How long do I have to report a car accident?

How long do I have to report a car accident?

Whether you’re on your way to work, driving home from a family road trip, or running errands from day to day, there’s never a good time to be in a car accident.

However, these incidents tend to occur more frequently than we would like and you must be prepared to manage them in the best possible way.

If you have wondered how much time do I have to report a car accident? , continue reading, we will explain it to you right away.

When you crash your car, regardless of who’s at fault, you’ll need to take care of a few things relatively quickly.

After that fender hit (or worse) there are a few steps you need to take that will ensure your problem is effectively resolved.

Of course, proper medical attention should be the priority if you or any of your passengers are injured.

However, you should also consider how long you have to report a car accident to your insurer, or if necessary, how long you have to file a claim.

Crash, Car, Car Crash, Accident, Vehicle

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How long do I have to report a car accident?

Each state government sets the amount of time you’ll have to file an auto insurance claim after an accident, typically ranging from one to 10 years.

The time limit may vary for different types of claims, even within the same jurisdiction. For example, the time allowed for a comprehensive claim may differ from that for personal injury or property damage.

Please refer to the tables below for your state’s statute of limitations when filing a claim. Keep in mind that contacting your insurance agent as soon as possible will make the claims process easier.

How long do I have to file a claim or lawsuit?

You can file a claim or lawsuit only within the liability time limit set by your state , known as the “statute of limitations . ”

Each state has its own statutes of limitations, and there are different time limits for various types of damages, such as bodily injury or property damage.

We’ll look at the statute of limitations for each state in the table below.

You should be aware that your auto insurance policy may state that you must start the claim process immediately at the time of the incident;

or within 24 hours of the date the damage to your vehicle occurred.

However, the shorter term stated in your policy is not limiting and does not prevent you or another driver from filing a claim or lawsuit months or even years later,

as long as you are within the statute of limitations of the state where the car accident occurred.

This is because some injuries and mechanical damage are not apparent until days or weeks after you are in a car accident.

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that the longer you wait to file a claim, the more difficult it will be to defend it.

Insurance companies may be suspicious of significantly delayed claims and will investigate whether the damage was actually the result of the covered accident or a later incident.

If they have legitimate reasons to doubt your claim, they may deny coverage.

Auto insurance claims generally fall under one of two statutes of limitation:

A time limit for bodily injury claims

Another time limit for other claims, including property damage (to another vehicle), collision damage (to your own vehicle), and total damage (to your own vehicle from theft or vandalism).

How long do I have to report a car accident: Statute of limitations by state

Crash Test, Collision, Rear-End Collision, 60 Km H

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State bodily harm Property / Collision / Comprehensive Damage
Alabama 2 years 2 years
Alaska 2 years 2 years
Arizona 2 years 2 years
Arkansas 3 years 3 years
California 2 years 2 years
Colorado 3 years 3 years
Connecticut 2 years 2 years
Delaware 2 years 2 years
Florida 4 years 4 years
Georgia 2 years 4 years
Hawaii 2 years 2 years
Idaho 2 years 2 years
Illinois 2 years 5 years
Indiana 2 years 2 years
Iowa 2 years 5 years
Kansas 1 year 2 years
Kentucky 1 year 2 years
Louisiana 1 year 1 year
Maine 6 years 6 years
Maryland 3 years 3 years
Massachusetts 3 years 3 years
Michigan 3 years 3 years
Minnesota 6 years 6 years
Mississippi 3 years 3 years
Missouri 5 years 5 years
Mountain 3 years 2 years
Nebraska 4 years 4 years
Nevada 1 year 1 year
New Hampshire 3 years 3 years
New Jersey 2 years 6 years
New Mexico 3 years 4 years
New York 3 years 3 years
North Carolina 3 years 3 years
North Dakota 2 years 2 years
Ohio 2 years 2 years
Oklahoma 2 years 2 years
Oregon 2 years 6 years
Pennsylvania 2 years 2 years
Rhode Island 3 years 10 years
South Carolina 3 years 3 years
South Dakota 3 years 3 years
Tennessee 1 year 3 years
Texas 2 years 2 years
Utah 4 years 3 years
Vermont 3 years 3 years
Virginia 2 years 5 years
Washington 3 years 3 years
Washington D.C. 3 years 3 years
West Virginia 2 years 2 years
Wisconsin 3 years 3 years
Wyoming 4 years 4 years

If another driver was at fault and the car accident occurred in a no-fault state, you will first file your initial claim under your own collision or personal injury protection (PIP) policy.

However, you can also make a claim against the other driver if you sustain ongoing or permanent physical injuries and the cost of treatment exceeds the coverage of the policy.

Headlamp, Accident, Auto, Blue, Broken, Car, Collision

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How long do you have to report a car accident to the authorities?

The amount of time you have to report a car accident to the DMV or the police varies by state.

In minor accidents, after which no insurance claim has to be filed, it may not be necessary to inform the authorities.

However, most states require car accidents that result in injuries or that involve more than $2,000 in property damage to be reported.

IMPORTANT: Because some injuries and vehicle damage are not apparent until days or weeks later, it is always best to contact the police immediately after an accident.

The police report will serve as evidence for all reports you file with the DMV and any claims you may file with your auto insurance company.

Here are the time limits for reporting a car accident in each state. When reporting “immediately” is required, you are generally expected to call the police from the scene of the car accident.


Alabama 30 days
Alaska 10 days
Arizona Immediately
Arkansas 30 days to file a motor vehicle accident report, 90 days to provide proof of insurance.
California 10 days
Colorado Immediately
Connecticut Immediately
Delaware Immediately
Florida 10 days
Georgia Immediately
hawaii Immediately
Idaho Immediately
Illinois 10 days
Indiana Immediately
Iowa Immediately
Kansas Immediately
Kentucky 10 days
louisiana Immediately
Maine Immediately
Maryland 15 days
Massachusetts five days
Michigan Immediately
Minnesota 10 days
mississippi Immediately
Missouri 30 days
Mountain Immediately
Nebraska 10 days
Nevada Immediately
New Hampshire 15 days
New Jersey Immediately
new Mexico Immediately
New York 5 days
North Carolina Immediately
North Dakota Immediately
Ohio 6 months
Oklahoma Immediately
Oregon Three days
pennsylvania Three days
Rhode Island 21 days
South Carolina 15 days
South Dakota Immediately
Tennessee 20 days
Texas 10 days
Utah Immediately
Vermont five days
Virginia Immediately
Washington four days
West Virginia five days
Wisconsin Immediately
Wyoming 10 days

Crash Test, Collision, Rear-End Collision, 60 Km HHow Long Do I Have To Report A Car Accident?

Read also: How Much Insurance goes up after an accident

While you may be allowed a few hours or several weeks to report a car accident, doing so immediately after the collision can increase your chances of recovering your losses.

Insurance companies and courts rely on police reports as vital evidence, and having an officer assess the scene of an incident helps insurers clearly determine who was at fault.

Now that we have answered your question: “How much time do I have to report a car accident?” You just have to pay attention to the deadlines that we have included in the tables according to your state.

Also, remember that the faster you do it, the better. Good luck!

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