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Minor Auto Accidents – Do you Need a Police Report?

Recently, the Knoxville Police Department announced that they would no longer respond to “certain non-injury car crashes.” In other words, if you are involved in an auto accident and it doesn’t involve injury and/or leave a roadway blocked, an officer will not likely be on-site. The situations where they will respond include crashes that:

  • Result in injury or death
  • Involve a suspected intoxicated driver
  • Involve an unlicensed or uninsured driver
  • Result in a disabled vehicle on the road
  • Involve a disorderly or uncooperative party
  • Involve a hit-and-run with injury
  • Involve a Hazmat situation
  • Result in damage to other property

When these are not part of the scenario, what do you do? What about an accident report? Do you need one to file a claim? Take the steps if you are involved in a “minor” crash:

  1. Report it to the police. Use the local non-emergency line or call 911 if needed.
  2. Move your vehicle(s) to a safe area out of the road and exchange contact information and insurance information with the other driver(s).
  3. Take photos of any damage to the vehicles involved.
  4. The Tennessee Department of Safety requires you to complete an accident report if the damage is likely to exceed $400. You may complete a report online at
  5. Contact your insurance agent to notify them of the claim. They’ll let you know the next steps to take to file the claim with the insurance company.
  6. While a report is not necessarily required for an insurance claim, it will help the process. And if there is more than $400 in damage (which is a very low threshold), Tennessee requires a report anyway.

With the above in mind, how can you be sure that you will not be incorrectly assessed fault for an accident? We recommend dash cams for personal vehicles, as that will likely help you capture footage in most accident scenarios. Having that footage should help clarify the accident cause and who is at fault, and there are many camera options available – some around $50 or less.

Have other questions about your auto coverage or claims scenarios? Contact Brandon Patterson at 865.453.1414 or email and he’ll be happy to discuss it and provide you info on the coverage you need.