How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up After an Accident?

Posted on August 9, 2023 in Car Accidents

After a car accident, your mind might be swirling with questions and concerns. The financial challenges may concern you the most, particularly regarding your car insurance. How much will your premium increase after an accident? The answer can depend on many factors. Your insurance premium may increase substantially or may not increase at all.

A car accident lawyer can help you understand how and what factors affect your premium prices, coverage limits, policy terms, and insurance company practices to influence compensation negotiations.

The Factors Influencing Car Insurance Rates After an Accident

Every car accident has its own set of unique concerns. By carefully evaluating those elements, you may get a better idea of how much your insurance will increase after an accident.

The Risk Assessment Model

Insurance companies use a risk assessment model to determine the premium you pay. They look at several factors to determine the likelihood that you will be in a car accident.

For example, the insurance company might examine:

  • Your accident history: If you have a significant accident history, you may end up paying higher insurance premiums than if you have an overall safe driving history with few or no past accidents.
  • Your driving record: In addition to examining your accident history, the insurance company may look at how often you’ve received tickets and traffic violations. If you frequently ignore the rules of the road, including anything from speeding to distracted driving or driving while intoxicated, it may cause a significant jump in your premiums.
  • Your demographics: Some people have a greater risk of causing an accident than others. For example, teen drivers have a much higher fatal crash rate than drivers in other age ranges, which means they may pay higher overall insurance premiums than more experienced drivers.

Any changes to the factors that car insurance companies use to determine risk, like being in a car accident, could potentially increase your risk profile and premium.

Evaluating the Accident

The nature of the accident can be important in determining whether your rates go up.

The insurance company may look at several details. 

  • How much damage occurred because of the accident? After a minor fender bender, your insurance rates may increase far less than after a major incident that involved a great deal of property damage.
  • What injuries occurred in the accident? Severe injuries generally mean larger payouts from the insurance company due to higher medical costs and greater victim needs, which means the insurance company may be more likely to increase your rates.
  • What does your insurance policy say about accidents? Some companies offer accident forgiveness when you have only one accident within a specific period, usually several years.

The more severe the accident, the more likely an insurance company is to increase your rate.

Your Insurance Policy

Experience Lawyer for Car AccidentThe terms and conditions of your insurance policy play an important role in determining the changes you may face after an accident. Every insurance company’s policy language differs, making it challenging to predict precisely how an accident may change your premium. Your insurance policy may determine how much your insurance rate will go up and how your insurance company will evaluate the rate changes.

Your Lawyer

Your lawyer’s role in all of this can be essential to determining what insurance increases you may have to deal with after the accident. A lawyer can interpret the details of your policy, gather the necessary evidence regarding your accident, and advocate for you with the insurance company. Their involvement could potentially minimize the effect of the accident on your premium, which is another reason why having a lawyer by your side in the aftermath of an accident can prove invaluable.

The Role of Fault in Car Accidents and Insurance Claims

Deciding who bears fault in a car accident is not just about pointing fingers. It plays a significant role in the legal and financial aftermath of the situation, including the potential increase in your car insurance premium.

In most states, the driver who’s primarily at fault for causing the accident is the one whose insurance company takes responsibility for paying for the damage. The question of fault, therefore, has paramount importance.

Different states have different approaches to determining fault for an accident, including how much financial responsibility the insurance company of the driver that caused the accident will bear.


Establishing Fault

The process of establishing fault can involve an analysis of police reports, witness statements, state traffic laws, and even reconstructed events of the accident. One thing to keep in mind is that the insurance companies will also conduct investigations to determine fault.

While your lawyer can minimize your liability and show how the other driver caused or contributed to the accident, the insurance company may downplay its covered driver’s actions to decrease the compensation it may have to pay.

An experienced personal injury lawyer understands the process of determining fault and how to collect and present evidence effectively to support your case. They know the relevant laws and can work to ensure that fault gets assigned appropriately.

Remember, the determination of fault can significantly influence your insurance premium. A skilled personal injury lawyer can guide you through this complex legal terrain, advocating on your behalf every step of the way.

If you bear fault for the accident, in many cases, your premium will increase far more than if the insurance company determines that you don’t bear liability. On the other hand, if the insurance company determines that your actions contributed to the accident, you may end up paying more for your insurance for years after the incident.

How Claims Influence Insurance Premiums

Filing a claim with your insurance company often serves as a vital step after a car accident. Many drivers understandably worry about how making a claim may change their insurance premiums.

Generally, when you file a claim, your insurance company assesses the situation and determines whether your premiums will increase and by how much. Each company may have its own set of guidelines and policies for dealing with claims.

When You Don’t Bear Fault

What happens if you didn’t bear fault for the accident? Many people think that if you don’t bear liability for the accident, your premiums won’t increase. Not all insurance companies operate that way.

Depending on your insurance company’s policies and the specifics of the accident, your premium might still go up. The insurance company may determine that you have a higher risk of causing or getting involved in accidents, increasing your risk profile and insurance premium.

Further complicating matters, insurance companies also look at the frequency of your claims. Even if the accidents weren’t your fault, frequent claims could potentially trigger a premium increase.

A personal injury lawyer can file a claim, communicate with the insurance company, and manage the entire process. They can deal with this complex situation and prevent your insurance premium from increasing.

Mitigating the Impact of an Accident on Your Insurance Premium

After an accident, your focus should ideally remain on recovery and not worrying about how the accident may lead to a rise in your car insurance premium. In many cases, the increase in insurance premiums can cause a great deal of stress, leaving you worried and out of sorts. Fortunately, you can do several things that may decrease the effect on your insurance after an accident.

When you make a claim, insurance companies will start their investigation, looking at a myriad of factors. The quality of the information and evidence they receive may influence what they find and how they interpret it. This is where a lawyer can make a significant difference by working to provide organized and compelling evidence and clear communication.

Engaging the services of a personal injury lawyer early on can prove highly beneficial. From the onset, they can guide critical decisions, collect evidence, and advise you on communications with your insurance company. They know how to present your case in the most favorable light, potentially preventing an increase in your premium.

Negotiate to Reduce Liability

Another key role your lawyer plays is in negotiations with the insurance company. If there’s a dispute over fault or a disagreement over the claims, your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf. Their experience can often lead to more favorable outcomes, ensuring the protection of your interests.

Check Your Policy

After your accident, look carefully at your policy and review your coverage. While you do have to carry minimum coverage based on your state’s requirements, you may reduce some coverage areas to decrease your overall insurance costs. Carefully study your current policy and where you may want to decrease coverage to lower your expenses.

Look Into Your Options

Sometimes, you may need to move your auto insurance policy to another provider after an accident. You may discover that, while you may have slightly higher rates from that insurer in general, they offer greater accident forgiveness or don’t have rates as high for your specific situation.

Talk to Your Insurer

If you need to lower your insurance rates, talk to your insurer about your options. They may advise you to take a class, look into potential discounts, or find ways to drop your costs without decreasing your current coverage.

The Long-Term Effect of Accidents on Insurance Premiums

After addressing your injuries, you may start to wonder about the long-term influence on your insurance premium. The effects of an accident on your car insurance premium can last for several years.

Insurance companies typically look at your driving record from the past three to five years to determine your rates. This means that a single accident can continue to influence your premium, sometimes for half a decade or more, depending on the severity of the accident and the policies of your insurance company.

What can your lawyer do to minimize this long-term change? Through careful management of the situation from the start, they can work to mitigate the potential increase in premium. This includes tactfully dealing with the claim, effectively negotiating with the insurance company, and ensuring the accurate representation of fault.

At a broader level, they can provide guidance on maintaining a clean driving record post-accident and even advise you on when it may be beneficial to switch insurance companies. Remember, a lawyer’s support can extend beyond immediate legal proceedings. They can provide strategic advice aimed at safeguarding your finances in the long run.

Your journey post-accident doesn’t have to come with persistent financial anxiety. With a lawyer’s assistance, you can strategically navigate the situation, minimizing the long-term effect on your insurance premium while you focus on your recovery, which is where your attention truly belongs.

Hire a Lawyer After Your Car Accident

Robert W. Boatman - Experienced Lawyer for Car Accident Cases near Phoenix, AZ area

Robert W. Boatman, Car Accident Attorney in Phoenix

`The factors influencing car accident rates, the role of fault, the method of claims assessment, and the immediate and long-term implications all add to the complexity of managing this situation.

Through this labyrinth, one key message stands out, which is the value of legal support. Having a personal injury lawyer by your side during this process can make a significant difference. They can collect and present crucial evidence, assist in negotiations, provide advice on interacting with insurance companies, and work to mitigate the potential impact on your car insurance premiums.

Contact a personal injury law firm in Phoenix area as soon as possible after the accident to receive comprehensive support and guidance as you manage your insurance claim.