Should I File a Police Report for a Minor Accident?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on October 19, 2017. It has 0 comments.

When you get into a minor accident, you really just want the hassle and headache to go away. It’s not uncommon to skip steps or think that things like police reports don’t matter, especially when it was “just” a fender bender. But it’s important to always file a police report after an accident, no matter how minor it seems.

Here are eight reasons why you need to file a police report.


Did your accident result in an obvious injury or damage? The law in most states requires a police report. Because each state applies the law differently, it’s best to go ahead and call no matter what. Trying to figure out if your accident applies to the law is too complicated and time-consuming.


The driver stopped and is willing to swap information. That’s good. What isn’t good is that you don’t agree on what happened or why. Getting a police report can help clarify the details and get everyone’s perspective in writing.


You’re trying to do what’s right and share insurance information. The other driver refuses to give you what you need. Maybe they won’t even speak to you. Call law enforcement. You don’t have the authority to compel them to cooperate, but they do.


You might think it’s hopeless once the other driver speeds away. How will anyone catch them and how will you get the damage fixed? Contact law enforcement immediately. It’s illegal to leave the scene of an accident. And even if you never get their information, you’ll have an official record of the accident to give to your insurance provider.


In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it’s understandable that you might be shaken up or confused. Even if you think you’re fine, it’s possible to overlook an important detail. Having law enforcement there to file a report will catch things you might miss.


After a minor accident, it’s easy to brush off the ding in your bumper or the twinge in your shoulder. It’s not until days later that you realize the damage will cost thousands of dollars to repair or that you have a serious injury. Having a police report provides documentation of the accident especially if the other driver tries to deny that an accident happened in the first place.


Let’s say you worked out a “deal” with the driver, and they promised to pay for your expenses later. You both leave the scene, but a few weeks later, you haven’t heard from them. It takes forever to find them, and when they do, you can’t make them pay or even admit they were in an accident. Never accept cash in lieu of filing a claim – it never works out well.


With a police report, even for a minor accident, the entire claims process is much faster. This will be especially important if you don’t realize until later that you’re injured or the repairs are too expensive.

There are two times law enforcement may not be able to file a report for you. The first is if you call during bad weather or another time when there are a lot of serious accidents on the road. Law enforcement will ask if anyone is injured and then let you know they can’t make it. The other time is if the fender bender happens on private property like a driveway or a private company’s parking lot. Police reports aren’t available for car accidents on private property.

The bottomline is that you always need to file a police report, no matter how minor the accident may seem. Doing so protects you and helps with your insurance claim later.

Don’t get too Comfortable Behind the Wheel

Written By Charlotte Insurance on October 17, 2017. It has 0 comments.

For many people, driving becomes second nature and we often start to overlook, or become lax about, many safety precautions. It’s important to always be on alert and to never get too comfortable behind the wheel.


Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents out on the road. It leads to a lot of property damage, injuries, and even death. Remind yourself not to do these things behind the wheel.

  • Don’t text and drive.
  • Don’t check social media while driving.
  • Use hands-free options to make a phone call.
  • Don’t eat or drink while driving.
  • Don’t reach down into the floorboard or behind your seat while driving.
  • Turn down the radio.

Anything that takes your attention off of driving and the road in front of you counts as distracted driving. Either way until you get to your destination or pull off the road and handle things.


Your vehicle will let you know when something is wrong – but it’s up to you to take it seriously. Get your car into the mechanic if you hear strange noises. Is your drive bumpier than usual? You may need to have your vehicle looked over. Don’t ignore warning lights. Sometimes it’s a simple fix like closing your gas cap or adding more fluid. But it could become a bigger issue over time.


Your eyes should be on the road the whole time. But you already knew that. Here are a few other things to watch while you’re driving.

  • Keep your eyes open for pedestrians and people on bicycles.
  • Watch out for motorcycles. Give them space on the road.
  • Don’t tailgate. Give yourself at least a two-second buffer between you and the person in front of you.
  • Obey all traffic laws!
  • Use your mirrors while driving. Make sure you know who’s around you. Look before you cross into another lane.
  • Slow down in bad weather as the roads can be slick and visibility low. It’s better to arrive five minutes late than not at all.


There are two zones that get ignored by drivers who are too comfortable behind the wheel – school and construction zones. In both areas, the risk of real danger to innocent pedestrians is high. Slow down for both. Pay attention to speed limit signs. Stop for school busses picking up and dropping off children. Stop for crossing guards and kids walking to school. Imagine it’s your child going to school or your spouse working in the construction zone.

We all know what to do behind the wheel, but we get comfortable and slack off. The best way to avoid accidents is to focus on what you’re doing every time you drive. You don’t have to answer that text message now and tailgating someone has never really gotten you anywhere any faster. Be safe out there.

Handling an Accident with an Uninsured Driver

Written By Charlotte Insurance on October 12, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Carrying auto insurance is required by law in North Carolina and nearly everywhere else in the country. Knowing this, you’d think everyone would have coverage. You can’t always count on other people to do the right thing when it comes to their insurance. So what happens if you get into an accident with someone who doesn’t have any or enough auto insurance?


Assuming the uninsured (or underinsured) driver stopped after the accident, go ahead and get their information. You won’t use it quite the same way you would for other claims, but it could come in handy when you talk to your insurance company or if you decide to take them to court later. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, your insurance company will want the other driver’s information if you have it.


A driver with no insurance may offer cash to make the problem go away. They’ll likely say something like, “We don’t need to get insurance companies involved.” Do not accept cash at the scene of the accident. There’s no real way to know the cost of the damage to your vehicle until a mechanic inspects it, and injuries tend to show up after the accident.


Some uninsured motorists flee the scene, while others are honest enough to stop. Whichever situation you find yourself in, document the accident. Take pictures or record video with your phone to show where the accident happened and how your vehicle was damaged. Write down details about the when and where of the accident as well as the make, model, and type of the vehicle. Always call the police to file a full report even if the other driver didn’t stop or they’ve begged you not to.


As long as you have UIM coverage as part of your auto insurance, you can file a claim as you normally would. When the driver has no insurance, your policy will pay the costs of your damages and your medical expenses from the accident. When the driver has some but not enough insurance (underinsured), your policy will pick up the costs their insurance won’t cover. Filing under your UIM insurance means your premiums won’t go up. If you file without this coverage, if your insurance provider even lets you, your premiums may increase.


Without UIM coverage, your only options to take care of the damage to your vehicle or any medical expenses is to sue the other driver or pay out of pocket. Assuming you can win a lawsuit, you may never see any money from them. If they can’t pay for insurance, you have to wonder if they’d pay damages from a lawsuit. It’s more likely that you’ll pay out of pocket and the cost could be in the tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.

The best way to handle being hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver is to protect yourself with a good auto insurance policy. Make sure your policy includes UIM coverage so you never have to wonder what you’ll do after an accident. Contact us at Charlotte Insurance today. We will be happy to go over your options for UIM coverage and get you estimates so you can choose the right policy for you.

23 Fall Maintenance Tips

Written By Charlotte Insurance on October 10, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Now that the weather is cooling off, it’s time to tackle a few things around your home. If you wait too long, winter will be here, and you won’t be able to get anything done. And what doesn’t get done could make for a miserable winter.

Check out our 23 fall maintenance tips to put on your to-do list.

  • Clean gutters and downspouts. Get rid of leaves and debris.
  • Make sure the support brackets are secure and no water comes down behind the gutters.
  • Check to see if your gutters and downspouts drain properly and that no water pools on the ground.
  • Repair any loose or damaged windows or door frames.
  • Add caulk or weather-stripping around windows and doors to keep out cold drafts.
  • Replace the filter in your heating system.
  • Have your heating system serviced by a professional HVAC company. They’ll find any problems with your heater and get it fixed before you need it.
  • Clean your air ducts to increase the efficiency of your heating system.
  • Use heating tape or other insulation to protect your pipes from freezing this winter.
  • Have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned.
  • Test your fireplace flue to make sure it has a tight seal when it’s closed.
  • Check your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms for working batteries.
  • Check the vents in your attic. Make sure insulation doesn’t cover the vents in the eaves. If it does, winter dams may form on the roof.
  • Clear ridge vents and vents at the eaves of plants and debris.
  • Make sure rodents and birds can’t come through broken screens in your attic vents.
  • Repair any loose shingles on your roof.
  • Rake up leaves from your lawn. Use as mulch or compost.
  • Fertilize and reseed your lawn.
  • Prune your trees and shrubs after the leaves turn to encourage healthy growth.
  • Mulch your flower beds and around trees and shrubs.
  • Trim limbs that are close to the roof or power lines before rain or snow falls.
  • Empty and put away garden hoses.
  • Fall is a good time of year to paint the exterior of your home.

Taking care of your home now before the cold sets in will prevent problems later this winter. The last thing you want is to be out in the dead of winter dealing with a leaky roof, drafty windows, and or frozen hoses. Fall is a great time to get this work done.

You care about your home. That’s why you maintain it and worry about it. Make sure your home is properly protected with enough homeowner’s insurance. Contact Charlotte Insurance today. We’ll be happy to answer questions about your policy and check to make sure you have enough coverage.

7 Fall Festivals for the Whole Family

Written By Charlotte Insurance on October 6, 2017. It has 0 comments.

The weather is cooling down, fall is in the air, and pumpkins are everywhere. Sure, it’s football weather and nearly sweater weather. But it’s also a great time to get the whole family together for fun at Charlotte-area festivals. Here are seven to check out in October and November!


Head over to Carowinds between now and October 30 for The Great Pumpkin Fest. Planet Snoopy becomes even more fun for the whole family. Enjoy rides, shows, interactive displays, and plenty of food.


The Carolina Renaissance Festival takes place over eight weekends starting October 1 and running through November 20 in Huntersville, NC. The Festival goes on rain or shine, and visitors are encouraged to enjoy the festivities all day long. You’ll find plenty of events such as jousting competitions, comedy shows, and an artisan market featuring local arts and crafts. Tickets cost $12 to $25 and can be purchased on the day you arrive.


Join Charlotte Parent and Charlotte Magazine on October 7 to the only place in Charlotte where you can meet representatives from the best public and private schools in Charlotte. They’re all here for the Charlotte School Fair and ready to meet with parents one-on-one. Bring the kids too and enjoy food trucks, free museum admission, giveaways, and much more. The fair will be held at BB&T Ballpark from noon to 3:00 p.m. Admission is free.


Come out for fun and food at Hola Charlotte on October 7 at the Levine Museum of the New South. Celebrate Latin American culture in Charlotte with good food, great music, authentic folkloric dances, and much more. Admission is free.


The UNC Charlotte International Festival at the Barnhardt Student Activity Center celebrates more than 50 cultures. This year’s event is set-up in a marketplace atmosphere with colorful booths staffed by UNC Charlotte international students and members of Charlotte’s international community. The event features art, crafts and costumes from each participating country. Many booths offer international food for sale so you can experience new flavors and cultures from around the world. Admission and parking are free.


Enjoy a weekend of hot air balloons at the Carolina BalloonFest from October 20 to October 22. Two balloon launches with 50 balloons taking flight are scheduled each day. You can also experience tethered balloon rides and a walk-in balloon. If you want to have fun on the ground, enjoy beer and wine tastings, live music, artists booths, plus a Kids’ Zone and magicians for the kids. The event takes place at the Statesville Regional Airport. Admission costs between $5 and $30.


Presented in partnership with the Latin American Coalition, the Levine Museum of the New South brings you the Day of the Dead/Día de Muertos Festival on October 29. This family-friendly festival celebrates the traditional Mexican holiday by featuring altars, music and dance performances, traditional foods, sugar skull workshops, and arts and crafts. Admission is free.

Enjoy the fall weather with the entire family every weekend! It’s a great way to spend quality time together and explore the Charlotte area.

Identity Theft Protection and Cyber Security Tips

Written By Charlotte Insurance on October 4, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Data breaches are all too common and seem to happen more and more every day. Identity theft happens too frequently, too. We know how to protect ourselves from would-be burglars in our homes, but what about in our digital life? You can’t prevent all cyber attacks and identity theft attempts, but you can guard against it. Here are a few things you can do to help protect yourself and your family.


Your smartphones, computers, and mobile tablets are all vulnerable to hacks and attacks. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself.

  • Delete any excess files you no longer need so you have less information for someone to get their hands on if you’re hacked.
  • Add a paid anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewall protection to all your devices. Don’t go for the free services as they’re unreliable and don’t fully protect you.
  • Use PINs, passwords, or fingerprint identification on your devices where possible.
  • Make sure your kids use passcodes for their devices. Tell your kids not to share that information with anyone but you, their parents.


Being online is one of the biggest cybersecurity threats, but it’s not like we can ever go completely offline, either. Since the internet is such a big part of our lives, it’s best to know how to navigate it safely.

  • Use a virtual private network (VPN) on your computer or mobile devices when on public wifi. VPNs encrypt all your messages so hackers can’t access the information.
  • Create strong passwords with upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Never use the same password for more than one website. If you use the same password over and over again, hackers can get into all your digital accounts with a single hack.
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever possible. This requires that you use a second step to login to an account with a code sent to your phone.
  • Don’t open files or click on links when you don’t recognize who sent the email or if something looks fishy about the email.
  • If you get an email from a financial institution asking you to click a link to verify your information, stop immediately. Call the bank or credit card company to confirm they sent the email – most of the time, it’s an attempted hack.
  • Do not share personal information like your social security number through email.
  • Try to use websites that begin with “https” instead of “http.” That extra “s” means the website is more secure and is better able to protect your information.


We tend to think of identity theft as an online problem, but in reality, it’s an offline one, too. Identity theft isn’t new, only the tricks being used.

  • Only give out your social security number when absolutely necessary. Don’t carry your card with you. Keep it in a safe place at home.
  • Pick up your mail quickly to avoid anyone stealing credit card offers or bank statements. If you’re going to be out of town, put a hold on your mail.
  • If you don’t receive your snail mail bill on time, call the company. It’s possible someone has picked it up from your mailbox to get your information.
  • Review credit card and bank statements against receipts for your purchases to make sure it matches. Call the bank if you see something you don’t recognize.
  • Shred receipts, credit card offers, and anything with your personal information on it.
  • Protect your children’s social security number and only give it out when you absolutely have to.
  • Ask your child’s school, daycare, and anyone else with their information how they protect sensitive data.
  • Look for signs of identity theft for yourself and your child: being turned down for government benefits because they’re already being received, receiving an IRS bill for money owed, or collection calls for expenses you didn’t make.

You’re committed to keeping your family safe from harm. That’s why you have homeownersauto, and life insurance. Keep everyone safe from cyber security and identity theft threats too. It doesn’t take a lot of work, only a few precautions.

Charlotte Insurance is in the business of helping you protect what matters most. Give us a call for all your insurance needs and questions. We’re happy to help!