Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Oct 11, 2010

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Insurance Question from Loyalton, CA

Asked on 10/11/2010

is it better to settle on a parking accident with 2500.00 damage, without reporting it to your insurance company? pay out of pocket vs insurance While backing out of my parking space I backed into a moving car. the speed was less than 5miles per hour. Damage to other auto Head light and slight body damage. I expect this to be in the range of $2500.00. Damage to my auto not worth reporting. I am a 25 year old woman who Is just begining training as a School bus driver. I have no accidents on my record and I am very worried about how this will affect my Job and insurance rates. Should I pay out of pocket and not have this on my record, Or report it to the insurance company?

Answer given on October 15, 2010

You buy insurance to protect you for damages you cause. While it may be tempting to settle this, it is a large amount of money.  In addition, the people in the car have 1-2 years to bring a suit for injury.  If you settle the property damage, your insurance company may refuse to defend you and pay for injuries because you have already paid for the property damage. 

You should discuss this with your insurance agent, but I always recommend that a claim be reported to the insurance company if there are people in the other car, due to the possibility of a bodily injury claim.   One accident does not take away your good driver discount on insurance so it may not affect your ability to drive a school bus.


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