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Need input: Minor rear fender bender with a veteran

My 2001 Honda Accord sedan was rear-ended today while turning right (State AZ). The accident was low impact and the damage to my car appears minimal, only a minor scratch and no dent. There were no injuries. The other driver was a young veteran and overall nice. We exchanged insurance information. It is possible that my car only has a minor cosmetic damage. In that case, I don’t care to get any repair done, mainly because I don’t care about cosmetics and also I don’t want to impact the other driver, especially a nice veteran.

My questions:

  1. Is it legal if I just don’t report the accident to my or his insurance company and drop the matter?
  2. If I report it and get the car checked out and don’t do any repairs (UNLESS the evaluation reveals a damage that’s more than just cosmetic), am I increasing his premium?
  3. Will my car’s title be not clean after I report this accident?
  4. If I don’t report, am I taking any liability in any way? For example, is there a way the other driver can come after me?

Thank you

The other driver has insurance just for this purpose just like the rest of us. Contact the insurance and let them do what they are paid to do. Your title will not be effected.

Edit: This is not likely to happen but if you don’t report and the nice person says something other then what really occurred you could find yourself in a difficult position.


I tip my hat to you. You sound like a rarely decent person.
Reporting requirements vary by state, as do liabilities. You need to check with the DMV or your state’s insurance commission.
As regards your insurance reporting requirements, you need to check with your insurance company. If he reports the accident and you don’t, and your state requires all accidents to be reported, consequences might be more serious.

In my state there’s a monetary limit. Accidents with damages above a specific amount require a report. Once the damages have been assessed, we have the option of either having the repair shop paid directly or having the check sent to us. If we choose not to get the damage repaired, that’s our option. The law only requires that the party not-at-fault be “made whole”, which means compensated for all damages. Some states have “no-fault” laws, which means each driver takes care o f his/her own damages (through their insurance). Some states have laws that are somewhere in the middle. That’s why it’s important to check with your own state for the reporting. And, as Volvo said, contact your insurance company regarding damages.

Well Veteran’s Day is coming up. Really you don’t need to do anything. Who cares? In Minnesota you only need to fill out an accident report if the damage is over something like $1000 or if there are injuries. I suspect AZ is similar. It wouldn’t hurt to have a body shop just take a look and give you an estimate anyway just to make sure there is no hidden damage.

OK @Barkydog pried the “N” key off, blew it out, and sprayed cleaner on it and seems to work fine nnnnnow. Should do the same to the space bar.

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I had a similar one in a parking lot (he backed out of his space into me). We got out and saw that we both had minor bumper cover tears. I said, “Looks like we came out even,” and put my hand out. He shook it and thanked me and we were on our way. Life’s too short.


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There’s some chance not reporting an accident would put you in jeopardy with the state DMV and/or your insurance company. Suggest if you don’t want to report the accident, secure a private agreement to that effect w/the other party. Then you can claim plausible deniability if you are later questioned about it.

Echoing an earlier statement here: Besides the legal requirements in your jurisdiction, your contract (policy) with your insurance company might require you to report collisions, even if not your fault.

Another concern is whether the damage is really only cosmetic. Even in low-speed impacts, sometimes internal things are damaged. A body shop might be able to check that for you (for a fee, which they might apply to any repairs).

A few years ago, a colleague was rear ended at very low speeds. It also seemed as if it wasn’t worth reporting.

He exchanged information with the other person, and was wrestling about whether to report it or not.

When he got home, he happened to notice one of his rear doors wouldn’t open. He looked closely, and it turns out there was now no gap between the rear door and the body. Yet the rear bumper cover looked darn near immaculate. The actual bumper underneath was a different story, and much energy had been transmitted forward.

He reported it, the car was totalled . . . due to the car’s age and the cost to repair properly. He was given a salvage title, had to get the car inspected, and continued to drive it.

My point is this . . . even if you initially think there is no meaningful damage, that often turns out not to be the case

My sister in law’s CRV was rear ended at low speed. Her son said “there was no damage” His eyes should be checked. I have 30 years experience in Property and Casualty insurance, As I tell all of my realatives: Make a police report, and turn it in to your company.

The low speed collision repair will require a NEW tailgate, bumper cover, and bumper reinforcement. So much for “No damage” Modern cars are designed to crumple and absorb energy. Expensive to fix, but so is the human body.

The at fault driver was a 16 year old in Grandmother’s car with a cell phone in his hand. Its been 10 days since the accident and the other Insurance company has not contacted my SIL

The part about the veteran is a red wheel, it has no bearing on what you should do. The accident may not need a police report due to limited damage, but it does need to be documented. You should have pictures of the damage and your insurance company needs to know about it, even if you do not file a claim. It is very important that the insurance company has a copy of the picture of the damage.

You also need to get the damage evaluated. The bumper is part of the overall protection package designed to minimize injuries in case of an accident. If any part of the package is compromised, there could be more severe injuries in the next accident than there should have been.

There is also a liability here. Both my sister and my daughter were involved in similar minor accidents. In my sisters case, the driver got into another accident later that night, he had been drinking when he hit her in the rear but did no visible damage. He was far drunker when he got into the second accident. At the second accident, he gave my sisters insurance information to the police and they arrested her for not reporting an accident. The charges were dropped when the police realized that it was two separate accidents and the first did not reach the reportable threshold.

My daughter did report his accident to the insurance but there was no police report because of very little damage. She felt she was at fault because she had pulled out of the window line at a fast food place and he was coming down the line beside her and hit her. Almost two years later, he totaled the same car and spent some time in the hospital. He filed a huge claim against my daughters insurance and they paid without investigating, they didn’t even inform her that they were doing this. She found out when she got the notice that she was being dropped.

In college I was rear ended by a girl that had just gotten her license that day. The roads were ice and I was at a stop light at the bottom of the hill as she slid into my 59 Pontiac. We just exchanged information and no police. Her dad was very surprised when I called him that night and hadn’t been told yet. Good luck for me though, the estimate was $125 and I fixed it myself for $15. I needed the money and I only paid $125 for the car. That car was pretty much indestructible.