Your car insurance may go up after an accident. But whether it actually goes up depends on several factors, including:
- How many previous accidents you have been involved in
- How many previous insurance claims you have filed
- How many traffic violations you were given in previous accidents
Ultimately, whether your insurance increases depends on how your auto insurance company calculates its rates.
If You Did Not Cause the Accident
Your insurance may not go up if someone else hit your car and you filed a claim with the other driver’s auto insurance company. Since Tennessee is a “fault state,” the party that caused a car accident is required to pay for damages, so if you did not cause the accident, you may be able to get reimbursed for your financial losses.
If you were involved in multiple accidents within the past three to five years — whether or not you caused the accidents — your car insurance may go up because your insurer may see you as an accident risk.
If Your Car Was the Only One Involved in an Accident
Auto insurers do not like paying out claims — to you or any other driver. You place yourself at risk for a rate hike if your insurer continues to pay out your claims.
If You Only Caused One Accident
It depends on what factors your auto insurer considers when determining rate increases. There is a chance that your rates may not go up if:
- Your accident did not involve serious injuries or death.
- You have a safe driving record.
- You have not previously filed claims.
Some insurers have an accident forgiveness insurance for policyholders with safe driving records. Under the program, drivers who caused their first accident are not penalized with a rate hike. But the insurance rate could rise if drivers cause a second accident within a certain period of time.
The program varies depending on the insurer and is usually reserved for policyholders who have been accident-free and with the company for at least five years. Some insurers include this in an insurance package, while others offer this as a separate purchase.
Traffic Violations After a Car Accident and Your Car Insurance Rates
Your traffic violations play a role when insurers decide on rate increases. Even if you did not cause an accident, insurers review the traffic violations you were given.
Texting while driving, speeding, and impaired driving are among the traffic violations that can have an impact on your insurance rates.
Reporting an Accident
You are placing yourself at risk for several negative consequences if you do not report an accident. For instance:
- The other driver involved in the accident may file a property damage or bodily injury claim with your insurance company.
- Your insurance company may contact you about the pending claims and asks you why you did not report the accident.
- The other driver may claim you were at fault for the accident when you know that you did not cause the wreck.
If you do not report an accident, you do not have a police report or other evidence to prove that you were not at fault for the wreck. If your insurer decides not to pay a claim, you may be on the hook for paying for the other driver’s damages.
Rather than focus on your insurance rate increase, protect yourself by reporting your accident.
When to File an Insurance Claim
If damage to your car costs less to repair than your insurance deductible, you do not have to file a claim. You could pay for repairs yourself. However, if you suffered injuries and substantial car damage in an accident that was not your fault, you should file a claim.
If the at-fault driver’s insurer denies your claim or offers you a low settlement amount, you may want to contact a car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you collect evidence that shows how the other driver’s negligence caused your accident. A lawyer can also help you pursue compensation for your damages.
Contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC for a Free Consultation
We understand the concern drivers have about if their car insurance will go up after a car accident. However, if you suffered serious injuries and property damage in a car wreck that was not your fault, you may consider filing a claim.
To learn more about how to pursue compensation for your financial losses, speak with the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC.
Call us at 865-546-1111.