The costs of a car accident can be significant. From massive medical bills to expensive repairs or replacement of your vehicle to lost income from missed work, a collision that happened in an instant can have a lasting impact on your finances.
According to the insurance site ValuePenguin.com, a full coverage auto insurance policy could increase by 46% annually if the insured causes an injury accident. While some companies offer safe driver discounts or accident forgiveness programs that could help keep your insurance premiums down, rates often increase after crashes with injuries or significant property damage.
Typical Car Insurance Rate Increases After an Accident
At-fault car accidents and moving violations can cause your car insurance premium to go up. How much they will increase will depend on:
- Whether someone was injured or killed in the crash.
- The amount of property damage caused. Insurance rates tend to increase significantly if there was property damage of $2,000 or more.
A minor fender-bender where no one was injured and property did not sustain significant damage will likely result in a much smaller rate increase than a collision with extensive property damage, severe injuries, or fatalities.
Will My Insurance Rates Go Up If I Didn’t Cause the Accident?
If you were found to be 50% or more at fault for the accident, the insurance company would likely consider it to be a “chargeable event.” The insurer will likely raise your insurance rates if you caused damage to someone else’s property or caused someone else bodily injury or death.
If someone else was responsible for the crash, your insurer might not increase your rates. They will likely want to see proof of this. Some documents that could prove that the other party was to blame include:
- The police report filed after the accident
- A statement of fault from the other driver’s insurance company
- A written statement from the other driver accepting responsibility
- Any legal documents showing that you were reimbursed for damage to your vehicle or other expenses
How Long Will an Accident Affect My Car Insurance Rates?
Most insurance companies raise premiums immediately after the crash and gradually lower the rates over the next three to five years. The rate will likely increase the next time your policy renews and might remain slightly higher than your initial rate for an average of five years after an accident.
Should I File a Claim With My Insurance Company If My Rate Will Increase?
Whether you file a claim with your insurance company is a personal decision. It helps to understand how much your insurance rates might go up and whether that increase will be more or less than covering the cost of property damage after a car accident.
For example, if your rates go up by $200 a year over four years, that’s an $800 increase. If the accident repairs will cost you $1,500 out of pocket and your deductible is $500, your total out-of-pocket cost is $1,300. That’s $800 for the premium increase plus $500 for the deductible. Your total savings for making the insurance claim is $200.
When an Accident Might Not Increase Car Insurance Rates
Circumstances where you may not have an increase in your premiums include if:
- Your car was damaged in a hit-and-run accident.
- You were legally parked when someone else hit your car.
- You were rear-ended and not ticketed for a moving violation.
- Your car was damaged by acts of nature such as a collision with an animal or falling object.
Contact a Houston Car Accident Lawyer
If you were involved in a car accident in Houston, contact the injury attorneys at Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, for a free consultation right away. We have decades of experience handling motor vehicle accident claims. Let us put our skills to work for you.