How Does an Accident Affect Your Rates?

Getting into an automobile accident brings with it plenty of headaches – not only are you dealing with the police, possible auto repairs, possible property damage, and even medical expenses, but you also could be looking at higher auto insurance premiums. Today, there is not hard-and-fast rule of thumb when it comes to insurance premiums after accidents. Some consumers have built-in benefits to their policies that protect them in the event of an accident, while others might not have a concern because they weren’t the at-fault party in an accident. No matter your situation, remember that you always can explore your options and make sure you’re paying the right amount for your auto insurance coverage.

These factors can impact whether or not your premiums will rise after you have an auto accident:

  • Fault or No? Depending on your individual state’s insurance laws, there may be a set determination of whom was at fault in your auto accident. If you were not at fault, then – generally – your rates should not increase because the accident was not a result of your negligence. But simply determining fault will not be the only factor involved in your future auto rates. You might want to consult your state’s department of insurance to find out more about whether or not you live in an “at fault” state.

  • Accident forgiveness? A very popular benefit offered by many major insurance companies today is accident forgiveness. This program is usually offered to drivers with excellent histories – the insurance company “forgives” the insured driver for an accident, and thus the driver’s premium does not go up. Remember that several factors may determine whether or not you’re eligible for accident forgiveness, including not only your driving record, but your loyalty to the insurance company (perhaps) and even your personal credit history.

  • Criminal accident? A fender-bender is one thing, but if your accident involved a criminal issue, such as a DUI arrest, your insurance rates could be directly affected. Some insurance companies call DUIs “major violations,” which basically means you are considered a significantly larger insurance risk.

  • Your history? If you have a decent driving history – such as no accidents within a 3- or 5-year period, you are more likely to benefit by not having an increase on your insurance premiums.

  • Did you get points? We’re all familiar with the “point” system that assesses our traffic infractions – both major and minor. Parking tickets and speeding tickets can have an impact on our driving record and any points assessed, and an auto accident also can add to the points on our driving records. If you are issued a citation after an accident, you can expect points to be added to your driving record. That means it’s likely that your insurance premiums will go up.

What to do if…

  • You’re in an accident, and your rates stay the same: Congratulations! This likely means you have an excellent driving record, good credit and a good reputation with your insurance company. While your rates stayed the same – and that’s good – you still can explore the options available to you through another insurance company. Remember that can help you get quotes for a variety of insurance products.

  • You’re in an accident, and your premiums went up: It’s not time to worry … yet. If your premiums went up, it could be for a variety of reasons. Use this as an opportunity to shop around and consider all your options. Fill out the form at to get competitive quotes from respected insurance companies, and find out if you might be able to save money by switching companies. Remember that your driving record as well as your personal credit can have an impact on your premiums.

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