Auto Insurance And Car Accidents
Drivers involved in car crashes often worry about what will happen to their insurance rates. There are millions of car accidents every year, most of which involve insured drivers, and each case is different. To understand what might happen to your policy if you are involved in the crash, you have to look at several different factors.
Whenever you are involved in a car accident that results in damage to a vehicle or an injury to a person, insurance companies are usually involved. When you are involved in an accident, one of the first things you typically have to do after making sure everyone is safe and collecting all the relevant information is to call your insurance company. After calling the company you inform the agent or representative about what happened and that representative will assign your case a claim number. The company will then assign a claims agent or investigator to the case to begin an investigation. More here
After the insurance company investigates the claim, reviews the coverage details, and determines who is at fault, it will then, typically, make a payment on the claim. This money is designed to bring you, or the other driver, back to the condition you were in before the crash. For example, if you are in a crash where the other driver was at fault and caused your car $1,500 in damage, the other driver’s insurance company will pay you $1,500 to repair your vehicle.
Once the claim has been settled, drivers will then have to deal with the aftermath. Even though no two accidents are identical, here is what can happen.
Your rates go up. You expected this one. If you are involved in a car crash, especially one where you were at least partially at fault, it’s very likely that your insurance rates will increase. If you were at least partially at fault and there was significant or major damage that resulted from the crash, you will almost definitely see an increase in your insurance rates.
Your rates stay up. A car accident can lead to increased rates for a lot longer than you might think. Depending on the state you live in, your insurance company policy, and the amount of damage caused by the accident, you could see a significant rate increase last for three years or more.
Your rates don’t move. Seeing your rates jump after a car accident is not something that is written in stone. Some drivers, especially those with safe driving history, a policy that allows for accident forgiveness, or those who are in accidents where the other driver is deemed to have been 100% at fault, may not see any rate increase at all.
Your rates go down. Okay, this doesn’t happen. At least, it doesn’t happen immediately. But, if you are involved in a car accident and your insurance company raises your rates because of it, you will probably see a decrease sometime in the future. As long as you drive safely and are not involved in any other accidents or, at the very least, are not involved in accidents where you are at fault, you will likely see a decrease in your insurance rates for each year you drive without an accident.
If there is one takeaway from all of this, it’s that being a safer driver and avoiding accidents whenever possible is always in your best interests. You can’t control what other drivers do when they’re behind the wheel, and you can’t know how your car insurance company will treat you after you’ve been in an accident, but you can control what you do when you drive. Taking the time to be a careful driver is something all of us can do, and something all of us will benefit from doing.
If you need legal advice, contact an experienced Car Accident Attorney to set up a consultation as soon as possible.