In many cases, you should report auto insurance claims promptly to the agency. Some carriers prefer that claims be reported directly to the insurance company. They provide 800 numbers which claim 24-hour service in reporting claims. However, most insurance company claim departments are not open on evenings or weekends and claim reporting is outsourced to firms that do not know anything about your policy or coverage.
Claims that involve injuries should be reported promptly to your insurance company. For claims that do not involve injuries, you may decide to pursue a claim through your insurance company or through the insurance company of the responsible driver. If your deductible is substantial, the latter approach may be more satisfying. If you have already had an accident under your policy and you report a second accident which is minor, you may jeopardize the renewal of your coverage. Furthermore, some companies will charge you higher rates for a new policy if you have a reported claim on your current policy that is closed without payment.
Agency personnel are available to return calls to you with questions about accidents that occur after hours. Whether you report the claim directly to the company or to the agency, you can make a phone call to the agency at any time if you are not sure how your claim should be handled.
Updated August 2020