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Updated December 1, 2022
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is stressful. In addition to healing from injuries caused by the accident and getting your car repaired (or in some cases replaced), you may also be facing higher auto insurance premiums after your accident.
However, you can still lower your post-accident car insurance rates by doing your research and finding a better deal. To help you through your journey, we’ve put together some resources below.
Table of contents
- How much does car insurance go up after an accident?
- When does insurance go down after an accident?
- Car insurance rates for drivers with an accident on their record
- How to reduce your car insurance rates after an accident
- Consider enrolling in an accident forgiveness program
- Car insurance after an accident FAQs
How much does car insurance go up after an accident?
Depending on who is at fault, the severity of the accident, and how long ago the accident occurred, your insurer may decide to raise your rates by a little, a lot, or not at all. Here are several of the most common factors that can affect your car insurance premiums in the aftermath of an accident:
You were at fault: 26% increase
If your driving decisions are what caused the accident, your insurance company is likely to raise your rates. Data derived from Insurify’s proprietary database of 70 million quotes indicates that a driver with a clean driving record pays an average monthly premium of $267, while a driver with an at-fault accident on their record pays an average of $336 per month. This means you can expect your rates to go up by about 26% after an at-fault accident.
You were not at fault
So what happens if you were driving safely and another driver caused the accident? Even though it may seem unfair, insurance companies will often raise your rates even when you’re not at fault. Insurify’s database indicates that the average driver in a not-at-fault accident will pay $295 per month for auto insurance premiums — a nearly 10% increase over the $267 monthly premiums paid by drivers with clean records.
Drivers in Oklahoma and California are protected from such rate increases after a not-at-fault accident, according to the Consumer Federation of America. In those states, consumer protection laws prevent insurers from raising rates on safe drivers who are in accidents caused by someone else.
Learn More: No-Fault Insurance: What You Need to Know
The severity of your accident will help determine how much your insurance company decides to raise your rates. A low-speed accident in a parking lot will usually result in a smaller rate increase to your insurance premiums than an accident that caused extensive property damage to multiple cars.
No one filed a claim
If you don’t file a claim, your insurance company will have no reason to increase your rates. This is a common course of action for drivers who are in a single-vehicle accident with minimal damage. For instance, if you scrape the side of your car while backing out of your garage, you might choose to pay out of pocket for the repair, especially if the repair costs less than your deductible.
But if you’re in a multi-car accident, it’s best to report that accident to your insurance company. If you fail to report an accident soon after it happens, your insurance company may choose not to honor your policy.
When does insurance go down after an accident?
Most insurers will raise your rates for three years after an accident, according to the Insurance Information Institute. If you remain accident-free for those three years, your rates will generally go down again. However, a major accident could lead your insurance company to keep your premiums high for as long as five years — or longer, according to Car and Driver.
Insurify’s proprietary data of over 70 million quotes can help give a sense of how much your premiums could increase and for how long. Take a look at these average quotes based on the time after an accident:
|Time After an Accident||Average Car Insurance Quote|
|Less than one year||$313|
|1–3 years ago||$310|
|3–5 years ago||$316|
|5–7 years ago||$261|
|7–10 years ago||$281|
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Car insurance rates for drivers with an accident on their record
Car insurance companies vary in how they set rates for the different driving records, including those with an accident on record. The following data from Insurify’s proprietary database of over 70 million quotes can help you understand the average quote each insurer offers to drivers with an accident on their records:
|Insurance Company||Average Monthly Quote|
The data featured on this page is sourced from Insurify’s proprietary database of over 70 million quotes. Our data scientists then examined these quotes to reveal the impact of having a car accident on your driving record.
Quotes from some companies, such as State Farm, USAA, GEICO, and Allstate, were sourced from a third party dataset provided through Quadrant Information Services. Our data team then analyzed these quotes and broke them down to provide an apples-to-apples comparison between all the companies featured on this page.
How to reduce your car insurance rates after an accident
You can take several steps to reduce your rates after getting into an accident, including:
Take a defensive driving course. Many insurance companies offer a premium discount to drivers who have completed a defensive driving course, which teaches you safe driving techniques and strategies for avoiding collisions. Taking such a course after an accident may not result in a discounted rate, but it could ensure any accident-related rate increase is more modest than it would have been.
Increase your deductible. Your deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket for a claim before your insurance kicks in. A higher deductible typically means a lower premium. Increasing your deductible can help you keep your post-accident insurance premiums affordable. But this option is only a good idea for drivers who have a robust emergency fund or can otherwise afford the cost of a higher deductible.
Reduce your coverage. Cutting out some coverage from your auto insurance policy can help lower your monthly rate. All drivers are required to carry liability insurance, but you may be able to cut other optional coverages, like comprehensive and collision coverage, which may be a good idea if you have an older car that doesn’t cost a lot to replace. Just be sure you are adequately covered for the most likely types of losses. Skimping on necessary coverage could cause more problems than it’s worth.
Shop around for a better price. Each insurer has a unique way of determining your monthly premium, so you may be able to find a rate that fits in your budget by switching to a different insurer. While not all insurance companies are willing to take on a high-risk driver — which is how many companies will categorize you post-accident — some companies specialize in such drivers. Getting quotes through a quote-comparison platform can help you identify which one will give you the best deal.
Learn More: Car Insurance Discount Guide
Consider enrolling in an accident forgiveness program
Unfortunately, even the safest of drivers may get into an accident or two in their lifetime. Some insurance companies recognize that statistical probability and offer accident forgiveness programs. Under these programs, the insurance company won’t raise your premiums after you’ve gotten into an accident.
Some accident forgiveness programs are included as a clause in your auto insurance. Others add this clause to the policies of drivers who have maintained a clean driving record for five years. But most insurers offer accident forgiveness as a rider that you’ll need to purchase for your policy. Unfortunately, you can’t purchase a forgiveness policy to forgive an accident that’s already happened.
In addition, not all accidents are eligible for forgiveness. Depending on the severity of the accident or contributing factors (such as drunk driving), an insurance company can decline to forgive an accident, even if you’ve paid for an accident forgiveness rider.
Accident forgiveness isn’t available in every state, and many insurers will only offer the program to drivers with at least five years of clean driving experience — meaning no accidents or traffic violations.
Car insurance after an accident FAQs
Insurance companies can’t raise (or lower) your rates until you renew your policy. This means your premiums will remain the same after an accident for the duration of your policy contract. The higher rates will go into effect when you renew your policy for the next term. This gives you time to shop around for a less expensive insurer or find ways to reduce your rates before renewal.
The insurance industry doesn’t have a hard-and-fast standard for claim deadlines after an accident, though most insurance policies state that drivers should file a claim “promptly” or “in a timely manner.”
The insurance company needs to be able to investigate your claim, and it becomes more difficult to determine aspects of the claim (such as who is at fault) the longer you wait to file it. It’s wise to file your claim as soon as you can after the accident.
Shopping around for quotes is the best way to find cheaper car insurance after getting into an accident. By comparing multiple insurers, you’ll be able to find the coverage that meets your needs at a price you can afford. You may also want to consider quotes from car insurance companies that specialize in insurance for high-risk drivers. Since these insurers are geared toward drivers with a less-than-stellar driving record, you’re more likely to be approved for coverage.
Auto insurance policyholders have the right to cancel their car insurance policy at any time, including after an accident. Your insurance company will continue to process your claim, as long as your policy was in place as of the day of the accident.
This is also true if your car is totaled in an accident. In that case, you’ll only have to pay premiums on that policy until you and the insurance company agree on a settlement amount and you sign over the title to the insurer, according to the site Detroit Bureau.
However, it’s not necessarily advisable to cancel your policy after an accident, in case you have a gap in coverage. Any gap in coverage, no matter how short a duration, will likely result in higher premiums in the future. Before canceling your policy, make sure you have another policy ready to start on the same day of the original policy’s cancellation.
It depends. Drivers generally don’t see a rate increase after an accident in which another driver was at fault. But if you’re a driver who has previously been at fault in a different accident, or has previously filed a different claim, the no-fault accident may trigger a rate increase. This means drivers with clean driving records can usually expect their rates to stay the same after a no-fault accident, but drivers with any claims or accidents on their records may see a rate bump when it’s time for them to renew.
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Data scientists at Insurify analyzed more than 40 million real-time auto insurance rates from our partner providers across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Service's database of auto insurance rates. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how companies price their car insurance premiums.
- Consumer Fed. "Major Insurance Companies Raise Premiums After Not-At-Fault Accidents." Accessed December 1, 2022
- III. "Do auto insurance premiums go up after a claim?." Accessed December 1, 2022
- Car and Driver. "Do Insurance Rates Go Up After a No-Fault Accident?." Accessed December 1, 2022
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Quick Facts 2020." Accessed December 1, 2022
- NAIC. "A Consumer's Guide to Auto Insurance." Accessed December 1, 2022
- Detroit Bureau. "Can You Cancel Auto Insurance After an Accident?." Accessed December 1, 2022