One of the most common questions we are asked is: Will using insurance after an accident make my rates go up? Our answer is always, when you or your personal injury attorney file a claim, that does not mean that your rates increase. Insurance companies take several things into account if they decide to adjust your rates. Here are some factors that will determine whether or not your rates will increase:
The Severity of the Accident
What we want you to know is, no two claims are alike. For instance, if you need to have your windshield repaired after a tree branch falls on the hood of your car, that is much different than if you were rear-ended by a negligent driver. Major at-fault collisions are going to be considered more expensive. This is due to the damage not only to the car but if there were any injuries to drivers and/or passengers.
Your Driving History
Car insurance companies love safe drivers. If you haven’t been in a major accident, a minor fender bender will most likely not impact your insurance rate at all. Rates usually jump when the insurance company considers a driver to be a liability – a poor and/or negligent driver.
Who is the At-Fault Driver?
Most insurance companies do not believe that you should be punished if you are involved in an accident. If a reckless driver crashes into you, the investigation determines that you are not at fault, it is likely that your insurance company will not raise your rates. On the other hand, if you are found to be the at-fault driver, the insurance company may look at other possibilities. Such as whether or not you have been in other accidents and how many other claims you have filed. If you have filed multiple claims and you are found to be the at-fault driver, your premium may sky rocket.
Will Using Insurance After an Accident Make My Rates Go Up?
If you are found to be driving recklessly or driving under the influence, you will either see your premium go up, or you may be in danger of your policy being cancelled. The insurance company will see you as a liability and it will cost them more to insure you. Therefore, being the at-fault driver will more than likely make rates go up.
Insurance companies will most likely pay out on claims when they determine that their policy holder is at-fault. If the police report finds you to be at-fault, it may be an uphill battle to appeal the decision.
More and more insurance companies are getting competitive when it comes to rates. This means they will offer “accident forgiveness” for those with smaller claims. Accident forgiveness allows you to file ONE small claim without it effecting your rates.
What this means for your policy will depend on your provider. Likewise be sure to review your policy to see how your insurer will handle your claim.
Each company has its own policies that will determine whether or not your rates will go up.
For example, some companies will increase your premium if you make ANY claim, including the following:
- if the damage to the vehicle is $50 or less;
- if it was determined that the accident wasn’t your fault.
On the other hand, companies may not raise rates if:
- There was minimal damage to the car;
- You are not at fault;
- It was your first accident;
- You have a clean driving record.
Your Value to the Insurance Company
Will using insurance after an accident make my rates go up? Safe drivers are generally a lot cheaper for insurance companies to cover. If you have a history of safe driving and have been with the company for a long period of time, you will likely see a less dramatic rate increase than someone who has a poor driving record.
If you are suffering from injuries due to an accident and need representation, contact us. Consultations are free.