How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up After an Accident?
Something on everyone’s mind after an accident is “How much will my insurance go up?” As personal injury lawyers, we hear this again and again. However, there is no easy answer to this question. The amount that your car insurance rates go up after an accident will depend on a number of factors, including who was at fault for the accident, the damages resulting from the accident, your driving record, and what insurance company you use.
On average, insurance rate premiums increase by 45% for an accident with only property damage, and around 47% for an accident involving an injury. Keep in mind that percentage could increase or decrease, depending on your driving history.
Nonetheless, there are cases where your insurance rate might not go up at all. Read on to find out more about what happens to your car insurance after an accident.
What Is in a Car Insurance Policy?
Car insurance typically covers damage or loss to your vehicle and liability for any bodily injury or property damage you cause to others while driving your car. Some types of coverage are required while others are optional. These are the six common types of car insurance coverage:
Bodily Injury Liability
This covers bodily injury that you may cause to others while driving your car. It typically includes both bodily injury liability (which pays for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages for people you injure in an accident). In California, the minimum requirement is $15,000 for the injury or death of an individual, $30,000 for the injury or death of more than one person, and $5,000 for property damage.
Property Damage Liability
Property damage coverage pays for repairs to other people’s property that you damage in an accident, such as someone else’s car, telephone poles, fences, or other objects you hit.
This covers repairs or replacement of your own vehicle in a collision, regardless of who was at fault. It covers your vehicle if it overturns or collides with another vehicle or object.
This coverage reimburses you for damage to your own vehicle caused by things other than a collision, like theft, vandalism, or extreme weather.
Medical payments (MedPay)
This covers medical expenses, such as hospital visits and X-rays, for you and your passengers in case of an accident. Coverage usually starts at $1,000 per person. California drivers are not required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
This covers you if you’re in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance or who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the damages. This coverage also protects you if you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident.
At-Fault vs. No-Fault Accidents
Whether or not you were at fault for the accident will greatly affect your car insurance rate. In an at-fault accident, your car insurance premium will almost certainly go up. This is because insurers will consider you to be more of a risk on the road. Studies show that California sees the largest rake hike in the U.S. after an accident.
However, if you are found not at-fault, your insurance premium will not go up. Only a few states, including California, do not allow car insurance companies to increase your rates if a crash was not your fault.
If you are hit by an uninsured motorist, your own insurance policy will cover the damages. This means even if you were not at fault for the accident, you could see your rate go up. Check your policy for more information about this type of coverage.
How Long Does An Accident Stay On Your Record?
Typically, an accident will stay on your driving record for 3 to 5 years. However, the more serious the accident, the longer it may affect your insurance. For example, a DUI offense could stay on your record for more than 10 years.
Insurance companies use your driving record to determine your risk as a driver, and accidents on your record can result in higher insurance premiums. However, as time passes, its impact on your insurance rates will likely decreas
Managing Your Car Insurance Costs After an Accident
There are several options if you are looking to reduce your car insurance costs after a car accident:
- Enroll in a defensive driver course: Show your car insurance company that you are serious by taking a defensive driving course.
- Raise your deductible: A higher deductible will lower your monthly car insurance rates – but you will pay more out of pocket if you get in an accident.
- Use the same insurance for multiple vehicles: If someone in your family uses another insurance provider, have the switch to your provider to be on the same plan.
- Bundle your insurance policies: You could save money by having the same provider for your car insurance and home insurance.
- Shop around: if you are not satisfied with your coverage, look at other insurance companies and compare. You may be able to find a better rate elsewhere.
What Is Accident Forgiveness?
Many insurance providers offer accident forgiveness coverage, either as a free perk or an add on. Having this coverage means your insurance premium will not go up after your first accident or if you have been accident free for several years. However, it’s always best to check with your insurance policy to see if you qualify.
Call Our Victorville Car Accident Attorney For a Free Consultation
Getting into a car accident is stressful. If you were injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, our car accident lawyer in Victorville can help you obtain financial compensation. We will also protect you against aggressive insurance adjusters who will try to settle your claim for as quickly and cheaply as possible. You never have to pay a dime until and unless we win your case. Call us at (760) 628-0818 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.