After a car accident, you’re likely worried about several things, including how the crash might affect your insurance rates. Car insurance is already expensive, and facing an increased premium after being involved in an accident just seems unfair.
But let’s face it: “fair” isn’t typically the first word people use to describe insurance companies.
Truthfully, your car insurance rates might go up after a car accident or remain the same. It all depends on your case. You deserve clarity during this stressful time, so we’ve made this guide on what to expect with your car insurance after a crash. Continue reading below to learn more.
Contrary to popular belief, car insurance rates do not always skyrocket after an accident. There are a couple of instances where your rates could be unaffected following a crash, such as:
If you are involved in a minor accident or fender bender, your insurance prices will not necessarily increase. This is particularly true if you have been a safe driver in the past. Even if you were at fault for the accident, a couple of dents and scratches to the other driver’s car will typically lead to a smaller rate increase than if there had been significant damage.
Your car insurance premiums could remain the same if the accident was not your fault.
In some cases, fault can be pretty clear-cut after a crash – maybe the other driver was under the influence or speeding through a red light. Other times, however, the responsible party is harder to figure out. And in any case, insurance companies can complicate the situation immensely. The other driver’s insurance company might deny your claim, challenge fault, or offer an unfair, lowball settlement.
Having an attorney on your side is helpful if you’ve been injured in a car accident with a negligent driver. A lawyer can collect critical evidence to prove you weren’t at fault (which can preserve your insurance rates), or were less than 50% at fault under Illinois’ comparative negligence laws. They can also negotiate with adjusters to help you recover the full compensation you need.
Accident forgiveness is a feature offered by some auto insurance companies, where your first time being at fault in an accident doesn’t affect your rates. Basically, it acts as a “get-out-of-jail-free card,” only “jail” in this example is paying higher insurance premiums. So, if your policy has accident forgiveness and this was your first at-fault collision, your rates will stay the same if you have a healthy driving history.
Unfortunately, there are instances where your insurance rates could become higher after an accident, such as:
While many minor accidents don’t lead to a huge spike in insurance rates, the case is different for accidents involving significant injuries or damages. If you’re at fault for a serious car crash, your insurance rates will likely increase more than if you caused a minor fender bender.
Some insurance policies come with a “safe driver discount.” This is a reduction in insurance premiums to reward drivers who go a certain period without any traffic violations or accidents on their record. If you were granted a safe-driving discount before your car accident, you will no longer be eligible after the accident if you are at fault. Your insurance rates will be higher as a result of the discount being revoked.
Every insurance company has its own formula for calculating premium increases after an accident. In most cases, you can expect a 20-50% increase, but it’s best to contact your provider to determine the exact price hike you’ll suffer. The average insurance rate increase in Chicago is 31%, but it varies by case.
Your insurance company will look at a few factors when deciding how much to increase your rates after a crash, including:
Insurance adjusters also use these factors to determine the length of time you’ll pay increased premiums. Generally, the greater the damages in an accident, the higher your potential rate increase – and the longer it will last.
Fortunately, your rates may decrease each year you drive without being in another car accident. This incentivizes them to drive defensively and take extra precautions while on the road. It is also important to remember that you have the right to switch insurers if you’re disappointed with your current company. Still, you likely face higher rates after an accident, even with a new policy under a different insurer.
It might sound counter-intuitive to hire an attorney to help you recover financially from an accident. After all, aren’t lawyers just out to get your money? Wouldn’t you be better off handling the aftermath of a car crash yourself?
However, there are “good lawyers” out there – and it’s essential to consult one if you’ve been injured in a car crash due to someone else’s negligence. An experienced car accident attorney can ensure that the liable party’s mistake does not negatively impact your car insurance rates. With their legal insight, you can file a robust and effective claim to get the full compensation you need to cover your losses, such as:
We realize this might not mean a lot coming from a law firm. But don’t just take it from us: see what our former clients have said. And, with our “no win, no fee” policy, we won’t charge you anything unless we help you win. Because we’re not out to get your money – we’re out to get you justice.
For more information on how an accident will impact your car insurance rates or assistance with filing your car accident claim, reach out to a dedicated Chicago personal injury attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan.