Police reports can be filed at a law enforcement office in almost any city in the country. Stations offer both emergency and non-emergency numbers for citizens to utilize depending on the situation. You can call police officials to report a missing person or provide tips on suspicious activity if you are worried about your safety at home. However, they also provide assistance for car-related needs.

Police officers should be the first people you call after an accident. This way you can create a car accident police report from your perspective. Filing a police report, even if you are not planning on taking out an insurance claim, is a beneficial precaution in case you notice injuries or marks on your car later. If your car or any car documents are stolen, it is advised that you fill out a report as well. Below you will find information on making police reports when it comes to vehicle matters.

Importance of Police Reports

As previously stated, police departments in every city are there to provide aid to citizens who are responsible for reporting crime by way of filing police reports.

Police reports are a way to document incidents, both large and small. They help identify perpetrators of crimes so that officers can stop them and any further crimes. Reports help keep both citizens and the police department accountable for public safety.

For cases involving vehicles, accident police reports are helpful when filing insurance claims, identifying the party at fault and keeping city roads safe.   

When and How to Make a Police Report

There are many situations in which it is important to know how to make a police report. You should always file one for any incident or disturbance that affects you or your property such as a robbery, vandalism or attack.

When it comes to vehicle property, it is your right and responsibility to inform the police if anything happens to it, especially on public property.

If someone steals any car valuables such as your license plate, registration card or tires, you are advised to file a police report as soon as possible. If you fail to do so, you may be enabling further crime.

Your can become the victim of theft if your car is stolen or broken into and burglarized. You should call your local police department immediately in regards to a stolen vehicle or any personal documents like car registration.

While there is no immediate deadline for these types incidents as there is for car accidents, to get your property back and prevent further crime, you should get a police report as soon as possible.

How to Fill Out a Police Report

For those wondering “how long do I have to fill out a police report,” there is usually a time limit to file a report with a city’s police department. So, if you did not create a report at the time of the accident or crime, you will need to find out how to fill out a police report.

Most often, you will be asked to make a police report for an accident at the scene. However, there are other options if an officer is not dispatched or you experienced a hit and run or simply decided not to call the police.

To ensure the most clarity, it is best to complete a report in person with a police officer, which you can do at the nearest police station. You can also submit an accident police report online. It is advised that you file the report in the same city that the accident occurred.

At the very least, when thinking about how to do a police report correctly, make sure to submit your personal information, details about the surroundings and your vehicle. These are specifications in police investigations even if you do not have information on the burglar or other party.

Car Accident Police Reports

Car accident police reports are mandated in every state. This is because they happen so often and it is vital to keep drivers responsible through legal consequences.

Many states have laws in place to keep residents accountable and safe. These laws mandate getting a police report after an accident. Some states like Colorado require drivers to file a report even for minor fender benders.

On the other hand, states like Vermont mandate that drivers only need to make a car accident police report if the total damage, property or personal injury, is over $3,000. Most states require that you file within 10 days of the accident. Drivers who fail to make a report can get their license suspended or incur violation fines.

A complete and comprehensive accident police report includes the following information:

  • Date, time and location of the accident
  • Names, address, phone numbers car information and insurance information of all parties involved in accident
  • Information that identifies witnesses
  • Description of damage on vehicles and injuries
  • Weather and road conditions at the site of the accident
  • Statements from all parties involved in accident
  • Citations given
  • Opinion of cause of collision from all parties involved

Hit and Run Police Report

Accidents involving a hit and run by one or more parties can result in serious penalties so it especially necessary to make a hit and run police report. Hit and runs are illegal and can result in license revocation and even criminal charges.

Filing a police report for a hit and run is imperative even if you do not have much information about the other party or their vehicle.

Stolen Car Registration

If you find yourself with a stolen license plate or any other stolen car registration documents, you absolutely need to make a report to the police.

These other registration documents include registration cards, stickers or your insurance card. You are legally mandated to carry registration in and on your vehicle so making a report is essential especially to get new registration from the DMV. A theft like this may follow the same guideline as a stolen or lost wallet police report.

These documents contain your personal information and put you at risk for identity theft or other dangers. Notifying the police about stolen property can help protect you from becoming a suspect in case someone tries to use your credentials to commit other crimes.

Stolen Car Police Report

If your car was stolen, it is strongly advised that you file stolen car police report. Not only does this catalyze the process of reclaiming your vehicle but it may keep you from being the responsible for any crimes committed with your car.

It is important to report a stolen car and obtain a police report so that you could also begin an insurance claim, even if you do not have comprehensive car insurance.  

Car Insurance Claims

Filling out a police report helps insurance companies investigate the claim. It is possible to make a car insurance claim without a police report but this action may not be as effective. Police reports offer an extra layer of credibility. Police reports not only include yours and the other party’s statements but the police officer’s narrative which can help your claim.

Some motorists worry and wonder, “does a police report go on your record?” Police reports for accidents will most likely show up on a driving record but if you were not at fault, you will not accumulate points. Therefore, a police report is unlikely to reflect negatively on you. An incident report for stolen property like your car is unlikely to appear on a background check or driving record.

Obtain a Public Police Report Copy

After filing a public police report you are able to obtain a copy for yourself any time. Unless you received one from a dispatched officer on the scene, you most likely will have to pay a fee to obtain a copy.

Most police reports are public record so anyone who wants to see their own or someone else’s report is able to do so. Reports that are under investigation though are usually restricted to the police department and investigating parties, however.

Last updated on Thursday, October 15 2020.