Q&A - Minor Damage Collision - Do I Report It?

Q&A ImageWhen driving the Coquihalla highway this past Friday the 18th, I was rear ended by a small car. There was no damage to my vehicle, except for two small paint scuffs from his license plate holder, and there was no damage to his car.

I know by law I am required to report all accidents, but in this case it really doesn't seem like it has any purpose. I don't feel it's necessary to have the other drivers insurance premiums increase, when there was no damage done, and everybody makes mistakes! However, I did have a few passengers with me that I do not know that well. I feel like if I don't report the accident, they might talk to me in a month and complain about neck pain, and all of a sudden I'm the one that is in an unfortunate situation.

Do you think it's worth it for me to file a claim?



There is currently no requirement in law to notify the police of a collision in BC.

Reporting to ICBC is a more complicated situation. The best advice that I can give in my limited experience is that you should report any collision to ICBC. If you do not, after a period of time ICBC can decide to deny coverage. After reporting, should you decide to get together with the other parties involved and pay for damage that you have caused out of your own pocket, involving your insurance and any subsequent premium increase does not have to happen. If it is to your advantage to use your insurance coverage, you will still have it.

Other good reasons to report crashes to your insurer include making sure that your side of the story is recorded and preventing the other party from reporting it as a hit & run.

It never hurts to report it to ICBC

It can sometimes be difficult to ascertain damage - and this could be hidden damage, such as within a bumper if the cover has sprung back into shape, or even possible physical injury; symptoms of whiplash may not be apparent until sometime after the crash.  So by reporting it as soon as possible after the collision places you in a favourable position.

When you contact ICBC Dial-a-Claim, expect your conversation to be recorded.  In all likelihood you will be asked about amount of damage (which you don't really know, but just having a bodyshop pull a bumper off a vehicle, and properly repaint and resinstall it, can run into hundreds of dollars quite easily) - and that's without consideration of bodily injury (that may not be at all obvious, just because you and your passengers 'feel fine') so you really don't know that either.

One thing that's often forgotten, even when drivers exchange Driver License and Vehicle Registration details, is phone numbers; it's always smart to obtain, and provide, any and all useful contact numbers as it can save the ICBC Claims Adjustor a bunch of work trying to contact the 'other guy', particularly if they have not reported.

If you're certain that you're the victim - seems pretty likely when you've been hit from behind - it makes little sense to settle with the other parties involved; much better to have your vehicle properly repaired by an ICBC Certified Body Shop,  So as long as you're held 25% or less responsible for the collision, it will cost you nothing to do this.  If the other party wants to settle privately, do you think they will choose the best collision repairer they can find - or the cheapest?  Going through ICBC, once it's all done and dusted they will typically have about three weeks to reimburse ICBC for all costs, and thus avoid any consequent increase in their premiums.

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