Car Insurance Rates after an Accident

You hear the screech of tires. Everything moves in slow motion. You can’t believe what’s happening. You’ve been in a car accident.

You’re not alone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 17,000 car crashes happen every day. The causes are varied: severe weather, distracted driving and drinking are among them. However, InsuranceQuotes and Quadrant Information Services point out that drivers who make just one single auto insurance claim - no matter the cause - experience an average premium increase of 44 percent.

After the initial shock of being involved in a car accident wears off, you may wonder how much insurance goes up after an accident. Several factors determine car insurance rates. Those factors vary based on your insurance company’s practices and the state in which you live. Take a look at some of the factors that play a role in a car insurance increase after an accident.

Factors that determine how much car insurance goes up after an accident

Who was at fault?

If you are found to be at fault for the car crash, it is likely your car insurance premium will increase at your next renewal. The amount varies based on the state in which you live and your insurance company, but in some cases, base rates may increase by as much as 40 percent or more, before considering the additional impact of the potential loss of discounts that may be applicable. This surcharge may remain on your policy for three years.

In some states, laws protect drivers from auto insurance hikes who are found not at fault in a crash. However, in some cases, if you've been involved in a car crash, your car insurance rates may go up even if you were not at fault. This can seem unfair, but statistics show that people involved in crashes.- even if they weren't at fault - are more likely to have another crash than people that have never been involved in a crash before.

How bad was the accident?

Practices vary depending upon the insurance company, but in general, “an insurer will increase your premium by specific percentages for each chargeable claim made against your policy above a specific dollar amount,” according to the Insurance Information Institute. These charges are based on damages incurred by the driver at fault and any other parties involved in the car accident. Claims vary from minimal damage in a "fender bender" to serious auto damage and medical injuries.

Can accidents lead to non-renewal?

An auto insurance company may choose not to renew your policy following an accident. Non-renewals are often based on the insured’s driving record. While the definition of a poor driving record varies by insurance company, a person with several accidents on his or her driving record may expect to face a non-renewal. The one variable nearly all insurance companies agree upon is dropping coverage for a driver who causes an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The risks of not making a claim

Drivers who do not want their car insurance rates to increase may consider not making a claim after a car crash, especially if damage is minimal and there are no other vehicles involved.  Remember that even if you don’t file a claim, you can still file a police report for the crash. There is a risk if you don’t report an accident when another driver is involved. The other driver may decide much later to sue for damages or medical injuries. Without a claim—even if a police report exists — gathering evidence could be delayed, if not impossible to complete. Many policies include provisions that require timely notice of a claim, and if those conditions are not met, some insurance companies may choose not to cover the claim at all.

Disappearing discounts

Many insurance companies provide discounts on auto insurance policies for safe driving. Those involved in car accidents may lose one or more discounts, no matter who is at fault. While the loss of a discount isn’t considered a surcharge to the policy, the result often appears the same since the insurance premium you pay is higher.

How much does insurance go up after an accident?

So, how much does insurance go up after an accident? It all depends. All of these factors are considered when determining a car insurance increase after an accident. Learn more about the steps you can take immediately following a car accident.