What To Do If The Tucson Police Don’t Show Up To File An Accident Report

police refuse to show up to minor car accident

What To Do If The Tucson Police Don’t Show Up To File A Report For Your Car Accident

It used to be that when you got into an accident, you called the police, they showed up, wrote a report, assisted with towing if necessary, and then moved on to the next call. However new trends are emerging in the auto claims industry that could have a big impact to you, the car owner regardless of where you drive.

Right now gas is cheap, and the economy is improving, the unemployment rate is steadily declining and more cars are on the road in the daily commute than in years past. With more cars on the road and cheaper gas we now have year over year increases in miles driven of 3.4%. With increases in miles driven, come increases in accident frequency, and severity of accident claims.

But there is also another problem that could be affecting you right now, especially if you were just involved in a minor collision without injuries. Police departments are not responding to fender benders as often and in some cases, not at all.

So how does this impact the Tucson driver?

I can almost guarantee that your auto insurance policies contain a contract clause requiring you, the policyholder, to report any and all accidents to your insurance company. Nearly every state has a law that requires all for all car accident involved drivers to report any accidents involving injury or death, hazardous materials, apparent property damage over a specified threshold (typically $1,000-$1,500) to the police within a prescribed number of days, Failure to do so could result in the suspension of their drivers’ licenses by the state Department of Motor Vehicles for failure to report, or in some cases, jail time.

Insurance companies typically use the police reports to independently validate any damage, claims, determine fault or negligence, and other critical facts for use in making any formal decisions in first- and third-party property, injury and liability automobile damage claims.

However the majority of all property damage-only accidents that do not involve personal injuries are the majority of all insured auto accidents. Recent trend reports from the property and casualty resource industry indicates that fewer and fewer police departments are responding to non-injury auto accidents, and is thus presenting so this is a serious problem to both you the driver, your insurance company, and your local body shop.

Most body shops, such as our shop here at O’Rielly Collision centers in Tucson and Green Valley Arizona, will handle the property damage claims and dealings with the insurance company on your behalf. In fact, such a service is a major decision making factor in choosing an auto body shop, as the relationships between the shop and the insurance company can often get your car repaired faster.

It has also been reported that even when police do show up to a minor car accident and file reports, in some jurisdictions it can take up to six weeks for those reports to become available to insurance carriers. Additionally, an increasingly higher percentage of these reports are missing all of the information required for the insurance company to properly complete claims adjustment.

Why are Police departments responding to less minor, non-injury auto accidents?

Although this issue has been developing for some time, it is just now becoming widely apparent that police departments nationally are no longer able to respond to or document routine auto accidents.

Several reasons are to blame for this issue. For starters, a large amount post-recession municipalities have faced years of shrinking operational budgets. Increases in the priority to security demands from law-enforcement agencies, news breaking issues of civil unrest and preparedness domestic and foreign terrorism, are shifting some of the more mundane police duties like accident reporting, down to the bottom of police priority lists.

The media has taken notice to the withdrawal of police duties over the past 18 months in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Nevada, Texas and Virginia. Private discussions with chiefs of police from New York to California reveal similar intentions.

In these jurisdictions, police will now respond only in cases involving serious injury, criminal activity, hazardous materials or suspicious circumstances.

Finding new solutions to the accident reporting issue.

What can Tucson area drivers do to obtain the required accident information in jurisdictions where police do not respond to minor collisions?

1. Take damage photos on scene and self-report to your insurance company.
2. Some car insurance companies offer fully staffed company inspection centers or independent appraisal resources.
3. Your insurance company can rely on the trust built with their collision repair shops to inspect, document, estimate and repair the damage honestly and fairly.

While we have no control over how insurance companies handle their own claims reporting policies, a shift in how claims get reported could eventually drive insurance carriers to devise alternatives to the traditional method of reporting collisions as these alternatives could son become the new norm.

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