Posted on: 26 July 2017
After an auto accident, your first thought may not be what happens to your insurance rates, especially if you've been injured or your car totaled. However, the fact is that any reported accident affects your insurance. Check out these three facts regarding auto insurance after an accident to see what you can expect next.
Your Rates May Increase
One popular fear is that your auto insurance rates will increase if you are in an accident, and unfortunately, that is usually true, especially if you are the at-fault driver. However, even if you weren't responsible for the accident, your rate may increase. This is because the insurance company argues you aren't a defensive or you are a distracted driver, which can also lead to accidents. The theory behind increasing your rates (whether you are at-fault or not) is that if you've been in one accident, the insurance carriers believe you are more likely to get into another.
There are some insurance providers that allow you to add something such as accident forgiveness to your policy. While this doesn't protect you from every accident, it does protect you from your first accident, so you won't see a rate increase. On the other hand, in some states, if you were not responsible for the accident, and you file a claim under your comprehensive coverage, it's illegal for the insurance carrier to increase your rates. If you see a rate increase, make sure it is allowed in your state.
The Increase Is Based on the Accident
If you do have a rate increase, it is determined by the severity of the accident. For example, if you barely bump another car, causing a small scratch but no major damage or injuries. Your insurance carrier pays little to get that scratch fixed. As a result, you pay little for that accident. You should only see a minor increase in your rates for this type. However, if you total another car and injure the other driver, the repairs and medical bills cost the insurance carrier more money, so you pay more money in rates.
Luckily, the rate increase is typically temporary. In fact, it usually lasts about three years. There are some actions you can do to lower the rate increase. Taking driving classes or increasing your deductible are great ways to help lower your rates. Lastly, your driving history plays a role too. If you have a clean driving record, you're more likely to see a smaller increase than if you had a history full of accidents and tickets.
Uninsured Motorist Claims Protect You
Insurance is designed to protect you and your car from accidents, but not everyone bothers to actually get auto insurance. If someone without insurance causes an accident that damages your car or causes injuries, what do you do? You file the claim with your own insurance carrier as an uninsured motorist claim. Of course, you'll need to make sure you have uninsured motorist coverage on your plan.
The trouble with these types of claims, however, is that your insurance company may not trust you. If they feel you are trying to scam them, they may not do their duty to handle claims in good faith. In other words, if they don't handle your claim as if you are being honest from the start, you may have to file a bad faith claim against the insurance company.
Auto accidents can be a headache, especially when dealing with the aftermath. If you've been in an accident, and someone has been injured, contact an auto accident attorney in your area today to schedule a consultation and learn your rights.Share