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If I get in a fender bender, can both drivers just settle with cash and leave the insurance companies out of the equation?

 

A:

 

There are many situations that you will run into in life that are better when kept under the radar, so to speak. Maybe you avoid telling your wife that you did not care for the dinner she made, or maybe you choose not to tell your friend that you went to the Tampa Bay game without him. Sometimes, keeping a little secret keeps people from getting hurt; in the world of car accidents, however, this is not the case.

Many people assume that when an accident is very minor, maybe a scrap or a ding, that they are better off not telling the insurance company. They figure that the repairs will not cost them much out of pocket, and it would be cheaper to pay cash than to risk a higher premium. While a small accident may not need to be reported to the police—remember, Florida law only requires you to report accidents to the police with $500 or more of damage or if someone was injured—you are always advised to contact your insurance if your accident involves another car or driver. Why? The following are a few examples:

  • The damage may turn out more expensive than you think. If you struck a deal with the other driver for $300 cash, but then find out that the repairs will cost more, the insurance company may have to become involved. This will eventually lead back to you, and it could cost you with your own insurer.
  • Injuries often take a few days to appear. Whiplash, one of the most common injuries after a minor crash, usually takes a while to surface. Should you require medical attention, you may wish that you had gotten the other driver’s insurance information.

Honesty is always the best policy with your car insurance company following an accident. The only time that it may be appropriate to avoid dealing with insurers after an accident is if you were the only occupant in your car, and you damaged your own property—there will be no one to cause problems for you later, and there will be nothing to dispute.

Do you have more questions about reporting your accident to the insurers? Click on the live chat box on this page to speak with a member of our legal team now!

 


Damian Mallard, Esq.
Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney