Will a Car Accident Cause My Insurance Rates to Go Up?
Being in an accident is stressful. Wondering if your car accident will cause your insurance rates to go up can make matters worse. Before panicking, keep in mind that insurance companies consider many things before raising rates, such as the extent of damages and how many accidents you have had before. A car accident attorney will be able to explain these details and protect you from a premium hike if you did not cause the accident.
An Insurance Rate Rise Will Depend on Several Factors
Contacting your insurance company after an accident does not automatically mean your premiums will skyrocket. Insurers look at the following components before deciding to hike up your premium.
Who Caused the Accident?
In many cases, a car accident will cause insurance rates to go up when you are at fault. Missouri law requires your insurance carrier to absorb only the percentage of the accident you were responsible for. For instance, if you hit a bicyclist but he or she was riding outside of the cycling lane, you may be considered only 80% at fault.
In Illinois, the person who caused the majority of the accident is held fully responsible. If whomever you hit files a claim, your insurance company will investigate the accident and assess damages. Because your insurer will have to cover the costs of the victim’s vehicle damage, bodily injuries, and pain and suffering, an insurance rate rise is possible.
If you are clearly not at fault, the other party’s insurer should pay for your repairs and medical bills, so your rates should not rise. Just keep in mind that their provider will pay out as little as possible. If you have suffered extensive damages, you may not receive enough compensation to cover all of your bills. This is why it’s important to seek legal advice from a car accident attorney even in accidents when you are not at fault.
In general, the following types of accidents should not make your rates go up:
- A rear-end collision, in which your vehicle was hit from behind.
- You were parked legally when someone hit your vehicle.
- A falling object or rock hit damaged your vehicle or caused you to lose control and wreck.
The Cost of Damages
Fender benders do not cost insurance companies a lot of money. If your insurance provider has to pay for less than $1,000 worth of damages, chances are your premiums won’t increase. But if you caused a serious accident leading to expensive medical bills or total loss of a vehicle, you may be penalized with a rate increase.
Your Driving Record
Some insurance providers are easier on drivers who don’t have a history of accidents. Progressive and Geico offer “accident forgiveness” programs, in which they don’t raise rates after a single claim if drivers have been accident-free for a certain number of years. If your insurer has this program and this is your first accident, you may not see an insurance rate rise.
But other insurance companies will raise rates after a customer makes a claim – even if the driver has been safe for years. State Farm, for instance, provides discounted rates after three years of having no accidents. But they increase rates by an average of 21% after an at-fault accident that results in property damage or injuries. According to The Insurance Information Institute, a driver whose premium increases after an accident can expect it to remain at that rate for the next three years.
Will a Hit and Run Car Accident Cause Insurance Rates to Go Up?
Being in a hit and run accident is a frustrating situation altogether. First, someone smashes into you, and then they drive away and you are left wondering if you have to pay for medical bills and damages. Your uninsured motorist protection should cover some of those costs. Both Illinois and Missouri require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage at the legal minimum required for bodily injury or death, which is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Coverage for property damage is available as an add-on in both states, so if you did not opt for this coverage, making a claim will not pay for vehicle damage.
Many hit and run victims avoid calling police to the scene, especially if damage is minimal, to avoid a premium increase. But documenting the accident will allow you to get compensation from your insurance company, and may help find the guilty party. A report published by the AAA foundation shows that roughly half of all hit and run drivers are eventually caught.
A Car Accident Attorney Can Keep Your Insurance Company From Raising Your Rates
Making a claim may or not cause an insurance rate rise. Again, it depends on the extent of damages. If you are found at fault for an accident, your insurance company will have to pay for the other party’s property damage and bodily injuries. This could hike up your premium for years to come – and that’s not fair if you were wrongly accused. Our car accident attorneys will go to bat to prove your innocence so your insurer doesn’t have the right to raise your rates.
You have enough stress to deal with after a car accident. Let us handle the rest. We have hundreds of 5-Star Google Reviews, and would love to help with your case.