How Long Does an Accident Stay On Your Record? Top Tips

An unprecedented car accident can significantly alter your insurance policy and premium. Are you wondering how long does an accident stay on your record? Beem will help answer all your questions. Let’s dive in!
How Long Does an Accident Stay On Your Record? Top Tips
A car accident is undoubtedly not something anyone would like to return to. As a result, various factors impact your car insurance policy and the duration of an accident staying on your record. Read on to know how long does an accident stay on your record.
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A car accident is undoubtedly not something anyone would like to return to. But, even after the claims have been settled and the repairs have been made, the accident impacts your life. A car accident on your record could mean many things. For instance, it significantly alters your insurance policy and premium or even causes you to lose driving privileges in severe situations. So, how long does an accident stay on your record? Depending upon the state you live in, the accident’s severity, the quantum of the damage done, whose fault it was, and your insurer’s policies regarding accidents, a car accident can stay on your driving record for as long as five years.

Don’t let an unexpected car accident impact your insurance coverage. Auto insurance with Beem covers damage to your vehicle, other vehicles or property, and injuries to yourself or others. Get the best car insurance quotes for your needs at affordable prices with Beem.

How to Report an Accident to Your Insurance Company

Not reporting an accident to your car insurance company might seem tempting. However, not doing so may result in severe litigations. Reporting the accident within the defined timespan is one of the crucial steps you’ll have to take after being in an accident. The procedure for reporting the accident may vary depending on your state. Here are some basic steps to keep in mind:

Step 1: What Laws Apply in Your State?

The first thing to determine is whether your state is no-fault or not. If you are in a no-fault state, you must report the accident to your insurance company, irrespective of its fault. And if you live in a state where the no-fault policy does not apply, you will have to report it to the insurer of the faulty driver. 

Step 2: Understand Your Insurance Policy

While reporting your accident, it is crucial to remember your insurance policy and its coverage. For instance, in the case of minimum coverage insurance, your provider will only provide coverage for injuries or damages done to the property of the other if you were at fault. 

Step 3: Accumulate the Facts

Accumulating and organizing all the relevant facts before you report the accident to your insurance company will better assist you in claiming damages. Some of the most crucial information you should gather is:

  • The name of the insure
  • Insurance policy number
  • Date, time, and place of the accident
  • Copy of the police report
  • The license number of all involved in the accident 
  • Briefs of the accident.

Step 4: Approach Your Insurer

While it is your responsibility to report the accident to your insurance company, it is advisable to admit guilt. Ensure you provide your insurance company with all relevant information without admitting fault. It is to avoid any significant hike in your insurance rates and litigation. 

How Long Does an Accident Stay On Your Record?

While reporting an accident to the insurance company, one question is, “How long does an accident stay on your insurance record?” The period for which an accident will stay on our records varies across states and is determined by various factors:

  • The state that you are in
  • Your insurance company and policy type
  • Whose fault it was
  • How much damage was done 
  • Your age and previous records 

However, the general time usually stretches from three to five years. It is crucial to consider that the date of starting the period differs across the states. For instance, in the state of California, the period begins from the date of the accident, whereas, in the form of New York, the period starts from the end of the year in which the accident happened. 

Do All Accidents Show Up on Your Driving Record?

Irrespective of the fault, all accidents will appear on your driving records. The reason is simple: if it is your fault, the opposite party will approach your insurer for claims, and if it is not your fault, you will reach the other party’s insurer, but even to do that, you will have to inform your insurer first. So, irrespective of who was at your fault, you must contact your insurer for injuries and damages. 

How to Fix an Accident Record on Your Insurance Record

If an accident has been added to your records, you should take proactive steps to minimize its impact. By fixing the accident reflecting on your record, you can return your insurance rate almost to the standard rate and avoid extra premiums charged due to the record. One of the most prominent ways to do so is to take a state-approved defensive driving course. The course can be taken in person or online to remove violation points added to your license. The exact details for the course can be fetched from your local DMV’s official website so that you can take the course as per your specific situation. 


So, how long does a car accident stay on your record? It is highly influenced by the state you are in, along with other factors, but the general length is three to five years. However long it may reflect on your driving record, it will alter your driving experience for the foreseeable future. The most prominent impact of a car accident on your record is the change in your insurance rate and the insurance premium payment. Before choosing a new coverage, compare car insurance quotes with Beem to get the best deal for your budget. Using Beem to find the best insurance quotes can help you make the right choice. Having full coverage car insurance post-accident is the best course of action to ensure no further legal altercations, which may result in significant fines and even losing your driver’s license. It’s advisable to meet up with your insurer and discuss your options. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is under obligation to report an accident to the DMV? 

The primary responsibility of reporting a car accident to the DMV is of the police or the drivers involved in the accident. 

Q. When should the accident be reported to the DMV?

The timeline within which the accident must be reported to the DMV varies depending upon the damage done. For instance, an accident in which someone was injured should be reported within ten days of the accident. 

Q. When does the Insurance Company report the accident to the DMV?

Although the primary responsibility of reporting an accident is not that of the insurance company, in an instance of lapse of insurance, not meeting the required standards, or if the insured person gets convicted for some serious driving charges, the Insurance company reports the accident to the DMV.

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Picture of Aniket Kulkarni

Aniket Kulkarni

A seasoned Product Manager specializing in car insurance content, Aniket has a passion for simplifying complex insurance concepts. His strategic approach to content development reflects years of experience in the product development industry, coupled with a commitment to providing accurate, reliable information.


This page is purely informational. Beem does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

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