Jones & Swanson

How Car Accidents Affect Insurance Rates

There are a number of factors that dictate your insurance rates, including your age, driving record, gender, marital status, how long you’ve been licensed, where you live, what type of car you drive, your credit score, and so on. Of course, one of the biggest factors is a history of car accidents.

If you’re like a lot of people, you assume that if you’re in a car accident, your insurance rates will automatically go up, but that’s not necessarily the case. There are variables that influence whether an insurance company decides to keep a policyholder’s rate the same or increase the premium.

Before increasing a policyholder’s premium, the insurance company will want to know:

  • Were you responsible for the accident?
  • How serious was the accident?
  • Was anyone injured or killed?
  • What is the extent of the property damage?
  • Do you have a history of at-fault accidents?
  • Do you have a history of moving violations?
  • Do you have a good driving history until now?

When Do Rates Increase After a Crash?

If you do cause an accident, your insurance rates may or may not go up. A rate increase depends on the above factors, but a major at-fault accident usually does result in a rate increase. If the insurance company decides to increase your rates because of your most recent claim, it won’t likely increase immediately. Instead, it should increase when it comes time to renew your policy. Also, if you previously enjoyed a safe driving discount, you’ll lose the discount, and by losing that discount, your rates will increase accordingly.

Rates Don’t Go Up After Every Crash

If a driver has an excellent driving record and they get into a minor fender bender, their rates may not increase at all. Even if you were at-fault, your rates may not go up after a minor accident, especially if you have a good driving record or accident forgiveness, which rewards policyholders for safe driving and looks at their driving record as a whole; it doesn’t necessarily penalize them for the most recent accident.

We hope you found this information helpful. To file a car accident claim, contact Jones & Swanson for a free consultation.

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