Car accidents—small or large—are always stressful. They leave a lasting impact on the driver, your vehicle, but also on your insurance. Immediately following an accident can be an overwhelming time of filing claims, potentially paying deductibles, repairing damages to your car, and more. So much so that it often goes under discussed how your insurance policy and rates will be affected.
In this article, we’ll delve into how your insurance will be affected by an accident. We’ll talk about how long your policy will be affected, who’s at fault, and what kind of rate increases you can expect.
Your Rate Might Increase
Following an accident, one immediate effect on your car insurance is a potential increase in premiums. Insurance companies often view individuals involved in accidents as higher risks, leading to an adjustment in rates. This increase can vary based on several factors, including the severity of the accident, your driving history, and your insurance provider’s policies.
How Much Will My Rate Increase After a Car Accident?
The increase in insurance rates after a car accident can vary significantly based on multiple factors. On average, an at-fault accident might cause a premium increase of about 20% to 30%, but this figure isn’t universal. Each case is unique and rate increases will be based upon your individual situation.
Will My Car Insurance Go Up if Another Driver Hits Me?
Typically, if someone else hits you and they are found at fault, your insurance rates will likely not increase. In this scenario, the at-fault driver’s insurance is generally responsible for covering the damages, including repairs to your vehicle and any medical expenses, through their liability coverage. Your insurance company might assist in the claims process, but as long as you’re not responsible for the accident, it typically shouldn’t affect your rates.
But there are exceptions to this. If you’ve made a lot of recent claims (regardless of fault), your insurance company will likely need to reassess your rate.
However, insurance practices can vary between companies, so it’s best to check with your insurer to understand how a non-fault accident might affect your policy.
How Long Does an Accident Affect Your Car Insurance?
The duration of how long an accident affects your car insurance can vary. Typically, accidents stay on your insurance record for three to five years. During this time, insurance companies may consider the accident when calculating your premiums. However, the impact lessens over time, especially if you maintain a clean driving record after the incident. As the accident moves further into the past, its influence on your insurance rates diminishes.
Your car insurance rate isn’t increased as a “punishment” to the driver. But rather to ensure the insurer isn’t losing money by providing you coverage.
They’ll look at a few different factors to determine how long an accident affects your record:
- Severity of the Accident: A major accident causing significant damage or injuries may have a more prolonged impact on your insurance rates compared to a minor fender bender.
- Fault Determination: If you were found at fault for the accident, it might have a more significant impact on your premiums compared to being deemed not at fault.
- Insurance Provider Policies: Different insurance companies have varying policies regarding accidents and how long they impact premiums. Some may offer accident forgiveness programs that could mitigate the rate increase for your first accident.
How Can You Keep Your Insurance Rate Reasonable After an Accident?
While accidents can influence your car insurance rates, there are strategies to manage their impact.
1. Drive Safe
Maintaining a clean driving record after an accident is crucial. Safe driving habits can gradually outweigh the impact of past incidents on your insurance rates. Think of it like developing good credit with your insurance provider. They want to see that your accident was a one-off occasion, and that you’ll be a safe and trustworthy driver moving forward. It will take time to develop a history of safe driving. But it’s the best thing you can do to keep your car insurance affordable.
2. Shop Around
From time to time, it’s also smart to shop around and get insurance quotes from different providers. Some insurers might offer more forgiving rates, even with an accident on your record. But finding the perfect policy is not just about finding the cheapest policy. Talk to an insurance specialist to help find the perfect balance between quality and affordability.
3. Consider adjusting your deductible
Opting for a higher deductible might lower your rates, but it means paying more out-of-pocket in the event of another accident. If you had to pay your deductible for this past accident, consider if you can actually afford a larger hit than that in the future.
Best Car Insurance in PA
Accidents can influence your car insurance rates for a few years, but their impact diminishes over time, especially with a clean driving record. Being proactive in safe driving practices and exploring insurance options can help manage and potentially lessen the financial impact of accidents on your insurance premiums.
Looking for the best car insurance in PA? Contact The Kind Insurance. When you request a quote, we shop around and find the best options for you from various insurance companies. We stay by your side to answer any questions that may arise, and ensure you’re getting the best coverage at the most affordable cost. Request a quote today!