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Can I keep my rates from going up if I don't file a police report?


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Question: Someone sideswiped my car in a hit-and-run accident. If I report it to my insurance without filing a police report, will my car insurance go up?

Answer: This accident, though not your fault, could affect your car insurance rates whether you file a police report or not.

However, a successful insurance claim could be dependent upon you filing a police report for the hit-and-run. Most insurance companies require a police report if your car is vandalized, stolen, or damaged by a hit-and-run driver.

If your car insurance company requires a police report and you fail to make one, then your claim may be denied.  By trying to keep the accident off your driving record, which may be unnecessary since many states don’t list accidents where you’re not at-fault, it may stop you from being able to make a claim.

I’d suggest making a police report and check to see if you need to file your own crash report with the state. Many states require a report if you have property damage over a certain dollar amount.

The sideswiping of your car wasn’t your fault, so it's less likely to affect your rates, but it’s still possible that it might since a surcharge to your premiums depends upon state laws and your car insurance company’s rating system.

For example, the New York State insurance regulator notes that you cannot be surcharged in this state if your vehicle is hit while it was legally parked or was struck by a hit-and-run driver. In other states, it’s left up to the insurer to determine if they will raise your rates for any type of accident or claim made against collision coverage.  Some will not, unless you have already had other claims against your car insurance policy in the recent years and the amount of claims you’ve now have pushed your rates up.

To find out what will happen in your specific situation, you should contact your car insurance company. They will tell you for certain if you need the police report to make the hit-and-run claim and can answer questions about how this claim may affect your rates.

If you have questions about state laws on when your car insurance company can surcharge you for accidents, you should contact your state’s insurance regulator. And if your rates do rise, then shop around for cheaper car insurance. Rating systems of car insurance companies vary, so your insurer may rate on this incident while others would not and thus give you lower premiums.

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