Does a Single Car Accident Raise Your Insurance?

Does a Single Car Accident Raise Your Insurance?

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Does a Single Car Accident Raise Your Insurance?

Usually, if you cause a car accident, you can expect your insurance rates to increase substantially. Some insurance companies will raise your rates as much as 50% or more if an injury occurs as a result unless you have an accident forgiveness clause. However, if you're asking, "does a single car accident raise your insurance," and you were not at fault, you're likely in luck, and it won't cause a rate increase.

Still, how your car insurance deals with accidents may vary, and there are state laws that may impact how the accident is handled. Carrying liability insurance is a legal requirement in all states except New Hampshire. It's meant to cover any property damage and medical expenses another party incurs should an accident be your fault.

A claim against your liability insurance often triggers a surcharge that will be applied to your next policy renewal. This is where you'll see the rate increase. While you can switch insurance companies, the new company will be privy to your claim history and driving record and will most likely charge you accordingly. That's why determining fault is crucial in a car accident. If you've been involved in a car accident and the fault is in dispute, or you've been seriously hurt, Morgan and Morgan Law Firm may be able to help.

Yes, a Single Crash That Was Your Fault Can Cause Your Insurance to Go Up

It may not seem fair, but even one car accident that’s your fault can cause your rates to go up. How much it will increase depends on which insurer provides your coverage. State Farm has the lowest increase, while Nationwide, Progressive, Geico, and Allstate are the most unforgiving. Insurance rates increase slightly more for injuries than collisions that only result in property damage.

After an at-fault collision, shopping around may be wise, as the increase will depend on which state you reside in and the laws regulating insurance. California drivers will have the highest increases in the nation.

The Severity of the Accident, Along With State Laws, Will Dictate the Increase

It makes sense that the severity of damage will impact your rates because the insurance company will be out more money for catastrophic injuries. Likewise, a minor accident may not cause any significant raise in your rates. Some states regulate the dollar threshold that must be met before an insurance company can increase your premium payment. For example, in New York and Massachusetts, insurance companies are prohibited from raising rates for accidents where there is only property damage under a certain dollar threshold.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

Morgan & Morgan

  • What Kind of Collisions Won't Cause My Insurance Rates to Go Up?

    Insurance rate increases are usually the result of an accident for which you are to blame. Typically, you would not see a rate hike in the following scenarios:

    • You were rear-ended by another vehicle and did not receive any moving violations
    • You were the victim of a hit-and-run accident
    • You were legally parked when another car struck your vehicle
  • How Can a Lawyer Help Me Prove to My Insurance Company I Was Not at Fault for the Accident?

    As you may be coming to realize, which driver is at fault significantly affects whether your insurance premiums will go up. It also has a tremendous amount to do with your ability to recover compensation from the other party for negligence.

    Establishing liability is one of the roles of your insurance adjuster. Still, it's not always that easy for them to do. They may have an overwhelming number of claims to look into and not give your accident the attention it deserves. This is crucial because an increase in insurance rates, plus other expenses related to the accident, could haunt you for years.

    At Morgan and Morgan, we also understand that other drivers involved in an accident may be less than truthful about what occurred. Suppose the other driver has a history of causing accidents. In that case, the stakes for them are even higher because they may lose their ability to drive at all, which gives them even more cause to make it seem like it was your fault.

    We don't believe our clients should take the blame because it might make life inconvenient for another party. That's why we use every weapon in our arsenal to combat fault and determine the other party's liability. We will work to uncover the facts that others could not, which may include investigations and expert analyses such as:

    Data from the event data recorder - Most newer vehicles come with an event data recorder (EDR) as a standard feature. You may be more familiar with the term "black box" from aviation accidents. This technology is similar. It can record information like inputs made by the driver, whether the crash initiated the automatic collision notification system, and the state of the vehicle right before a crash. The data an EDR holds can provide clues as to whether the other driver was distracted, how fast the vehicle was traveling, and if brakes were applied.

    Conclusions from reconstruction specialists - In the event of a serious accident, an accident reconstruction expert can provide essential information to determine fault. These specialists use scientific strategies based on engineering and physics to analyze an accident. Some of the evidence they use to come to a conclusion can include the following:

    • The resting positions of the vehicles after the accident
    • Road hazards and conditions at the time of the collision
    • The speed of both vehicles on impact
    • Vehicle damage

    Rust patterns or paint transfer - Someone claiming to have property damage from an accident you didn't cause could be exposed if we can find rust forming in the area they claim was just damaged. In this scenario, we would need to examine the vehicle quickly, as rust can start to form on exposed metal in as few as four days. However, this is a rarity. We can look at the rust formation or see signs of paint transfer to help determine whether the individual is just looking for an easy payout on an accident you were never involved in.

    Eyewitness statements - While your insurance adjuster and police who respond to the scene of the accident are supposed to take eyewitness statements into account, they may not be as thorough as your Morgan and Morgan law team would be. You would need an eyewitness to testify on your behalf. Our persuasion skills may help an otherwise reluctant witness understand how much the fault decision could impact your life.

    Video surveillance, dash cam footage, and video recordings from cell phones - Increasingly, people from all walks of life have dash cams, and businesses use security cameras that may have recorded your collision. While police officers will likely look for video evidence, they may not make an in-depth inquiry into nearby businesses or residences. Sometimes an entirely new take on an accident can be revealed through video taken from a different angle or vantage point.

    Video is ideal. However, pictures can often show evidence of great importance, like tire skids indicating when brakes were applied or empty alcohol bottles lying around the scene, indicating the other driver tried to eliminate incriminating evidence.

    While an insurance company and law enforcement will perform their own investigations to determine fault, when you have your financial future on the line and have to ask questions like, "does a single car accident raise your insurance," it makes sense to have someone on your side as a personal advocate. That's what our car accident attorneys at Morgan and Morgan do for their clients.

    Getting exonerated of fault in a car accident is never an easy undertaking. It may require the expert opinion of a professional accident reconstructionist and a smart attorney's legal know-how. The pressure is even higher if you are seriously injured. In some states, your insurance may not cover your hospital bills if you're judged to be 50% or more to blame for the accident. There's little room for error when you have so much to risk.

    For these reasons, you need the help of Morgan and Morgan to launch an in-depth investigation into the cause of the accident and to build a strong case against the other party, so you can get the compensation you'll need to recover fully.

  • How to Avoid an Insurance Increase After an Accident?

    If you know you are at fault after a car accident, there are still steps you can take to tackle the rise in insurance costs that will be inevitable. Here are some suggestions:

    Don't avoid notifying your insurance company - Even if the accident is a minor fender bender, it's essential to notify your insurance. The other driver can turn around and pursue damages even if you have an agreement for private repair costs. By not informing your insurance, they may have cause to deny payment for any expenses.

    Inquire about accident forgiveness - Some insurance providers offer accident forgiveness for your first accident, and others provide accident forgiveness after being a customer for a few years.

    Search for insurance with a lower premium - This may seem obvious. Still, some insurance companies are a little more forgiving of drivers with at-fault accidents in their background. A little research can go a long way.

    Improve your credit score - This is not so obvious, but your credit score may impact your premiums. The thought process behind this is that insurance companies figure that people with higher credit scores will be less likely to put in a claim. However, this practice is banned in California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts.

    See if you qualify for a discount - A few insurance providers offer discounts for students, military members, seniors, and new drivers. You may also get a discount for insuring multiple cars or bundling car and homeowners insurance.

    Review your need for comprehensive coverage - If your car is older with high miles, it may make sense to drop comprehensive coverage that pays for damage from things like theft or vandalism. However, should some damage that is out of your control happen, you would be on your own to repair or replace it.

    Switch to a usage-based plan - If you drive less than 10,000 miles per year, a usage-based plan may give you the relief you need. These plans require you to install a device that will track your miles, how well you drive, and when you drive to determine your rates.

  • Contact Morgan and Morgan for a Free Case Evaluation

    Asking, "does a single car accident raise your insurance," is a question that most people will ask after their first car accident. While you don't need to work with an attorney after a collision, they can provide valuable insight into how to proceed and will help you secure compensation more quickly.

    The car accident lawyers at Morgan and Morgan offer services nationwide and have extensive experience dealing with all kinds of car insurance providers and a wide variety of car accident types. If your injuries prevent you from taking charge of documentation, we can help there too. Most importantly, we can help you win compensation through a claim or lawsuit if we can uncover evidence that points to the other driver's fault. Get in touch with us today for a free case evaluation.

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