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Adulting question, should you call the police after a minor car accident for insurance purposes?

Submitted by twovests in just_post

This isn't a hypothetical anti-defunding gotcha, this is a practical question for day-to-day life. My insurance tells me I need to call the police if I were to get into a car collision. If I were to get into a minor collision today, would calling the police be the right thing to do? If not, what would you do?

For the record, I am in the US

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flabberghaster wrote

So I had this question myself after I got hit by a car while I was on my bike. The day of, I didn't file anything I just got their insurance. Then over the course of the day everyone I spoke to including people whose opinions on the police system I trust, said yeah just file a report. So against my better judgment I did.

The cop told me that insurance doesn't actually need the report, they just want the police report because that usually determines fault. If the cops don't do it then insurance has to pay to get that figured out. So he claimed.

He also spent the whole time acting bored and like I was wasting his time, but as soon as I gave the other driver's name, he perked up and asked "oh -- did she speak English?"

So I don't know how much of what he said is true. I think in most states the police are supposed to be called for a crash that results in some amount of damage. Under that amount and they don't. I would look it up for your state myself, but for me, since that experience I have gotten in to a minor car crash and decided not to involve the police in any way and was happier for it.

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hollyhoppet wrote (edited )

he perked up and asked "oh -- did she speak English?"

wow lmao cops suck so much

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flabberghaster wrote

That is exactly what I feared and also why I didn't contact them after the car on car crash I was in later lmao

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twovests wrote

Oof, thank you for sharing this experience. Everything I read and people I talked to seemed to agree "call the police" but I didn't actually hear anyone with an experience where they didn't call the police.

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flabberghaster wrote

The crash I got I to later that was car on car, part of it was I figured I could afford to get it fixed on my own and partly because I suspected the other driver may not have had all the paperwork they were technically supposed to and I though getting insurance involved might also get police scrutiny they didn't need. So I decided to just cover it myself even tho it was 100% their fault. I don't want to ruin someone's life over it.

I don't know what I would do if the crash was much more serious. It wasn't cheap fixing my car even with the minor damage that was done. If I'd needed insurance idk.

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srsly wrote (edited )

Yes. In a perfect utopian society, you'd get an impartial judge or lawyer, but in this society you gotta get an impartial cop.

The important thing is to get someone impartial to create a trustworthy-as-possible third-party record so that when the dueling bureaucracies of the two insurance companies contend with each other, they stand a chance of resolving the incident. It also helps those bureaucracies feel comfortable knowing that the incident isn't a fraud.

Oh! And also! If it's the other person's fault, you need to make a report with THE OTHER PERSON'S insurance. That was a big confusion I carried well into my thirties!

edit: yeah as flabberghaster said, if the accident is just a bump and a scrape and you're not going to get a professional garage to repair the damage, it's not worth getting the police involved.

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twovests wrote

Yeah, this makes sense. I actually learned just now that states often do require a report, depending on the damages or injuries: https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/accident-reporting/

I guess I'll play it by ear, and depending on the wishes of the other driver (and, honestly, depending on the race and apparent gender of the other driver.) I have a front and back dashcam, which I believe should help with a no-police solution.