Do I Have to Report an Accident to My Insurance in Texas?

Do I Have to Report an Accident to My Insurance in Texas?

In Texas, the aftermath of a car accident can be a complex and overwhelming experience, especially when it comes to dealing with insurance. If you're involved in a vehicular accident, it's crucial to understand your obligations regarding reporting the incident to your insurance company. Texas law stipulates that you must report accidents to your insurer, especially if there is significant property damage or someone is injured.

If you're injured in an accident, focus on your health and safety first. Get medical help promptly and consider the legal steps you need to take. Consulting with an auto accident attorney early on can be helpful as they can advise on preserving evidence, dealing with insurance companies, and understanding the time limits for filing a lawsuit in Texas, usually two years from the accident date.

In this article, the professionals at Stewart J. Guss Injury Lawyers will discuss Texas accident reporting laws, answer some frequently asked questions on the subject, and tell you how our firm can help.

Texas Accident Reporting Laws

Red Car in an Accident. Image Detail with Selective Focus.

In Texas, if you're in a car accident that causes injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage, you're required by law to report it immediately. Not reporting these accidents can result in fines and other penalties.

Keep the following in mind:

  • When reporting a car accident in Texas, you need to share your contact and insurance details with the other people involved
  • You should also help anyone who's been injured and gather evidence like photos and witness statements
  • If the police are called to the scene, it's essential to get a copy of their report
  • If the police don't come to the scene, you must fill out a crash report, Form CR-2 (also known as the "Blue Form"), and submit it to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) within ten days

Following these reporting laws is crucial for protecting everyone legally and financially. It helps with insurance claims and legal processes and encourages honesty and responsibility after a car accident.

Insurance Claims Process in Texas

When you're involved in an accident in Texas, understanding the insurance claims process is crucial for a smooth experience. Each step must be handled carefully to protect your rights and interests.

Initiating a Claim

Immediately after an accident, contact your insurance company to initiate a claim. Provide them with the basic details of the incident, including the time, date, location, and a general description of what happened. Starting this process as soon as possible is important, as insurance companies often have a limited window within which you must report an accident.

Information Exchange and Documentation

During the claim process, you will need to exchange information with the other party involved. Gather and provide the following:

  • Name, address, and phone number
  • Insurance company name and policy number
  • Vehicle information, such as the make, model, and license plate number

Accurate and thorough documentation is vital. Collect evidence such as:

  • Photographs of the scene and damages
  • Police reports, if available
  • Witness statements and contact information

Claim Investigation

Your insurance company will conduct a claim investigation to determine fault and assess damages. First, you’ll communicate with an adjuster who will review your claim and evidence. Your vehicle will likely need to be inspected for damages, and you may be asked to provide additional information as requested by the insurance adjuster during their investigation.

Impact on Insurance Premiums

When you report an accident to your insurance company in Texas, understand that it could increase your insurance premiums. Factors affecting premium rates include the following:

  • Your Driving Record: A clean driving record might reduce the impact of an accident on your premium. Conversely, your premium may increase more significantly if you have previous infractions.
  • At-Fault vs. No-Fault: Your premiums are likely to rise if you're determined to be at fault for the accident. In no-fault incidents, or if you're not to blame, the increase may be minimal or none at all.
  • Severity of the Accident: Major accidents resulting in substantial claims can cause a greater premium hike as opposed to minor incidents with lower claim amounts.
  • Discounts: Your eligibility for specific discounts (safe driver, multi-car, etc.) could offset premium increases post-accident.

In Texas, failing to report an accident to your insurance company may lead to severe penalties, including legal actions against you, and can affect your ability to file a claim within the legal time limits.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

  • Financial Fines: You could face fines if found in breach of your insurance policy's terms for failing to report an accident.
  • Policy Cancellation: Your insurer may cancel your policy, making it difficult and more expensive to obtain coverage in the future.
  • Legal Actions: If the other party involved in the accident decides to take legal action, you could be disadvantaged for not having reported the incident timely to your insurer.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Claim

  • Personal Injury: You have two years from the accident date to file a claim for personal injuries resulting from a car accident.
  • Property Damage: Property damage claims must also be filed within two years of the accident date.

Failure to adhere to these timelines may result in losing your right to claim any compensation for the accident.

Accident Reporting FAQ

Let’s look at some of the common concerns, myths, and facts about reporting your car accident in Texas:

  • Must I report every car accident to my insurance in Texas?
    Regardless of severity, it's advisable to report all accidents to your insurance. Policy terms often require notification of any collision, and failing to report can complicate future claims.
  • How soon after an accident should I contact my insurance?
    Contact your insurance company as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of the accident, to ensure a swift claims process. However, while prompt reporting is recommended, Texas has no specific legal requirement stating a 24-hour timeframe. 
  • Can I choose not to report to avoid a premium increase?
    While you may be tempted, withholding information can lead to policy cancellation or non-renewal. Insurers value transparency, even for minor accidents or fender benders.
  • Myth: Reporting an accident will always raise your premiums.
    Fact: Not necessarily. Factors like your driving history, responsibility for the accident, and coverage details influence rate changes.
  • Myth: If there's no damage, there's no need to report.
  • Fact: Even if the damage isn't visible, there may be internal harm or later claims from the other party, making reporting beneficial.

Remember, your insurance is there to protect you. Open communication following an accident is a vital part of maintaining that protection.

Let Stewart J. Guss Injury Lawyers Handle Your Insurance

From the moment you suffer an injury, prompt legal representation is critical. Texas law grants you two years to file a personal injury claim, but the complexities of your case need immediate attention. Connecting with us swiftly enables us to collect vital evidence and handle interactions with insurance companies on your behalf. You deserve to focus on healing, not the stress of insurance claims or settlement discussions.

Moreover, our team is known for their personal approach and believes you are more than just a case number. Coupled with a no-fee guarantee, we pledge to win your case before we get paid, aligning our success with your compensation.

If you've been hurt due to someone else's negligence, connect with the highly regarded attorneys at Stewart J. Guss Injury Lawyers. Contact us for a free consultation today, and let us handle your insurance claim.