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Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Old Mar 26th 2011, 5:17 pm
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Default Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

I'd been using my friend's husband's car (borrowed) and I found the front end bumped into where it was parked. It looked like minor damage to me -what do I know, I only occasionally drive, on holidays or when I have a major errand. I took it to a dealer associated repair shop that my friend, the car's owner suggested, and it turned out there is more damage than I though. Their initial estimate was $2000. But the front hood woudn't open and they said if they open the hood it's likely they'll find more damage and the cost could go up to $4000.

As you can imagine I feel absolutely rotten about having damaged someone else's car and want to make it good asap. I also feel like an idiot because I could have rented a car for $60 and saved myself these costs and time and my friends the hassle and inconvenience. My friend's husband, being the very nice guy he is, said that he might be able to claim the money back from his insurance. The problem is that, he has never made a claim on his insurance and he doesn't know how it works. Also I don't want to cause him to have his premiums raised. It's Geico. He says he has full insurance with them for 2.5 years and had just 3rd party only with the same company for another 2.5 years before that.

So my questions are:

If he were to attemp to recover this from his insurance would a police report be necessary?

If yes, can I get the report, i.e would police let me get the report with my friend being named - as there was no driving or 3rd party involved?

Would we have to get the car repaired by places named by Geicko or anywhere is fine? Woudl we need to have several quotes in hand?

He's reluctant to call Geicko now to ask, because then he would have to reveal what happened and it might be problematic since there is no police report.

We're in NY and NJ by the way.

Thanks a million.
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Old Mar 26th 2011, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

and the damage...
Depressing.
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Old Mar 26th 2011, 8:35 pm
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

While even minor damage can be expensive to repair it is also very easy to be overcharged especially by a dealer.

Considering the age and overall condition of the vehicle you have to ask yourself whether it is worth attempting to make it "like new" by replacing absolutely everything that has any damage, no matter how slight, with brand new parts from the manufacturer - that is probably what the dealer is quoting you for.

The fact that the hood doesn't open could be caused by anything from very slight damage that could easily be fixed to something that could require replacement of the entire hood ...

I very much doubt whether you need to file a police report (because you are the injured party and you didn't do anything) but that will depend on the laws in your state. I also doubt if the insurance company will want a police report but, again, that will depend on the insurance company. Can't you just go on their web site and download a claim form and see what it asks for.

If I were in your position (and I could afford it) I would pay the cost of the repairs but shop around to find a more reasonable price for a repair that was acceptable to the owner.

Last edited by md95065; Mar 26th 2011 at 8:37 pm.
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Old Mar 26th 2011, 8:58 pm
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Thank you.

I've spent the last hour browsing their web site, couldn't find what I needed and called Geico. Surprisingly they let me talk to a claims person w/o requiring me to give them the policy number etc. Accordingly, it seems I don't need a police report. I have to take the car to a Geico approved repair shop to get an estimate. I also spoke to one of those shops. According to both the approved shop and the Geico claims person it's likely they will only pay for "after market" parts. Wheras the body shop I already went to quoted me for so-called original parts. However the Geico person told me that most body shops will charge you for "original" parts but (often becuase of the age of the car original parts don't exist) they are also using generics. These generics are packaged with the name of the manufacturer on them and hence "endorsed" by the manufacturer, so we think they are original brand made but really they are generic.

I did do some research on parts yesterday. Indeed as one example, I found a part that all dealer asscoiated body shops were charging $580 for $250 on-line, guaranteed as original. BUT, the bdoy shop declined to do the work unless they order the parts themselves. Lovely.

The other thing the claims rep said is that they can't tell whether his no claims bonus will be affected untill 1 month before his renewal.

My biggest concern right now, though, is can I get my friend's insurance involved so that at least some of the cost will be absorbed, without causing my friend more hassle or trouble. Can I rely on what the claims rep told me over the phone?

I will pay the difference to use "original" parts or a preferred body shop if he chooses one over what Geico will reimburse. And I want to do all I can w/o getting my friend involved to save him the time/hassle/cost.
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Old Mar 26th 2011, 11:26 pm
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Depends on the state.

In MA and in ME, if the damage looks like it might be $1K or more, you've got to file a police report regardless of any injuries.

As for insurance, with my own insurance, they had a list of approved body shops you took the car too who would repair the damage and they would pay directly.

If you went to your own garage that wasn't on their list, they would send you a cheque for what the insurance inspection of damage quoted the cost would likely be, so if there's extra stuff he didn't see and it ended up costing more, you'd be stuffed for the money, but using their approved garages, they would cover it.

Depending on the damage and worth of the repair, they might just use parts from a junkers yard, that's what the dealer body shop did with our Saab when the door got smashed in.

A new second hand door, paint job, logo/name decals on the door, some other small bits and pieces under the wheel arch etc, all came to around $4K.

Some cock a few weeks later opened their door and scraped the paint...so probably not worth doing for an old car with a few dings in it. We only claimed because the door was smashed in from a side swipe.
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Old Mar 27th 2011, 1:18 pm
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Originally Posted by jmood View Post
and the damage...
Depressing.
I'd been using my friend's husband's car (borrowed) and I found the front end bumped into where it was parked. It looked like minor damage to me -

And my question would be " At what speed were you travelling at when you 'bumped it' into where it was parked ? "
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Old Mar 27th 2011, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
...so if there's extra stuff he didn't see and it ended up costing more, you'd be stuffed for the money, but using their approved garages, they would cover it...
... more than likely they'd send out an claims adjuster for that very reason. Being on their 'preferred list' cuts down on tape and those shops may have a prearranged billing with such insurance company - afterall, biz is biz and insurance companies don't like to spend more than they have to.

Certainly where I am, and from what I've experienced elsewhere, one isn't obliged with having to use bodyshops provided by an insurance company... you are free to use any legit bump shop to your choosing. Its blockbusting otherwise.

The shop will source their parts from online vendors and local doner cars. They most likely will replace pretty much anything associated with the bumper as a precaution and liability purposes so that's often why they'll appear to go ott with what needs to be replaced... paint; they'll flare the paint into the side panels and hood.

Someone once backed into a 96 Slaab 900 I had with their p/u and the tow-hitch punched my front 1/4 panel.... I originally thought, no biggy as it looked like a few hundred dollars... wrong.... $1,400!! (Obviously the car was worth more otherwise they would write off the car etc... and that's another fun game to play with insurance companies!) Sadly, 2k for the OP's front bumper etc prob isn't faroff.
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Old Mar 27th 2011, 3:32 pm
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Originally Posted by Dogbyte View Post

And my question would be " At what speed were you travelling at when you 'bumped it' into where it was parked ? "


Given the distance between the cars in the park I would guess they were probably at about 10-15 mil/hr
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Old Mar 27th 2011, 5:19 pm
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Originally Posted by Tarkak9 View Post
... more than likely they'd send out an claims adjuster for that very reason. Being on their 'preferred list' cuts down on tape and those shops may have a prearranged billing with such insurance company - afterall, biz is biz and insurance companies don't like to spend more than they have to.
In MA and depending on your insurance, there are basically independent adjusters that you take your car to, insurance provides a list of them in your area and you take it over or they go to the garage if the car can't drive and they check it over, go over all the potential parts and expected labour time.

With that, the insurance will either right the car off or go with it, but with my insurance, they'll only pay you what the expected bill is if you go to your own body shop and that's after you've paid, so it's more hassle than going to one on their approved list. Using their approved garages, it didn't matter about final cost.

To be fair when I took my car in, all the body shops in town were on the approved list, about 3 of them and only one was at a dealers.
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Old Mar 27th 2011, 5:40 pm
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Originally Posted by jmood View Post


Given the distance between the cars in the park I would guess they were probably at about 10-15 mil/hr
These inanimate objects are dodgy at best.
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Old Mar 28th 2011, 8:13 am
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Where did the damage actually occur & was someone else's property damaged in the impact? As Bob has mentioned, some states require a police report for as little as $500 damage (with no injuries), whether it be to that car you were driving and/or the property you hit. Let's hope there's none & that person didn't file a report.

Geico may claim you don't need a police report but that doesn't negate your responsibility to the state. I would be more worried about that at the moment.

If it was me, I would pay out of my own pocket & find the most resonable repair service. Your friend's insurance may not even cover another person driving the car and, in the event that it did, would probably raise his premiums if he makes a claim. The only way to actually find out is for him to call them, explain the circumstances and go from there.

Good luck!
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Old Mar 28th 2011, 10:49 am
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Ah, sorry. I see you clarified that the car was parked and someone else hit it. Ok. It was confusing because your first post mentioned you felt bad for damaging someone else car. The damage threshold still applies, though.

Your friend should just call Geico and see what they have to say. He is not obligated to file a claim.
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Old Mar 28th 2011, 4:52 pm
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Vehicle in my care, so I feel responsible whatever happens.
Yesterday, I talked to an insurance autorized body shop and also theoretically to the insurance (w/o reporting incident), both told me no police report was needed. Insurance being called by my friend as I type. Will let you know how it turns out.
I chose the body shop out of the insurance list (there were many in our area) so fingers crossed they do a good job. Of course they're not dealer related. I'll feel responsbile for the outcome of the repair too.

Thanks!
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Old Apr 20th 2011, 12:44 am
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Hi all. I'd promised I'd write when this got resolved. It's been 2 weeks now, but I simply forgot.

So we went through the insurance, I took the car to an insurance contracted garage and it was done there. No police report was needed. In fact, the owner of the car didn't have to go in or sign anything either - at least I saved him that bother. I was able to do it all for him.

The thing that does bother me a bit though is that the whole thing is an "industry". They replace EVERY SINGLE THING they can find any excuse to replace. E.g. There are 2 little info plates on the underside of the engine hood, about 5cm x7 cm. Those 2 were changed and charged for as well. I asked the reason: As they fit something inside the engine compartment (can't remember what) they may have to bang/hammer on this area. Geez, you can just hammer 1cm to the side, or put a piece of cloth on top and hammer and they won't get damaged. Or unscrew them out hammer and then screw them back in.

Total $4000 and change. I paid the $500 insurance deductable only. If it was my car and I was doing it out of pocket I figure I woudn't have let them replace half of what they did and would have come out at $2000 max.

But this is the order of things.

Thanks to all who offered guidance.

I need a car again for this Thursday but this time I'm renting
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Old Apr 20th 2011, 2:07 am
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Default Re: Do I have to file a police report to make an insurance claim?

Originally Posted by jmood View Post
Hi all. I'd promised I'd write when this got resolved. It's been 2 weeks now, but I simply forgot.

So we went through the insurance, I took the car to an insurance contracted garage and it was done there. No police report was needed. In fact, the owner of the car didn't have to go in or sign anything either - at least I saved him that bother. I was able to do it all for him.

The thing that does bother me a bit though is that the whole thing is an "industry". They replace EVERY SINGLE THING they can find any excuse to replace. E.g. There are 2 little info plates on the underside of the engine hood, about 5cm x7 cm. Those 2 were changed and charged for as well. I asked the reason: As they fit something inside the engine compartment (can't remember what) they may have to bang/hammer on this area. Geez, you can just hammer 1cm to the side, or put a piece of cloth on top and hammer and they won't get damaged. Or unscrew them out hammer and then screw them back in.

Total $4000 and change. I paid the $500 insurance deductable only. If it was my car and I was doing it out of pocket I figure I woudn't have let them replace half of what they did and would have come out at $2000 max.

But this is the order of things.

Thanks to all who offered guidance.

I need a car again for this Thursday but this time I'm renting
If there is a dent in the fender, they will bang it out but for a small item it is cheaper to replace it then pay the shop $100-$150 per hour to bang it out and putty and paint it.
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