Getting to an accident is not a fun experience even if no one is hurt. Luckily car insurance can help reduce the financial impact of a car accident. But how will an accident affect your car insurance rates in the future? That answer depends on four questions:
These all impact how the accident will impact your car insurance rates.
Were you at fault in the accident?
If you were not at fault in an accident it will not affect your car insurance rates in most cases. Generally the at-fault driver will pay to repair or replace your drive and provide you with accident benefits if you’re hurt.
If you caused the accident your car insurance rates will increase. Accidents stay on your driving record for 6 years but can indirectly impact your rates for 10 years (when it comes to driver ratings and claims-free discounts).
Did you receive a ticket?
You may receive a ticket after an accident which will likely increase your rates. Some insurance companies will forgive the first ticket but others will not.
If you receive a minor infraction ticket you may see your rates rise 10%-25% just from your ticket depending on how many you have and what type of ticket it is. Keep in mind that insurance companies will only raise your rates for a “moving infraction” – something like speeding or an improper lane change.
Were you committing a severe infraction?
If you receive a major infraction ticket you may see your rates raise 25%-75% depending on the ticket and how many other tickets you have. You may be considered a high-risk driver for certain major infractions such as driving under the influence.
Did you have an accident forgiveness endorsement?
Some insurance companies offer an accident forgiveness endorsement. This is an add-on coverage that “forgives” your first accident. This means that your first at-fault accident will not be counted against your driving history so that your car insurance rates will not increase.
Accident forgiveness may not be offered by all insurers and is only available to experienced drivers with an exceptional record.
You may lose discounts after an accident including claims-free discounts. This can raise your rates 5-15%. This may not apply if you’re not at fault but it’s important to discuss this with your insurance broker.
How long will an accident affect my car insurance rates?
An accident will affect your car insurance rates directly for about 6 years.