No one ever plans to get in an accident. But it’s important to know what to expect after the fact. If you’re deemed at fault for an accident, your car insurance rates will most likely increase. However, there are a few factors to examine to determine just how much that increase will be.
Factors that Can Affect Your Insurance Rates
- Where you live
- What insurance company you use
- What insurance plan you have
- How much damage was caused?
Assuming you were the driver at fault, your rates could increase up to 46% on average. But this can differ greatly based on where you live. You can find more information online about your state’s accident policies to see what the average rate increase is in your area.
Your rate increase also depends on what insurer you use. Lots of companies offer accident forgiveness programs so you might be in the clear, especially if this is your first accident. However, it’s important to check out your insurer’s policy regarding at-fault accidents, so you know what to expect if you ever end up at fault for an accident.
Your rate increase can also be affected by the amount of damage caused in the accident. Most car insurance policies will increase if you are at fault and the accident resulted in damage or bodily injury. Additionally, accidents resulting in more extensive property damage, $2,000 or more, can cause your rates to increase even more.
How Long Will this Affect My Rates?
Your car insurance rates will go up after an accident, not to punish you, but to simply readjust your plan to better reflect your driving history. Accidents tend to stay on your record for 3-5 years. This again is affected by your state and the severity of the accident. Accidents resulting from a DUI or reckless driving can stay on your record for longer.
How Can I Lower My Rates?
If you’re looking to reduce your rates following an accident, there are a few things you can do.
- Call your insurer and see if there are any discounts you qualify for
- Reduce your coverage
- Increase your deductible
- Increase your credit Score
- Change insurance companies
Accidents happen, but that’s why you have insurance. It can be stressful to deal with a car accident after the fact, but reading up on your current insurance policy now can help save you time and stress in the future.