Claim Prevention 101: Vehicle Backing

Published: 8/11/22 (Thu)

Last year, auto accidents topped the NDIRF’s list of highest loss amounts, for a total of $5.6 million in losses. This amount represents auto accidents at intersections and with stationary objects, but within this claim type, one trend we’re keeping a close eye on is auto accidents that occur from drivers backing up their vehicle.

Over the past year, we’ve received a substantial increase in backing claims, which are claims from drivers who get into accidents while backing up their vehicles. While on the surface these claims may seem simple and straightforward, they’re not, especially given recent supply chain limitations that affect the availability of parts… which extends car rental time…which has become more expensive due to the limited availability of rental cars… which means the claim’s cost continues to unexpectedly rise.

Further, if anything other than the vehicle driven is damaged during the accident, or any person is injured in the accident, it can be a much more sensitive and serious claim to resolve.

The NDIRF has resources to help you reduce or eliminate backing claims altogether, starting with the following tips provided by North Dakota Safety Council Safety Consultant Dennis Snodgrass:

  1. First, decide if you even need to back up to begin with. Seems simple, but there may be adequate room to pull forward and turn sharply. If there is no need to back up, don’t do it.
  2. Know your surroundings. Before attempting to back up a vehicle, walk completely around the vehicle and observe your surroundings. Once you’ve completed a 360-degree walkaround, immediately back up. If you must walk away from the vehicle, for any reason, repeat this process. Things can change quickly, especially with children playing in the area.
  3. Understand your vehicle’s blind spots. Once you realize what your level of vision is, you will be better prepared to safely back up. If your vehicle has a backup camera, use it, but don’t solely rely on it. Practice using your mirrors as well. This will allow you to see down the sides of your vehicle and not just behind it.
  4. Use a spotter. If you are in a tight, congested area, a spotter (someone assisting you) may be necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s always better to suck up your pride than to hit something or someone!
  5. Finally, park defensively. Position yourself in a way that eliminates the need to back up, such as pulling through parking spaces at the grocery store or by following steps 1-4 when backing into your driveway after work or school. It is always best to make your first movement in a vehicle be a forward movement where you have better visibility of your surroundings.


The NDIRF offers online and in-person defensive driving courses (DDC) at no cost to NDIRF members through our partnership with the North Dakota Safety Council. These courses meet the requirements of various regulatory agencies, assist with personal insurance rate reductions, where available, meet the requirements to reduce driver’s license points, and help reduce auto collision/crash frequency and/or severity.

Contact Director of Member Services Corey Olson at (701) 751-9107 or for information.

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