15 Reasons You May Not Want to Report Your Accident to Your Insurance (And What to Do Instead)

Is reporting your accident to your insurance really the best option?

african american woman sitting on ground holding head in stress after having car accident
Updated May 28, 2024
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Have you ever been on the fence questioning yourself if you should report a fender bender or not? You might be worried that something so minor could have a huge negative impact on what you pay each month, and you’re not wrong.

Whether you don’t want to go through the admin headache or just are trying to keep more money in your bank account, you likely don’t want to report unless you have to.

If this resonates with you, check out these 15 reasons why you might consider not filing a claim with your car insurance provider.

You’ve reached an agreement with the other driver

Seventyfour/Adobe two young men shaking hands with each other while standing besides expensive car during day time under clear sky

If you and the other driver mutually agree that it makes sense to not report the accident, for various reasons, we will cover soon, then it might be okay to not share the details with your insurance.

However, it’s important to note that you should only consider the rest of the reasons listed if no one involved in the accident was injured.

The damage is minor

Vladyslav/Adobe black car with broken side mirror

If the damage to your vehicle is minor, reporting your accident to your insurance company might not be worth it.

Each time you file an accident report you take the chance that your insurance premium will increase. If the damage can easily be taken care of then there is no sense in paying for it every month for the foreseeable future.

The cost of damage is less than your high deductible

hbrh/Adobe man standing besides car door talking on smartphone at roadside parking

In the case that your insurance deductible, if your personal cost to fix the damage after a claim is high, it might make financial sense to avoid reporting the accident to your insurance.

Consider the cost to pay for the damage and estimate if it would be more cost-effective to pay for the damages out of pocket rather than pay a high deductible.

You can afford to pay the damages

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe two drivers involved in car accident talking on phone

When you have a combination scenario of minimal damage plus a high deductible you might want to consider paying for the damages out of pocket if it’s an affordable option for you.

Even in the case where the damage is slightly more expensive than your deductible, it might not be worth the hassle of reporting the accident if you have the means to pay for the out-of-pocket expenses yourself.

You're working on increasing your insurance score

Сергей Шиманович/Adobe hand using marker to draw colorful credit score graph on blue board

Similar to how a credit score works, an auto insurance score lets insurance companies know how risky you are to file a claim as a driver. Insurance companies look out for drivers who are constantly costing the insurance company money by filing too many claims.

If you have a history of numerous accidents, you take the risk of having a low insurance score which could prevent you from getting coverage in the future.

You want to avoid a premium increase

_KUBE_/Adobe female mechanis sitting on ground besides car using smartphone in workshop

If you report an accident to your insurance company there is a risk that your premium, the amount you pay to a car insurance company for protection for you and your car, will increase.

Since your rates could increase significantly, you may want to weigh the overall costs of each decision. Consider how much it will cost you to pay for the damage on your own versus paying an increased premium for the next six to 12 months.

You were driving someone else’s car

bilanol/Adobe male and female drivers standing besides smashed vehicles asking for help on mobile phones

In the scenario that you were driving someone else’s car, you might not want to report the accident for fear that their premium would increase on your behalf.

It could negatively impact you both since it was their vehicle but you were driving, depending on what the damage was and who was at fault.

You don’t want to be denied

qunica.com/Adobe man holding head in stress while sitting on road after car accident

If you have a history of accidents it's possible that if you get into another accident your claim could be denied by your current insurance provider. With a history of too many accidents you also take the chance of being dropped from your current insurance provider. 

If either of these scenarios happen in the future your only coverage option may be a very expensive alternative.

You don’t want to take the time to report

HBS/Adobe man in suit talking to young male mechanic at automobile workshop

Reporting an accident can be time-consuming. You may want to consider not reporting the accident to your insurance provider if the time and effort to make multiple calls and report photos are limited.

Depending on the damage that occurred you may find that reporting the accident isn't worth the time and effort involved.

You’re knowledgeable about fixing cars

auremar/Adobe female car owner sitting with male mechanic on ground inspecting dent on black car

Perhaps you or a close friend or family member is handy with cars. If that is the case and you can confidently work on minor damage, you may find the money spent and time involved with the insurance company isn’t worth it at all.

No one else was involved

StockPhotoPro/Adobe woman on a call requesting for car assistance after being stranded on the road

It’s possible that you hit your mailbox or damaged your car because of a curb or something else you didn’t see.

For these reasons, along with other possibilities listed, you might want to take the risk of not getting a higher premium in the future by not reporting the accident that you caused, especially if no one else was involved.

In addition, if you only have liability insurance you might not be covered for any damages caused by you to your own vehicle. So reporting the accident could get you a negative mark and you’ll still have to pay for the costs on your own.

You’re worried about your car being devalued

Prostock-studio/Adobe man exhausted while driving in traffic

There's a chance that if your car no longer has a clean history of zero accidents, the value of it could decrease.

Every time an accident is reported a report is also sent to agencies that keep records of your car’s history. These history reports warn potential future buyers of prior accidents and also can be a major factor when calculating the future value of a car.

Your employment requires a clean driving record

Kzenon/Adobe truck driver sitting on driving seat holding steering wheel while doing thumbs up

You might want to think twice about reporting an accident if you currently work at a job that requires a clean driving record.

Additionally, if you're currently looking for a job that requires a history of your driving records you might want to consider not reporting the accident in order to protect your future employment options.

Pro tip: You may want to find ways to make extra money to either pay for accident damage or to protect yourself from losing your job if something like this happens.

You rent cars frequently

Kadmy/Adobe cars for sale standing in multiple rows outside showroom on sunny day

Some insurance companies have a limit on how many accidents a renter could have under their history. These rental companies usually have a time frame in which they look back and will consider if it makes sense or not to rent their cars out to risky drivers.

If you have a history of too many reported accidents and have plans to rent a car in the near future you may want to consider not reporting the accident to your insurance.

The damage was pre-existing

Kalim/Adobe young woman standing in underground parking trying to clean scratch on car using hand

Although there seems to be damage done to your vehicle you might remember it is a possibility that the damage to the car existed before the accident. In this case, the fender bender you thought happened may not have actually occurred at that moment.

In the scenario that there’s no damage aligning with the other vehicle it might make sense to not report the accident after all.

Bottom Line

feeling lucky/Adobe woman on a phone call seeking car assistance with a broken-down car in the background

Reporting an accident does have its risks but not reporting an accident is also risky. There is a chance that there might be damage to your vehicle beyond what your eyes can see.

Weigh in on the financial risks to report an accident. In many scenarios, it might not make sense financially if you’re trying to save money on car insurance.

If you’re unsure, you can turn to your insurance agent even if you decide to not file a claim. They can help walk you through your options and you can make sure you’re best protected.

  • You could save up to $600 with some companies
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  • Quickly find the perfect rate for you

Author Details

Crystina Cardozo

Crystina Cardozo is a mom of two, financial literacy educator, a math specialist, and a real estate investor. Since her passion is in education, she focuses on educating families about how to build generational wealth. Her primary focus is to help close the wealth gap by making money a non-taboo topic in the household.