If you get into a car accident in the United States, chances are your insurance company will find out about it fairly quickly. Insurance companies have several methods of discovering when their policyholders are involved in accidents. Here are some of the main ways they keep tabs on accidents:
One of the primary ways insurance companies learn about accidents is through police reports. Any time there is an accident that involves law enforcement responding to the scene, a police report is created. This report contains key details about what happened, including the names and insurance information of the drivers involved. Insurance companies can request copies of police reports to get information about accidents involving their policyholders.
Insurance companies also rely on their own policyholders to notify them after an accident. Nearly all auto insurance policies require policyholders to promptly inform their insurer if they are involved in an accident, no matter who is at fault. This notification from the policyholder provides the insurance company with critical early insight into the accident.
Many insurance companies report accident information to shared national databases that all insurers can access. For example, the National Insurance Crime Bureau maintains a database of auto insurance claims that includes accident reports. Insurance companies can search this database to uncover claims their policyholders have filed with other insurers.
Insurers may use third-party data aggregation services that scrape accident data from sources like police records, news outlets and social media. These services clue insurers in on accidents involving their policyholders that the policyholder may not have reported yet.
For major accidents, some insurance companies employ accident reconstruction technology to piece together details on what happened. By analyzing data from the vehicle like airbag deployment timing, crash detection sensors and more, insurers can learn about the accident’s cause and severity.
If the other driver involved in the accident files a claim with their insurance company, their insurance company will likely contact your insurance company to discuss the accident. This is because the two insurance companies will need to work together to determine who is at fault for the accident and how much to pay each driver.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, the police officer may interview them and include their statements in the police report. Insurance companies may also contact witnesses to gather more information about the accident.
In some cases, insurance companies may monitor social media to find out about accidents. For example, if you post about an accident on social media, your insurance company may see your post and contact you to discuss your claim.
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In the digital age, insurance companies have more real-time data sources than ever when it comes to finding out about accidents. This allows them to start the claims process faster but also helps with detecting potential fraud. So if you’re involved in an accident, it’s only a matter of time before your insurer comes calling.