Contractually speaking, nearly all auto insurance companies require a driver to report any accident they’re involved in, no matter how “minor.” However, in a seemingly minor accident, the parties might agree to work things out amongst themselves. It’s less hassle and they believe their insurance rates won’t go up. Bad idea…and here’s why.
After an accident, some injuries may take days or weeks to manifest. If you don’t report the accident to your insurance company right away, your account of the situation later may come into question.
If you were ticketed or issued a citation at the scene of a minor fender bender, word will get back to your insurance company. Don’t drag your feet in reporting it. An unreported accident might cause your premiums to not just rise, but skyrocket. Worse, your coverage may be discontinued.
Even if you were not at fault and decide to work things out with the other driver, the other driver may size up the situation differently once they’re at home. If they decide to file a claim days or weeks later, your insurance company may deny you certain protections since you failed to report the accident to them.
The only time it might make sense to avoid reporting an accident is if it occurs on your own property, no injuries are involved, and the only damage is to property you own (e.g., backing into your garage door). In this scenario there are no disputes about fault or cost of repairs.