How to get affordable car insurance after an accident
Your car insurance rates may go up after an accident — but it depends on your driving history and how the accident went down.
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Can a previous claim affect the price of my car insurance?
Yes, filing a claim on your car insurance will likely increase your premiums. If you have a no-claims discount, your premium may go up even higher if you lose it.
If you were at fault in the accident, you’ll likely see a significant jump in your car insurance rates. If the other driver was completely at fault, whether or not your premiums will go up — and by how much — will depend on a number of factors, including where you live, the accident and your driving history. In some states, insurers aren’t allowed to raise your rates due to an accident where you weren’t at fault.
Note that calling your insurer to ask about a possible claim may count on your claims record in the same way as actually making the claim. For example, you might want to call your insurer to find out if you’re covered for windshield damage in a minor fender bender. Even if you decide to pay out of pocket and not report the accident or make a claim, your insurer may consider this incident as a sign of increased risk, and therefore raise your rates.
How long will a claim affect my car insurance for?
It depends on your insurer and your state of residence. When you get a car insurance quote, you’ll generally be asked about your claims history over the last three to five years. Any claim made within this time period is likely to affect your premium but as time passes between your last claim, those older claims should start to have less of an effect on your premium.
How much does car insurance go up after a claim?
The amount your car insurance premium increases will depend on the nature of the claim, how much your insurer has to pay out to cover the claim and your current level of risk. For example, for two minor at-fault accidents in a short period, you might see your monthly car insurance premiums increase by $100 or more, depending on your insurer.
At-fault claims or claims you’re responsible for are likely to push premiums up higher than non-fault claims. This is mainly due to insurers believing that at-fault drivers are more likely to need to claim again, which increases their risk profile. Drivers who are younger or have been in previous accidents are more likely to see a significant jump.
Certain types of claims are also more likely to significantly increase premiums. For example, a car accident with a DUI or reckless driving charge will likely increase your premiums more than a mild fender bender that couldn’t have been avoided.
Will making a claim affect my no-claims discount?
Yes, you’ll likely lose some or all of your no claims discount. However, some insurers won’t take away your discount if you’re involved in a crash that’s not your fault, or if you make a comprehensive claim. The guidelines will vary between insurers, so talk with your provider to find out how your discount will be affected by an accident.
It’s worth remembering that even if you manage to keep hold of some or all of your discount after a claim, your overall premium could still increase.
How can I save money on car insurance if I’ve made previous claims?
- Increase your deductible. Agreeing to pay a bigger deductible could make your overall premium cheaper. But don’t agree to a deductible you can’t afford to pay after an accident.
- Re-evaluate your coverage. Check to see if you have more coverage than you need, and change it if you do. For example, if your deductible is more than the value of your car, collision coverage may not be worth the cost.
- Pay for your policy up front. Paying for your policy all at once can net you a significant discount.
- Pick a safe car. Choosing to drive a small and safe car is likely to lower your premium.
- Look for discounts. For example, some insurers offer discounts to good students, and others will lower your rates if you agree to use an app or device that monitors how safely you drive.
- Shop around. Shop around and compare your options to find the best deal each time your policy is up. Keep in mind that the cheapest policy isn’t always the best policy, so check the coverage details carefully to ensure they match your needs.
How can I check my car insurance claims history?
If you want to find out what claims are on your record, or what tickets might be affecting your rates, you can request a copy of your driving record.
In some cases, the easiest way to do this is to just ask your insurer for a copy. But if your insurer says no or you don’t currently have car insurance, you can also request a copy at the DMV in person and/or online, depending on your state.
Getting in an accident will likely increase your premiums, especially if you were at fault. But how much depends on your insurer. To get the best rates after an accident, compare car insurance providers to find one that works for you.
Common questions about car insurance after making a claim
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