Do you Need a Police Report to File an Insurance Claim?

Last Updated on April 1, 2020

Dealing with car insurance claims can be confusing in even the best possible situations. Knowing when and why you should provide a police report to your car insurance company is essential. While in most cases it is not required, it is typically in your best interests to do so.

Do you Need a Police Report to File an Insurance Claim?

When to Call the Police

There are two situations in which you really need to call the police. If your claim has anything to do with an accident with another party, the police should come to the scene and file a report. This includes accidents with another vehicle, accidents involving a biker, or accidents involving a bicyclist or pedestrian.

You will also need to call the police and file a report if your vehicle is damaged by vandalism or stolen. A police report must be filed, and the police must see the damage or investigate the theft in order for you to get compensation from the car insurance company.

What is On the Police Report

In order to understand why the police report might play an important role in your car insurance claim, it is helpful to know what exactly is on the police report and how it pertains to your claim. There is a lot of information on a police report, including but not limited to:

  • A suggestion of who is the at-fault party and why they are responsible
  • Weather conditions
  • Location of the accident
  • Time and date
  • Description of road conditions
  • Description of vehicles (including any defective parts that may have contributed to the accident)
  • Description of drivers (including whether or not they were intoxicated, wearing seatbelts, etc.)
  • Description of vehicle damages

If your vehicle was stolen or vandalized, your police report may also contain information about the neighborhood, additional clues as to the culprits, and information that could lead to the recovery of a stolen vehicle.

Why You Should Get the Police Report

There are several reasons you might want to get the police report and submit it to your insurance company, even though it is not required in most cases of typical car accidents. Submitting the police report to your insurance company could help speed up the processing of your claim. The police report will include relevant information to their claims investigation, including who was at fault, descriptions of the damages and injuries, and what action if any was taken at the scene.

Another reason to submit the police report to your car insurance company is to make sure that you are fully compensated for your injuries or property damages. If the car insurance company is trying to pay less on your claim because they say you are partially at fault, the police report can prove your innocence and force them to pay a full claim. If your car insurance company wants to pay less for damages than is required, the police report along with other documentation such as medical bills and body shop estimates can help prove how much compensation you are entitled to.

Cases When It’s Necessary

There are some cases in which getting the police report is necessary for the processing of your claim. In these situations, the police report is required to prove that you have a claim to compensation. These situations include vandalism and theft. If you do not file a police report for vandalism or theft, and you do not provide that police report to the car insurance company, they have no requirement to take your word for it and pay your claim.

When It Isn’t Necessary

There are some situations in which it isn’t appropriate to call the police or file a police report. These situations include natural disasters and accidents with stationary objects. In these cases, your word along with documentation such as weather reports or pictures of the damages will be all you need to file and process a claim with your car insurance company.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that in most cases, a police report is not necessary to file a claim with your car insurance company. Yet it is typically in your best interests to do so. Anytime the claim involves another party; whether it be an accident or theft or vandalism, you will need to file a police report and provide it to your car insurance company. Submitting the police report will enable you to prove your case and help you get the compensation that you deserve. You can also get a faster claims process by submitting the police report.

If your car insurance company ever asks for a police report, you should make sure to provide it. Although not strictly required, failure to produce a police report upon request could hurt your pocketbook with a smaller claim payment. If you disagree with the police report, you can provide additional documentation to prove your case.

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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