Always Notify Your Auto Insurance After An Accident
Many Alabama auto accident victims question whether they should notify their own auto insurance carrier after an accident. There are several reasons to do so and almost no reason not to so. First, your premiums will not go up solely because you notify them of an accident, especially if the accident was not your fault. Secondly, all insurance policies require “reasonable notice” of an accident so they can investigate the claim quickly. Additionally, the failure to notify them can sometimes void coverage.
We frequently deal with clients who are very reluctant to notify their auto insurance company, due to the fact that they were not at fault. However, the other driver may not feel the same way. And accident reports don’t always make it clear who is at fault. The better practice is to notify your carrier in case a claim is made against you.
Perhaps the most important reason to notify your own auto insurance carrier is to preserve your right to underinsured or uninsured motorist benefits. Alabama law requires all car insurance policies to have at least $25,000 in underinsured benefits. Additionally, every policy contains language requiring adequate notice of a claim for these benefits. The purpose of notice is twofold: One, the insurance company needs to perform a timely investigation and speak to the witnesses to establish who is at fault. Two, they have the right to consent to a potential settlement between their insured and the at-fault driver or withhold consent and sue the at-fault driver themselves to recoup the money they will be paying for underinsured benefits. In any event, failure to give an auto insurance carrier adequate notice of either the claim for uninsured benefits or notice of a proposed settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance, can be a bar to a recovery.
In light of the potential pitfalls associated with providing proper notice to your car insurance after an accident, always consult with a Birmingham car accident attorney who is experienced in dealing with serious auto crash claims.