How do you handle a car accident without going through insurance?

I just got into a little fender bender, but the damage is so minimal that I can pay for it out of pocket. I don’t want my premiums to go up. Do I have to go through my insurance if I get into an accident?

Answer
Sorry to hear about your fender bender.
There are certainly ways to handle a car accident without going through insurance, but you’re going to want to keep very clear documentation of the incident. Take pictures of the damage and record all pertinent information, like license plates and ID numbers.
Don’t agree to anything verbally, and draft a document that you and the other party can both sign. It’s very important to have a paper trail of any agreements. It’s also a good idea to get a police report to add to your paperwork.
However, it may be in your best interest to go through insurance. Without filing a report or a claim the other person could do a couple of things that would make everything so much worse.
Let’s say you and the other party decided to handle this yourself. You don’t involve the police and you decide to pay for the accident in cash and go your separate ways. Well, the other person can take your cash and then file a claim to collect money twice. Your insurance might wonder why you didn’t file a claim.
They could also turn around and say you were the one at fault, and with no other paperwork on file it could turn into a hit and run. This could result not just in losing more money but also potentially jail time.
So, while it’s possible to not file a claim with insurance, proceed with caution.
If you go through insurance and your new rates are too expensive, it’s good to start looking elsewhere. Shop with Jerry! Jerry pulls quotes from over 50 top companies in under a minute and delivers the best deals right to your phone. The average Jerry user saves $879 a year on car insurance. Plus you can ask our customer service for assistance with finding discounts on your car insurance or if you have any questions.
Lauren Smith
Answered on Nov 11, 2021
Lauren has written for World Nomads, the Matador Network, Korvia Consulting, and once upon a time Three Fates Games. She graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with a BFA in Creative Writing. After graduating, she moved overseas and lived in South Korea where she spent her free time traveling and going on road trips with friends. She misses the rest stop potatoes and is trying to figure out how to recreate them at home. She's now based outside of Chicago and when she's not writing she spends her free time reading, playing video games, and exploring whenever she can.
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