Insurance Q&A: “Do insurance companies report accidents to the DMV?”
The short answer is “no.” Insurance companies do not report accidents to the DMV.
But that doesn’t mean the DMV isn’t aware of an accident you were involved in.
Accidents that generate a police report are filed with the DMV. In some states, however, police reports aren’t necessary generated for minor accidents.
If this is the case, there’s no information to report to the DMV (and the insurer isn’t going to report the accident if a claim isn’t filed).
In fact, insurers aren’t aware of an accident unless it is reported to them and an insurance claim is filed in the first place.
Note: Every insurance policy requires the insured to file a claim for every accident…no matter how small.
Unfortunately, many accidents are not reported because individuals choose to try to settle the damages “without getting the insurance companies involved.”
Don’t go this route. An insurance company can deny future claims resulting from an accident you didn’t report (it’s in the policy contract you signed, take a look).
You pay someone $500 out of your own pocket to pay for his dented bumper and don’t tell the insurer.
A few weeks later you get a letter from the guy’s attorney, suing you for $20,000 worth of medical bills.
Your insurer will deny your claim because you didn’t report the incident in the first place…this happens EVERY SINGLE DAY in the United States.
What Is Reported to the DMV?
Your insurance company does exchange information with the DMV when it relates to SR22 filings.
If you are caught driving without insurance or convicted of another serious driving offense (think DUI or leaving the scene of an accident), your insurance company must present monthly paperwork (actual paper or electronically) to the DMV to demonstrate that you have at least the state minimum car insurance policy in-force.
And if your policy lapses for any reason, your insurer will notify the DMV immediately.
Forget to make a monthly payment or just let the policy expire, and the insurer will blow the whistle to the state.
Depending on which state you reside, your license may be immediately suspended if the DMV gets wind of your lapsed coverage. You may be in serious trouble if pulled over while driving on the suspended license and right back to square one with your driving troubles.
Where is My Accident Record Kept?
Insurance companies collect and report your driving record and accidents to third party vendors who keep a database detailing the information. The reports are referred to as your MVR (motor vehicle record) and C.L.U.E. (comprehensive loss underwriting exchange) reports.
These reports are run for property and casualty insurance underwriting purposes. These reports ensure insurance companies properly rate an individual for auto or property insurance (homeowners, renters insurance) based on their statistical chance of filing a claim.
Without these reports, we could simply switch insurance companies after every claim and present ourselves to another insurer who would “rate” us as claim-free.
Insurers would lose a lot of money if they weren’t able to keep track of everyone’s driving records and claims history.
Time to Shop?
Shopping your insurance premium after an accident or ticket is highly recommended. Your particular insurer may not be comfortable insuring drivers with tickets or accidents.