Do car insurance companies have access to police reports?

Car insurance companies get police reports from the DMV, using them to study claims and calculate rates. Moving violations may increase your rates by $137.75/mo or more.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: May 4, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Insurance companies can access police reports in a variety of ways
  • The DMV gains access to all reports, allowing insurance companies to see them as well
  • The reports are used to help with investigations and calculate insurance premiums

Car insurance companies can access police reports. The reports can be obtained in a variety of ways.

The police reports are used to learn about whether you have been involved in an accident or not, towards an investigation when you file a claim, as well as to adjust your premiums periodically.

If you were in a car accident recently and need better auto insurance, compare at least three to four policies today to find the best rates for you! Enter your ZIP code above to begin!

Obtaining Police Reports After an Accident

Police reports are often filed at the scene of an accident. A police report can happen when a witness calls the police or when a passing police officer stops at the scene.

Either way, a police report is filed when an officer reaches the scene. The officer will examine what happened, talk to all drivers involved, and file a report.

If you file an insurance claim later on, your insurance company will ask for the police report number. The insurance company can then pull the entire report to get the necessary information off of it.

If you choose not to file a claim with the insurance company, they may still obtain the police report.

One of the other parties involved in the accident might get the police report. Once they file the claim with their own insurance company, they will identify you as being a part of the accident. The insurance company will then share the information with your insurance company.

There are still other ways for insurance companies to obtain copies of a police report as well. Even if you don’t report the accident to the insurance company, they will still learn about the accident if a police report is filed.

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Obtaining Police Reports from the DMV

The DMV will have the police reports as these are submitted to the state directly from the law enforcement agencies.

They use a system such as CLUE that will provide details about the accident. It is a report generated by LexisNexis, and the information has the potential to stay on your driving record for as long as seven years.

In most cases, insurance companies will use the information for three years and then it goes away.

Even if you don’t file a police report on the spot, the information about the accident might still get into the system. Many collision centers and other mechanic shops have access to the CLUE database as well, and they will include details about the accident once you bring your car in for repair.

The CLUE report will contain:

  • Date of the incident
  • Type of loss
  • Description of incident
  • Amount that was paid

No matter what, you won’t be able to hide a police report from the insurance company. You provide your driver’s license number when getting quotes which allows them to get your driving history from the DMV. Accidents and more will be visible to them.

How the Police Reports are Used

The police reports that the insurance companies obtain are used in various ways. Understanding this will make it easier for you to know what’s going on and how a police report can impact you.

Conducting an Investigation

Insurance companies are going to look at the police report in order to settle an insurance claim. They might be able to establish fault as well as gain the names and numbers of witnesses to call.

It will make it easier for them to “see” what happened so they can determine how they want to proceed with closing the claim.

Calculating Your Insurance Premiums

Police reports will also be used to calculate the cost of car insurance. If you have had multiple accidents and seem to be at fault for all of them based on what the reports say, you could be identified as being higher risk.

Insurance companies are likely going to charge you more on insurance premiums because of higher risk.

You have the opportunity to get quotes from multiple insurance companies. They will use police reports as well as your driving history, information about your car, and more to determine the cost of premiums.

You can control how much you pay by comparing the quotes and choosing the best company.

Even if you don’t give the police report to the insurance company, they are going to find out about it one way or another. Knowing how it will impact you is vital. It could help or hinder you regarding the claims process as well as obtaining affordable premiums.

Need more affordable auto insurance? Start comparison shopping today by entering your ZIP code below!

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