when the police don’t show
how to report your accident
Police reports are important for the post-accident claim process. But what if the police aren't able to show up to the scene of your accident? What's your next step? We'll explain why this happens and what you can do to make sure an official accident report exists.
Three reasons the police may not show
There are 3 primary reasons the police may not arrive at the scene after you call 911.
The police generally assign certain levels of priority to incidents. Depending on what else is going on, your accident may not be a priority if nobody was injured.
Property damage was too minor
Some jurisdictions may not send an officer if the accident damage is minor. If you think the damage is under $500, the local police may not be required to take a report at the scene.
During extreme weather (blizzards, earthquakes, severe storms, etc.), the police might not be able to take your accident report in person. This may be because the accident damage is considered minor compared to other accidents or traffic situations.
Reporting the car accident
Even though the police don't always make it to the scene, reporting your accident is still important. The police dispatcher may be able to explain how you can file an official report after the fact.
Filing an official accident report
If the police can't come to the scene of your car accident, you can go to them — in person or (sometimes) online. Head to the nearest police department (or their website) to file an incident report yourself. Some states require that you file a report if there's a certain amount of damage involved — in Massachusetts, for example, you have 5 business days to report a car accident if damage exceeded $1,000, someone was injured, or a driver fled the scene.
Even if the damage seems minor, an official report can help in case something unexpected happens. If the other driver decides to sue for damages or you notice a clicking sound days after the crash, for example, the official report can present an objective account of what happened.
Before heading to the nearest police department, it helps to have this info handy:
- Names and insurance information of the drivers involved
- Names and phone numbers of any witnesses
- Pictures of both vehicles at the scene
No police at the scene, no problem filing your claim
There are times when police officers are too busy or don't consider an accident serious enough to arrive at the scene. It happens, and it doesn't need to affect your car insurance claim.
If you're an Esurance customer and you're involved in an accident, file your claim online or call us at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262) as soon as you can. A dedicated claims rep will help you get the process started and give you some helpful advice on how to get the official police report.
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