Can I Buy Car Insurance After an Accident? Can Insurance Be Backdated?

Last Updated on March 20, 2023

You’ve been involved in an accident, but you didn’t have the right insurance. Now, you’re wondering if you can buy insurance today to cover the accident that just occurred.

Can you buy car insurance after an accident? Can you get insurance the same day you have an accident? Can you make a new car insurance claim for an old incident? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about buying car insurance after an accident.

New Car Insurance Will Never Cover an Old Accident

Let’s say you’re driving around without car insurance. You get into a serious accident. The other driver drives away. You have no way to identify the other driver. You have major medical expenses and car repair bills to pay. Without insurance, you’ll pay for all of these costs out of pocket – even though the other unknown driver was at fault.

Instead of paying these costs out of pocket, you come up with a plan: you’re going to buy a new car insurance policy today.

Your new car insurance policy will have the highest level of coverage. You’re going to max out everything. Then, once your car insurance policy is active, you’re going to make a claim for the serious accident that just occurred.

Unfortunately, car insurance doesn’t work that way. You cannot claim an old accident under a new car insurance policy. In the best-case scenario, your claim will be denied. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll be accused of insurance fraud and face criminal penalties.

Can Insurance Be Backdated?

Some people believe that insurance can be backdated. Can you buy car insurance after the incident and then backdate that car insurance to cover the incident? Can you buy insurance on the same day that you have an accident?

Unfortunately, once again, this isn’t possible. You cannot backdate car insurance. If this were possible, nobody would buy auto insurance coverage. They would just wait until they had an accident and then immediately buy coverage that day.

You Can Buy Insurance After an Accident

Let’s make something clear:

You can usually buy car insurance after an accident, but your new car insurance will never cover an old incident.

There’s nothing preventing you from buying car insurance after an accident. Whether you were insured during the accident or uninsured, you can buy car insurance after the accident just like you would normally buy car insurance.

However, you cannot buy car insurance post-accident and expect it to cover an accident that previously occurred.

Your car insurance will cover any future events, but it won’t cover any previous events.

It’s also important to remember that certain accidents may make car insurance more expensive. If you were recently involved in an at-fault accident, for example, and caused significant property damage and injuries, then you might face significantly higher insurance rates in the future.

In some cases, a serious accident may even prevent you from buying car insurance in the future. If you’re a high-risk driver with a history of causing serious accidents, then insurance companies might refuse to provide car insurance coverage.

Who Was Your Insurance Company at the Time of the Accident?

Some drivers will switch insurance companies after an accident. The original insurance company might have raised its rates after the accident, for example, so you switch to a new provider.

There’s nothing wrong with switching to a new provider. However, your original insurance company is responsible for the original accident claim.

Claiming Old Damage in a New Accident Is Insurance Fraud

Many people have tried to buy car insurance after a collision. Some people will immediately be caught and accused of insurance fraud. In other cases, it might take days or even weeks for your fraud to be discovered. Here are two examples of drivers attempting to buy car insurance to cover an older accident.

Buying Car Insurance After a Collision

Let’s say you’re involved in a serious collision. The other driver has no insurance. You only have the bare minimum liability coverage. Liability coverage covers other drivers and property – but it doesn’t cover damage to yourself or your own vehicle. The at-fault driver would typically pay for these damages, but neither driver has adequate insurance in this situation.

That’s when you come up with a plan: you’re going to purchase full coverage car insurance today and then report the accident tomorrow. You’ve upgraded your car insurance policy to cover the incident.

Unfortunately, this is not how car insurance works. This is considered insurance fraud. A car insurance company will quickly determine what happened and you may face severe consequences.

You Can’t Add Comprehensive Coverage Today to Cover Previous Damage

Or, here’s another example. Many drivers buy bare minimum car insurance that only covers liability damage. If you injure other people or property on the road, then liability coverage will kick into effect and cover any damage. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover damage to yourself or your own vehicle.

That means you won’t receive coverage if your car gets stolen or vandalized. You also won’t get compensation for a hit and run, nor will you be covered against hailstorm damage, fallen tree branches, and other weather-related incidents.

Some people come up with a clever plan: their car gets damaged by hail today. Unfortunately, they don’t have comprehensive coverage, which means the $2,000 of hail damage repairs will not be covered.

The driver calls his insurance company and adds comprehensive coverage to his policy. Comprehensive coverage protects against hail damage.

The next time a hailstorm moves through the area, the driver parks his car outside and waits for more hail damage to occur. Then, the driver makes his claim under his new comprehensive policy. The driver expects all damage – including new and old hail damage – to be covered.

Sometimes, the driver might get away with this. In most cases, however, the insurance company will quickly spot insurance fraud. Pre-existing damage will never be covered under your existing car insurance policy. Your claim might be invalidated completely, leaving you with thousands of dollars to pay out of pocket.

Frequently Asked Questions About Backdated Insurance

Final Word – Adding Insurance After an Accident

Ultimately, backdating insurance coverage is against the law. You cannot buy car insurance after an accident and expect that car insurance to cover the accident. If you try to claim old damage to your new policy, then you might be accused of insurance fraud.

If you were insured at the time of the accident, then the original insurance company is responsible for handling that claim – regardless of whether you switch to a new insurance company after the accident.

It’s certainly possible to buy car insurance after an accident. However, your new car insurance will simply cover everything from that date forward. It will not cover any incidents that occurred in the past.

You must have insurance at the time of the accident to be covered by that car insurance policy. There are no exceptions to this rule.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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