowWorkFlow/AnonymousEmbed/a24cb054-6900-4ab2-97c8-67f1f64ae7a0
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $500
New Mexico 5 days Vehicle Accident or Vandalism Form:
https://www.generalservices.state.nm.us/transportation-services/
online-forms/report-a-vehicle-accident/
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $500
New York 10 days Report of Motor Vehicle Accident:
https://dmv.ny.gov/forms/mv104.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
North Carolina Immediately Crash Report:
https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/downloads/Documents/TR-67A.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
North Dakota Immediately Request for Crash Report Information:
https://www.dot.nd.gov/forms/sfn04901.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
Ohio Immediately Crash Report:
https://publicsafety.ohio.gov/static/bmv3303.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $400
Oklahoma 20 days (death); 30 days (collision with no injuries or death) Collision Report Form:
https://oklahoma.gov/dps/forms/computer-fillable-collision-report-form.html
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $300
Oregon 72 hours Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report:
https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Forms/DMV/32fill.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $2,500
Pennsylvania 5 days Driver’s Accident Report:
https://www.dot.state.pa.us/public/PubsForms/Forms/AA-600.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages over any amount
Rhode Island 21 days Accident Report:
https://risp.ri.gov/safety/vehiclesafety/accident.php
Death, injury, or property damages worth at least $3,000
South Carolina 15 days Collision Report:
https://www.scdmvonline.com/SCTRNS/Public/Transactions/Info.aspx
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
South Dakota Immediately Crash Report:
https://www.safesd.gov/
Property damage worth more than $1,000, any injuries or deaths, or $2,000 of total losses per accident7
Tennessee 20 days Crash Report:
https://www.tn.gov/safety/driver-services/crashreport.html
Any injury or fatality, or property damages over $1,500
Texas Immediately (injury or death); 10 days (property damage) Crash Report:
https://cris.dot.state.tx.us/public/Purchase/app/home
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
Utah 10 days Crash Report:
https://highwaypatrol.utah.gov/traffic-accidents-faqs/#Report%20Copy
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,500
Vermont 72 hours Report of a Motor Vehicle Crash:
https://dmv.vermont.gov/sites/dmv/files/documents/VA-004-Operator_Crash_Report.pdf
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $3,000
Virginia Immediately Request Crash Report:
https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/pdf/crd93.pdf
Property damages, injury, death
Washington 4 days Request Collision Report:
https://fortress.wa.gov/wsp/wrecr/WSPCRS/
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $700
West Virginia Immediately Report of Motor Vehicle Accident (AR-13):
https://transportation.wv.gov
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000
Wisconsin Immediately Wisconsin Driver Report of Crash DT4002:
https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/safety/crsh-rpt/default.aspx
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000

Government property damage of more than $200

Wyoming Immediately Accident Release Form:
https://www.dot.state.wy.us/home/
driver_license_records/formsapplications/page.html
Death, injury, or property damages worth more than $1,000

Should I File a Claim?

If you’ve been in a car accident, you might want to file a claim. We’ve compiled a few pros and cons of filing a claim.

  • The cost of damages might be higher than your deductibles.

  • Your insurance provider can help cover expensive damages or injuries as soon as possible.

  • It might help you avoid going to court.8

  • You might have insurance premium increases after filing a claim, depending on your provider.

  • The settlement offer through your insurance provider might not be enough to cover all damages.9

  • You need policy information, a police report, photos of damages, incident information, and the contact information of involved parties in order to file a claim. Gathering this information could be arduous.10

Recap

If you’re worried about high-cost accidents, notify your insurance company of the incident as soon as possible. Maintain communication with your provider to find out if your policy covers damages, injuries, or other losses.

Citations

  1. Someone Hit My Car, Whose Insurance Do I Call? J.D. Power. (2021, Apr 29).
    https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/someone-hit-my-car-whose-insurance-do-i-call

  2. Accident Forgiveness. Allstate.
    https://www.allstate.com/auto-insurance/accident-forgiveness

  3. What is the Difference Between a Fault and No-Fault State for Car Crash Claims?. Roden Law. (2020, Mar 3).
    https://www.rodenlaw.com/blog/fault-vs-no-fault-car-insurance/

  4. What states have no-fault insurance?. Nationwide. (2016, Nov).
    https://www.nationwide.com/lc/resources/auto-insurance/articles/no-fault-insurance-states

  5. Uninsured Motorist Insurance. Progressive.
    https://www.progressivecommercial.com/coverages/uninsured-motorist/

  6. What Is Medical Payments Coverage?. Allstate. (2017, Oct).
    https://www.allstate.com/resources/car-insurance/medical-payments-coverage

  7. South Dakota Car Accident Laws. Nolo.
    https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/south-dakota-car-accident-laws.html

  8. Should I file an auto insurance claim or pay for the damage out of pocket?. Credit Karma. (2020, Nov 18).
    https://www.creditkarma.com/auto/i/should-you-file-auto-insurance-claim

  9. The Pros and Cons of Settling a Car Accident Insurance Claim. Vargas Law Office.
    https://www.vargaslawoffice.com/pros-cons-settling-car-accident-insurance-claim/

  10. Should I File a Claim? Travelers.
    https://www.travelers.com/claims/report-claim/should-i-file-a-claim