Getting into a car accident can be stressful enough without having to worry about insurance claims. Many drivers wonder if they can file an insurance claim if they don’t have a police report from the accident. The good news is, yes you can make an auto insurance claim without a police report. However, there are important factors to consider when deciding whether to file a claim without an official accident report.
Is a Police Report Required to File an Insurance Claim?
No, a police report is not required by law to file an insurance claim after an auto accident. As long as you have the necessary information like the other driver’s insurance details and a general account of what happened, you can proceed with starting a claim without a formal police document.
However, having an official police report can benefit your insurance claim in several ways:
- Provides an unbiased, third-party account of what happened
- May indicate which driver the officer believes was at fault
- Includes eyewitness statements and contact information
- Has photographs documenting damage and the accident scene
- Records details while fresh that may later be forgotten
So while you can file a claim without a report, it’s highly recommended to involve the police and obtain their official documentation of the incident if possible.
Why Wouldn’t You Have a Police Report?
There are various reasons why someone may lack a police report after an auto accident, such as:
Minor accident with no injuries or disabled vehicles – police may not respond or make a report
Occurred on private property – police do not always document accidents in parking lots, etc.
You did not call the police – failing to contact police at the scene
Left the scene – hit-and-run accidents often lack police documentation
Delayed reporting – waited too long to inform police after the fact
Even without an officer coming to the scene, you can still self-report the accident to the police. They will document your account of what happened. This is better than no report at all.
Can I File a Claim Without the Other Driver’s Information?
No, you will need the other driver’s identification and insurance information to proceed with a claim, even without a police report. This is required for your insurer to contact their insurance provider and sort out fault and compensation for damages.
If you lack the driver’s details, try to obtain their information from the vehicle’s license plate if you have it. Your insurer may also be able to track them down using the plate number through DMV records.
How Does Lacking a Police Report Affect My Claim?
While your insurance company will still process your claim without a police report, it can pose some challenges:
Determining fault becomes more difficult without an official accident account
The claims process may take longer without police evidence to support your version of events
You may have to submit other evidence like photos or witness statements to validate your report
Claims adjusters rely heavily on police reports to make liability and settlement decisions – lacking one removes an objective data point
The other driver may accuse you of being responsible since you lack official documentation
The insurance company will investigate the circumstances themselves through interviews and site reviews. But the lack of a police report may lead to a lengthier and more complex claims process.
Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim Without a Police Report
If you end up filing a claim without a police report, here are some tips to make the process smoother:
Call the police anyway – Even after the fact, inform them so they have a record. Provide a written statement.
Get witness information – Witness accounts help substantiate your version of events. Get their contact details and written statements.
Take photos – Thoroughly photograph damage to all vehicles and the accident scene. Document weather and road conditions as well.
Note important details – Write down what happened right away while it’s fresh. Diagram the accident scene if possible.
Keep records of conversations – Save texts, emails, and notes from discussions with the other driver or witnesses.
Cooperate fully with your insurer – Being transparent and responsive helps the investigation go smoothly.
Consult an attorney – For severe accidents, having legal guidance can ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
While an accident report certainly bolsters a claim, meticulously documenting the incident yourself and working closely with your insurer’s claims team can help your claim succeed without one.
How Long After an Accident Can You File a Claim?
Most insurance companies have a time limit you must file a claim by following an accident. In most states, you have 1-3 years depending on the state’s statute of limitations for property damage claims.
However, it’s important to report your accident and file a claim as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more skeptical insurance adjusters may be of your account. It also becomes harder to gather witness statements and accident documentation as time passes.
To protect your right to coverage, notify your insurer within 24 hours of an accident if at all possible, even without a police report.
Can I Get a Copy of the Police Report After Filing a Claim?
Yes, you can request a copy of the accident report from the police department. This may involve a small fee. The report contains highly detailed information valuable for your insurance claim and recovery.
Provide the report to your claims adjuster once obtained. It will help speed up the claims process and settlement. If the other driver is disputing your version of events, the police report lends you credibility.
Having issues getting a report? An attorney can petition the police department or court for its release if needed.
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Claim Without a Report?
An attorney is not required to file an insurance claim without a police report. However, for serious accidents involving injuries or major vehicle damage, consulting a lawyer is highly recommended.
They will handle the claims process on your behalf and go to bat retrieving any records, statements, or evidence needed to maximize your settlement. This takes the burden off you and provides experienced legal advocacy.
For minor accidents, cooperating fully with your insurer yourself can suffice. But know that an attorney is always an option to ensure you get what you deserve.
Key Takeaways – Filing Insurance Claims Without Police Reports
You can legally file an auto insurance claim without a formal police accident report. The police report simply bolsters your case.
Lacking a report may lengthen the claims process and require you to submit supplementary evidence to support your version of events.
Even if the police did not respond, call them anyway to self-report the accident and get documentation.
Obtain witness and driver contact details, take thorough photos, document conversations, and give your insurer a complete written statement.
For serious accidents, consult an attorney for guidance navigating the claims process and negotiations without police records.
Alert your insurance provider within 24 hours of an accident if possible and cooperate fully with their investigation.
While an official police report always benefits an insurance claim, you should not let its absence deter you from filing promptly. With thorough independent documentation and legal help if warranted, you can still achieve a successful claim outcome without a report.
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