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You were involved in a minor, low-speed accident. The damage was very minimal, and nobody was injured. Should you alert your insurance company and risk a rate hike, or keep quiet and just pay the repair costs out of pocket?

The answer: Call your insurance company, unless the damage is confined to your own vehicle and the repair cost is less than your insurance deductible.

Cooperation Clauses

Most automobile insurance policies include a cooperation clause that requires the insured to report claims within a reasonable amount of time. This could mean the same day, the next day, or within a week or two. A phone call to your agent will meet this obligation.

Even if no one is hurt and the damage seems minimal, minor damage can cost thousands of dollars to fix, much more than the $500 deductible common with many collision insurance policies. And lack of immediate injuries can be deceiving, since many soft-tissue injuries can take a day or two to manifest.

It’s also a good idea to call the police and get a report filed. If you don’t, the situation could turn into your word against the other motorist’s, which is never a good position to be in.

Colorado Law Regarding Reporting Accidents

Colorado law requires that all automobile accidents be reported immediately. This can be done in one of two ways:

  • You can summon a police officer to the scene of the accident, and the officer will conduct an investigation and gather information from all the parties involved, including any available witnesses.
  • You can file a report using Colorado’s online accident report form or by downloading and filling out a counter crash report.

Don’t Take the Chance

If you choose not to report an auto accident and hidden costs surface later, your insurance company might refuse to pay because they didn’t have a chance to investigate the crash. Even relatively minor damage can add up to an expensive repair bill, so involving your insurance company will help ensure that you don’t get stuck with the entire bill.

Image by state farm

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