Vehicle accidents are sadly a fact of life amongst us at some point or another and those accidents ultimately result in a negative impact on your auto insurance whether you have a minor sideswipe with another car or a one-vehicle total loss. Sadly, these accidents will mar your insurance records for upwards of five years and drastically increase your insurance premiums for most likely that entire duration. There are things that you can do in an effort to lower the elevated auto insurance premiums.
Auto Insurance And Accidents
Auto insurance carriers use varying factors in order to calculate the rates that they charge for their plans.
- Your age
- Make/model of the car
- Your gender
- Where you’re located
- Your overall driving record
These are the most critical factors that the auto insurance carriers will use in determining the level of risk you are to them as a policyholder. A driver who is deemed to be high-risk by the carrier would be someone that would be a threat of costing more money via filing many more accident claims and receiving greater numbers of traffic violations.
Having vehicle accidents will oftentimes result in elevated insurance premiums depending on the facts.
- If you are not actually the driver at fault, the rates on your policy may remain the same. That isn’t always the way it goes. There are some carriers who will raise the rates regardless of the fault in the accident.
- Minor scrapes will be less likely to cause an increase in your premium rates.
- Having accident forgiveness included in your auto insurance plan will give you just one free spin when you have an accident without your rates rising due to the accident.
- If you haven’t had any accidents in an approximate six-year time span, you may not see any increase in your premiums.
Each carrier is going to have their own set of guidelines and their own exceptions to the rules. Despite your rates potentially remaining the same, you could lose privileges, e.g. good driving discount. The ramifications of an accident as far as the expense and level of impact on your plan will be realized when the premium is recalculated.
Having a violent highway auto accident will raise your premiums more readily than that of a minor scrape. Having numerous minor crashes will result in much higher premiums. Having a minor auto accident inside a six-year time frame within succession of several specific driving citations will affect your auto insurance premiums. There is also the possibility of premium increases if you’re involved in a non-at-fault accident.
If you’re of a certain age, you may have already been deemed a high-risk including teens who pay the largest insurance rates followed close by senior citizens. If anyone in these groups causes an accident, there is no break given by the insurance carriers.
How To Get Accidents Off Your Car Insurance
A vehicle accident will be on your auto insurance record for upwards of between three to five years and the only thing to do with that process is to wait it out. The critical thing to do during that period is to take preventative measures when it comes to accidents and traffic violations. There are some carriers who are strict with their repercussions and elevate the rate continuously for the entire time period while others will allow the rates to decline over the duration.
Though your premium increase may affect you for as little as three years, your carrier is going to place you on a probationary period for six years. During that time, if you have any kind of infraction, there will most likely be a major increase.
It’s important that you keep track of your driving record each year which you can obtain from the local DMV to make sure there are no discrepancies. If you find any errors, you’ll need to contact the Motor Vehicle Administration and your carrier so that they can review your record.
Lowering Premiums After An Accident
Accidents are accidents, but the major thing to remember in order to get your rates to eventually come down is to try to avoid them at all costs and take measures to prevent traffic citations. There are also things you can do to try to make the higher rates a little more bearable or alleviate some of the cost.
- Discounts. Carriers offer their policyholders a multitude of discounts. If you check with them you will find discounts for a number of different reasons, e.g. driving infrequently, getting good grades, having safety features installed, etc.
- Bundle. Combine your home and car insurance into one policy which will give you a bundling discount. This will provide upwards of 20% off from your rates.
- Shop. Each carrier is going to have different guidelines, rules, ways that they will assess their risks and price their plans. If you find that your rates went through the roof due to an accident, shop the plan and see if another company can do better by you.
- Claims. Insurance companies are not excited by policyholders reporting claims which is an expense for them. If you happen to be one who tends to file a lot of claims or does so right after having received a citation or having an accident, you’ll likely get a rate increase. Try paying for minor scrapes out of pocket. If you can keep your record clean for a few years, have the carrier recalculate premiums.
- Reassess. Review your coverage. There are instances where drivers are paying for coverage they either don’t know they have or don’t necessarily need. Raise the deductible for a lower rate or let go of the comprehensive. You could also release the roadside assistance or any rental coverage.
There are a few different ways to maneuver your rates back to an affordable means after the accidents and the violations, but the ideal scenario is to always drive safely and cautiously and there’ll be no need to worry about the rate increases to begin with.