Do I Need to Report a Car Accident to the DMV?

Two damage cars after accident
Eric Van Den Brulle/ Stone/ Getty Images

After an accident, you may be wondering if you need to report a car accident directly to the DMV. Car accidents bring about a lot of different questions. The stress put on a person at the time of an accident and soon after can be overwhelming. Knowing what to do and what to expect can bring the stress level down significantly. Contacting the DMV after a car accident is one task you will not need to do unless your paperwork is not in order.

What is the DMV?

The DMV, Department of Motor Vehicles, keeps track of your driving record. They are also responsible for quite a few other driving-related tasks.

  • Driving Test
  • New Driver's License
  • Renew Driver's License
  • Tracking Your Driving Record
  • Vision Checks
  • Verifying Insurance
  • Plates for All Motor Vehicles
  • Renewal of Plates
  • Paying Tax on Vehicle Purchase
  • Replacing Lost Titles

After a Car Accident

After a car accident, the police are typically called to come out and access the situation, hand out citations, and determine who is at fault. If a ticket is issued for speeding, failure to yield, or other violation, the police will notify the DMV and the driver's license of the at-fault party will be noted.

The insurance carrier tracks at-fault accidents by claims filed. Whether you want to repair the damage to your vehicle or payout goes to another party, the insurance carrier will then mark the claim as at-fault or not at-fault.

Your driver's license points and car insurance points are two different point systems. The points on each do not always stay the same.

Contact the DMV


  • No Proof of Insurance
  • No Driver's License
  • Major Violation Affecting Your Driving Status


If you were found to have no proof of insurance or a suspended or expired license, you will need to contact the DMV.

You will need to provide proof of updated paperwork in order to get your driver's license in good standing. Failure to provide the necessary documentation can lead to fines and suspension of your license.

If you lost your license due to the circumstances of an accident, then you will need to sort it out with the court and eventually straighten it out at the DMV. Once your suspension period is over, you can get your license reinstated at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Police Not Called to the Accident

If no police are called out to the accident, still there is no reason to contact the DMV. If you are the not-at-fault party and want the accident filed, you need to call the police. For your information, police will not come out if the accident occurred on private property, this often includes store parking lots.

Single car accidents with no injuries often go unreported. No ticket is issued and the DMV will not be notified. The insurance company only finds out if a claim is filed. A claim filed for a single car accident is almost always considered to be at-fault and you will probably see a surcharge at your next renewal.

You will need to call your car insurance agency if you are in an accident and have a claim to file.

Filing a claim may not even be necessary if you do not have the proper coverage or the damage is less than your deductible. Check with your insurance agent if you are unsure of what to do after an accident. He will be able to help guide you through the claims process.

Help With Car Accidents