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  • When To Report An Auto Accident To The DMV

    Most―but certainly not all―states require drivers to report auto accidents to the DMV at some point, and it’s important to understand if and when you must report accidents to the DMV before you’re involved in one.

    Auto Accidents You Must Report

    When To Report An Auto Accident To The DMV

    If your state requires you to report car accidents to the DMV, it probably doesn’t want you to report every single accident. Typically, there are certain conditions that call for a DMV report.

    In most states, you must report an accident to the DMV if the accident:

    • Caused a certain amount of property damage (in addition to a vehicle, this could include other kinds of property). If your accident was minor, don’t just assume it didn’t cause enough damage to file a report.
    • Resulted in injury.
    • Resulted in death.

    NOTE: Most states impose a time limit for reporting accidents.

    Find Your DMV Auto Accident Report Form

    Depending on where you live, you can obtain an auto accident report form from:

    • Your local DMV branch or the state’s DMV website.
    • Your local police station.
    • Your auto insurance company.

    Be sure to keep a copy of the auto accident report. Your car insurance company might want to see it as part of the accident claim investigation.

    Don’t Forget to File a Police Report

    Just as many states require drivers to report certain car accidents to the DMV, many states also require drivers to file police reports.

    Generally, it’s pretty easy to determine whether―and under what circumstances―your state requires police reports. A quick phone call to your local DMV branch or police station, or a visit to your state DMV website, will let you know.

    Also, if a law enforcement officer is called to the scene of the accident, you can bet you’ll find out whether or not a police report must be filed.

    Keep in mind that your car insurance company might also require a police report as part of the auto accident claims process―and your claims adjuster might want a copy of it.

    Depending on your state, you can obtain a copy of the report from either the DMV or the law enforcement agency that handled the accident. Each state has its own procedures in place, so note that you might have to request the form in person, online, over the phone, or by mail―and you might have to pay a small fee.