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Do I need to tell insurers about my wreck?

Question: If I did deferred adjudication for a wreck I was in, do I still have to mention the accident when applying for new insurance?  It should no longer be on my record.

Answer:  If you were in an accident and the resulting ticket didn’t end up on your driving record, that doesn’t necessarily mean that insurance companies won’t find out about the wreck.  Insurers also check into your claims history.

LexisNexis maintains a database called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.). Insurance companies request an auto loss report from them when someone applies for a new car insurance policy.   The C.L.U.E. report includes all losses reported within the past seven years and other basic information about your claims, such as the date of loss, loss type and amount paid.

To get accurate rates when shopping for new auto insurance, full disclosure is usually best.

The car insurance companies you are comparing rates with will determine if an incident is something they would rate on or not. If you don’t list the accident but an insurance company finds out about it from the claim report, then likely the original rate quote you received would be incorrect and the insurer would have to recalculate your premiums.

If you’ve already purchased a policy, then you could end up with an additional premium notice to pay in order to keep the policy in force.

Or there is the possibility of a cancellation notice if your insurer now determined that you’re ineligible to be offered a policy.  If you have an accident, there could be a denial of claims due to the misrepresentation of the previous accident.

As for your deferred adjudication, in our experience this type of plea deal is for traffic violations, not accidents. In Texas, where you live,  accidents are placed on your record by police and don’t note fault, just the date and location of the incident.

If you got a citation for a moving violation that ultimately ended with the offense being dismissed, then you shouldn’t have to disclose this traffic violation when getting a new car insurance policy. 

The exception to this is if the insurance application has a box for “violation dismissed,” then to err on the side of caution you can list the violation but check this box to show you weren’t convicted of it –- and thus it shouldn’t affect your rates. (See "Tickets that don't raise your insurance rates")

After an accident or a ticket, it’s critical to comparison shop to find the cheapest car insurance rates.  Insurance companies rating systems vary greatly and you can save hundreds, if not thousands, a year by looking around for the insurer that better fits your needs.

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