After a car crash, you may experience physical and mental distress. You may even be in a state of shock. The last thing you want to worry about is, How much does car insurance go up after an accident?

Still, costly insurance increases are a major concern for anyone who’s been involved in an at-fault or a not-at-fault car accident.

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The amount your car insurance increases after an accident depends on several factors, such as:

Nationally, the average insurance rate increase is 47 percent following an accident that results in injuries and 45 percent after a collision with property damage only.

The type of damage sustained in the collision also matters: For an at-fault property damage accident with more than $2,000 worth of damages, the average rate hike is 31 percent, or $450. In contrast, the average increase is 3 percent, or $39, for a comprehensive claim exceeding $2,000.

To complicate matters further, the amount that your car insurance goes up after an accident will depend on certain details of the collision, such as who was at fault and what exactly happened in the accident.

Rate hikes may also vary by insurance carrier and the details of your policy. For example, the average annual cost for full coverage insurance before an accident for an Allstate-insured driver is $1,920, and $2,366 after an accident. In contrast, the average annual rate for a State Farm-insured driver is $1,422 before, and $1,722 after, an accident.

Your Driving History Matters

Your driving history also will affect how much your car insurance goes up after an accident. If you have accidents and traffic violations on your driving report, your insurance may increase more than it would if you had a clean driving record.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) typically becomes aware of the car accident when the police issue you a citation or fill out a police report for the car accident. If the accident was minor, and you and the other driver simply exchanged contact information, it’s doubtful that the DMV will be aware of the accident. However, state reporting rules vary and some states have specific guidelines as to how, when, and if a driver is required to report accidents.

In most states, insurance companies use a points system to track violations. These points accrue over time on your driving record, following at-fault accidents and certain traffic violations. Insurers will examine your record for red flags; these then may be used to justify a higher rate increase.

When Do Car Accidents “Fall Off” Insurance?

After finding out how much your car insurance goes up after an accident, you may also wonder when car accidents “fall off” insurance (or cease to be a factor in determining your rate). As mentioned, accidents and serious traffic violations are recorded on your driving record, which is stored at the DMV; these can affect your insurance rates for years following the incident.

The good news is your accident won’t stay on your driving record forever.

When car accidents fall off your record for insurance purposes depends on the state in which you live. In general, minor accidents and tickets will remain on your driving record for three years. Serious violations, like driving under the influence (DUIs) and hit-and-runs, will remain for 10 years or longer.

If the accident wasn’t your fault, it may still be included on your driving record, but it shouldn’t automatically affect your insurance premium.

Ensure you obtain a copy of the police report following a collision so you can verify who was at-fault for the incident. However, technically, insurers can raise your rates even if you weren’t the at-fault driver.

What Is Accident Forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness is an auto insurance benefit that enables the insurance provider to forgive a customer’s first car accident if the customer is at-fault. This benefit saves the driver substantial money because it prevents their premium rate from increasing after their first accident.

Each insurance company has its own policies dictating how and why accident forgiveness can be awarded to customers. Some insurance companies offer this benefit for free as a reward for a period of safe driving, whereas others may charge an extra monthly fee for this additional coverage.

When selecting your insurer, check whether your insurer offers accident forgiveness. Ask your insurer whether you qualify for accident forgiveness following an at-fault collision. This can help moderate rate increases.

How Can I Save Costs After An Accident?

If your car insurance does go up substantially after an accident, you may be looking for ways to save money. There are a few options that can help lower your monthly rate:

  • Shop around for better rates at another company
  • Increase your deductible
  • Seek discounts
  • Work on bringing up your credit score
  • Enroll in driver’s education

Can I Switch Insurance After An Accident When I Was At-Fault?

If your insurer does not provide accident forgiveness and you’re worried about a rate increase, it may be a good time for you to shop around.

You have the option of finding a different insurance company following a premium hike, even when you were found at-fault for the accident. Either look for a cheaper rate at another company or choose one that offers accident forgiveness as a benefit.

Your old company will still be in charge of settling the accident, but your new one may offer a deal that beats the new higher premium.

Obtain A Free Case Review If You Still Have Questions

If you still have questions about how much your car insurance may go up after an accident or need help ascertaining your legal options, get a free case review from an experienced attorney. They’ll review your case to help you obtain the best possible solution, irrespective of what your insurance company does.

Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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