If someone hits my car, do I call my insurance or theirs?

You should always call your own insurance company after an accident, regardless of who you think is at fault.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2022

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Things to Remember

  • Your auto insurance company represents you as the driver, and you are required to notify your insurance agent when you have an accident, regardless of who is at fault
  • You should not contact the other driver’s insurance, as this may impair your ability to get compensation for damages from that insurer
  • You want to work with your insurance adjuster on any claims issues rather than contacting the other driver’s company

If you are in a car accident, you may be in shock and not know what steps to take. Even in you think you know who is at fault, you may wonder whose insurance company you should call.

You have exchanged information with the other driver and gotten their insurance company’s phone number. Although you may be tempted to call the other driver’s insurer to file a claim, you should not do so. Contacting the other insurance company directly can negatively impact your potential compensation

Instead, you need to report the accident to your own insurer. Read on to learn valuable information about what you are required to say when you have an accident and why you should not contact the other driver’s insurance company.

Whose insurance should I call after an accident?

If you are in an accident, you need to call your insurance company. This is true even if the other person is clearly at fault in the accident. Do not contact the other driver’s insurance company under any circumstances.

When you contact the insurance company, you will need to provide basic information such as the date and time of the accident. Other essential details include the address of where the accident took place, the part of your car that was damaged, and where your vehicle was taken after the accident.

You should also be able to recount details that led to the accident and the driving conditions. Write down this info at the time of the accident so you can give it to your insurer:

  • Police report number
  • Names of passengers or witnesses
  • Insurance policy information for other drivers
  • Name of the other drivers involved

Your insurance company will need complete and accurate information to process your claim correctly.

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What should you do after a car accident?

When you sign up for a car insurance policy, you agree to pay premiums for coverage by the insurer if you file a claim. As the policyholder, you also agree to specific terms and conditions. You want to make sure you have a good understanding of your car insurance policy.

You may be overwhelmed by the number of terms and conditions listed in your policy. You can comply with most of these obligations by maintaining your vehicle and license and not taking additional risks.

Most insurance companies require policyholders to provide notification if something happens that could result in a claim.

Insurers usually allow customers a time window to notify an agent of an incident. Be sure to contact your insurance company and make your agent aware of any incidents as soon as you are reasonably able to do so.

Consequences for Not Reporting Accidents

Insurance companies take notification requirements seriously for several reasons. The primary purpose is to limit the number of fraudulent claims filed. Remember that even if you don’t think you need to file a claim, the other drive might file one, and your insurance company will be contacted.

If you do not report an accident, your insurer can terminate your policy. If you lose coverage, you may have to pay for any claims from your personal funds.

The insurance company could also refuse to pay any claim against you if you did not notify your agent of the incident. This would also cause you to be personally liable to third parties for any damages.

Failure to report an incident is a breach of your insurance agreement that gives the insurer the standing to refuse to fulfill its end of the bargain.

Protection by Providing Notification

Your first line of defense against a false claim or an unfavorable coverage determination is to notify your insurer of any incident.

Some people do not report incidents because they are scared their rates will be increased. In fact, the opposite is true. If you violate the terms and conditions of your insurance agreement by failing to report an accident, your policy may be canceled. This will cost you more money as you will have to pay damages out of your own pocket.

If your policy is not canceled, your claim may be denied, or you could be found at fault. If the claim is denied, you would have to pay for any damages. If you are found at fault, your rates can get raised.

Your insurer will likely have an adjuster speak to you to evaluate the claim. Adjusters are trained to get facts favorable to the insurance company and reduce payouts on the claim. Your conversation will most likely be recorded. Any statements you make can be used against you and may impair your ability to make a proper recovery.

Your insurance company’s adjuster will work on your behalf to make sure the other driver’s insurance covers the damages as required.

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Getting Repairs Done Quickly

If the other driver’s insurance company is dragging its feet on paying your claim, you may not be able to use your vehicle for a while. You can avoid this situation by getting a full coverage policy through your insurer.

Under a full coverage policy, your insurer will pay for collision damages while awaiting the outcome of a final determination of who was at fault. If the other party is deemed responsible, your insurer will collect reimbursement for any payments made from the other driver’s insurer.

If you have an unsatisfactory experience in processing a claim with your current insurance, consider finding another carrier. Research the best companies for car insurance. Any existing claims will still need to be satisfied by your insurer at the time of the incident, so you may want to stay a customer until your claim is resolved.

Final Advice on Reporting Accidents

After an accident, you must contact your insurance company to alert an agent of the situation. A failure to report the incident could lead to negative consequences, such as cancellation of your policy or a refusal to pay claims.

It is never in your best interest to contact the other driver’s insurance company. You can also get your car repaired while awaiting a final determination of responsibility if you have a full coverage policy through your insurance company.

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