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Will a Car Accident Always Make My Insurance Go Up?

Will a Car Accident Always Make My Insurance Go Up?

Last updated 5th Aug 2022
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The short answer is that no, your insurance premium should not go up after every accident you are involved in. The circumstances of the accident can cause your premium to change, so if you are found at fault or have been found at least partially responsible for property damage or personal injuries, you may be charged more from now on. Some accidents will also limit your ability to find a car insurance agency that is willing to offer you coverage. 

When You Will Get a Surcharge

A surcharge is an increase in your insurance rate that you may receive after a life change or applicable car accident. Your insurance company can not increase your rates in the middle of a term, which is another reason that having longer terms is a smart plan. Most car insurance terms are for six months, even if you have monthly payments. Make sure your insurer does not try to charge you at an unfair time. 

Some policies have accident forgiveness, which allows you to leverage a good driving record against a chargeable accident. If you are given a surcharge on your insurance premiums, expect them to appear on your bills for around three to five years. 

Who Was At Fault?

Determining who was at fault for an accident is the core of almost every insurance claim and personal injury lawsuit. In many states, this is an “all or nothing” system, where one party is found to be responsible for the entire accident. In other states, financial and legal liability is divided up between all involved parties, where whoever holds the highest percentage of liability is the one who must pay. 

If you have been in a car accident, it is imperative that you learn and understand the applicable laws in the region where the collision took place. You will likely also need to retain the services of a local attorney who is familiar with these laws. For example, a car accident that takes place in Louisiana will be much better served by a Lafayette car crash lawyer than even the most expensive New York hotshot. 

If you are liable for the collision, that is a sure sign your insurance provider could raise your rates, but only if the result is something that costs them money. 

Chargeable Accidents

There are two types of accidents in the eyes of an insurance premium adjuster: chargeable accidents and nonchargeable accidents. Chargeable accidents are the ones that often lead to a surcharge. 

Generally, chargeable accidents are limited to accidents that you were more than 50 per cent liable for and resulted in expenses or criminal charges. Property damage will be considered a chargeable accident, whether it is private property such as another driver’s vehicle or public property like a telephone pole.  

Non-Chargeable Accidents

There are many examples of accidents that would not be considered chargeable offenses. If your car was parked in a legal space when another vehicle struck it, of course, you are not at fault. If you were rear-ended and have no-fault, that likewise would be a non-chargeable accident. 

If you are not liable but were convicted of a moving violation at any part of the accident scenario, you may still receive a surcharge. If you believe you have been unfairly charged, hiring a lawyer can be a wise choice, especially because some surcharges can be astronomical. 

Subrogation

If your insurer has the right to legal subrogation, you probably will not receive a higher rate if they are successful. Subrogation is when the insurer pursues payment from the at-fault party in order to cover the costs to you when you are not at fault. This offsets the insurance company’s need to pay out of pocket for your expenses. 

Who to Call When You’ve Been in an Accident

You should always call emergency services first thing after an accident. Make sure people are safe and the other driver is not trying to flee the scene. Then, calling an attorney is the next best thing. You should not hide an accident from your insurance company, this could break the terms of your insurance policy. But, you may want to review your statement before giving it to them. No insurance company wants to pay out a claim.

 Michelle Eddy is a staunch consumer advocate, fresh libertarian convert, and proud mother of three. Besides her legal career, she enjoys blogging about topics related to her expertise and life experiences, like parenting, child development, education, and law. In her writings, Michelle places emphasis on helping people to fight for their rights. She also works as a collaborative editor for Laborde Earles Law Firm. Her favorite quote is: “Sir, we are outnumbered 10 to 1″. “Then, it is a fair fight”. 

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