Does a Fender Bender Count as an Accident?

A fender bender is a minor accident with a low impact, resulting in minimal damage. The term “fender bender” originates from the idea that the damage is mostly confined to the fenders of the vehicles.

Despite being less severe than other types of accidents, fender benders are still legally classified as accidents. Consequently, it is often necessary to exchange information with the other party involved and report the incident to the relevant authorities.

Typical Causes of Fender Benders

Unlike other forms of vehicle accidents, fender-benders occur almost every day. Let's take a look at some of the main causes:

Backing into parked cars

When a driver reverses their vehicle and comes into contact with a parked car, the impact typically occurs at a lower intensity, resulting in minimal damage.


Collisions between vehicles can occur due to a variety of reasons, including human error, adverse weather conditions, or mechanical failures.

Distracted driving

Many fender benders simply happen as a result of being distracted while driving. This may include texting or using a mobile phone, eating, or any other activities that take the driver's focus away from the road.

Legal Implications of Fender Benders

It’s important to remember that fender benders are legally classified as accidents, even when damages appear minimal. Should your vehicle be impacted due to another driver's negligence, you have the right to seek compensation covering repairs, medical expenses, property damage, and more. Conversely, if the fender bender results from your actions, you bear responsibility.

Involving the legal authorities is often the appropriate course of action, especially when it’s hard to agree on who is liable and when there is apparent damage.

It is still advised to report the accident to the police department within 10 days, even if there are no visible injuries or losses. Failure to do so may jeopardize your legal right to compensation and lead to other penalties.

What to Do After a Fender Bender

When you’re in a fender bender, it can be confusing and scary, even if there’s no injury. Having a clear understanding of the necessary steps to take can equip you to handle the situation effectively and make informed decisions.

1. Move vehicles to safety

First, stop the car. If the fender bender occurred in traffic, park your vehicle on the side of the road or somewhere safe. Make sure to turn on your hazard lights. While conversing with the other driver or inspecting your vehicle, maintain a safe distance from passing cars.

2. Check for injuries, call 911 if needed

Safety comes first. Check yourself for injuries and ask if anyone else got injured. Even with minor accidents, whiplash is quite common. Then, call 911 and report the accident.

3. Exchange insurance and contact info

One of the most important steps to take after an accident is exchanging information with the other driver. Remember to take the following details from them:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact number
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number
  • The license plate number of the other car
  • Contact information of eyewitnesses, if any.

4. Document scene with photos

Capture photographs of the accident scene as evidence. Document any damages to your vehicle and the other driver's car. Consider taking additional shots of the accident location or testimonies of potential witnesses.

5. Contact insurance providers

Reach out to your insurance company to inform them of the accident and to determine the most suitable decision for your specific situation.

If the other party is at fault and substantial damage has occurred, they must contact their insurance company. Their liability coverage should cover the costs of repairs.

Impact on Insurance

You might face an increase in your insurance premiums following a fender-bender depending on factors such as your driving history, the severity of the accident, and whose fault it was. Minor accidents typically don't impact insurance rates as much as severe car accidents.

It’s not easy to predict the impact of a fender-bender on your rates because insurance companies assess different factors before making any rate adjustments.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to file a police report and collect evidence to streamline the process and make it easier to determine who’s at fault.

How to Prevent Fender Benders

With a little more vigilance and caution, you can reduce the likelihood of being in a fender bender. Keep the following essential driving tips in mind:

1. Drive Defensively

Staying attentive and anticipating potential hazards on the road can help you avoid fender benders. This includes being aware of the actions of other drivers and reacting swiftly to unexpected situations.

2. Avoid Distractions

Avoid activities such as texting, talking on the phone, or any other behaviors that divert your attention from the road. Focusing on driving enhances your ability to react to changing traffic conditions.

3. Maintain a Safe Following Distance

Keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you is essential. This gives you adequate time to react if the vehicle in front of you slows down or stops suddenly.

4. Be Cautious When Driving in Bad Weather

Adverse weather conditions can contribute to fender benders. Exercise caution by reducing your speed, increasing following distances, and using headlights in low visibility. Being mindful of the road conditions helps mitigate the risk of accidents in inclement weather.


It’s important to recognize that fender benders, despite their seemingly minor nature, meet the definition of an accident and should be treated accordingly. These incidents warrant careful attention and proper documentation, whether caused by human error, adverse weather, or other factors.

Seeking professional assistance, such as involving law enforcement and reporting the incident to insurance companies, becomes crucial in ensuring a fair resolution. By taking the appropriate steps, you can navigate these situations effectively and avoid any expected issues down the lane.

In the event of a fender bender, when you require dependable repairs, Caliber is your go-to solution. At Caliber Collision, our team of skilled professionals specializes in front and rear fender repairs and can address a wide range of damages to get you back on the road swiftly.