How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up After an Accident?

August 1, 2023 | David Abels
How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up After an Accident?

How much your car insurance increases after an accident depends on several factors. If you can prove that you did not cause the accident, your car insurance premiums should not increase. Therefore, your primary goal after an accident should be to prove that the other motorist (or another liable party) was at fault for the collision.

If you accept fault for the car accident, you can expect a substantial increase in auto insurance premiums. Your rate may increase by several hundred dollars or more per year depending on various details that auto insurers consider when calculating premium payments.

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How Auto Insurers Determine Premium Increases After a Car Accident

Your auto insurance premiums will almost always increase when you accept responsibility for a car accident. Some companies might have accident forgiveness programs, but not everyone qualifies, and this usually only applies to the first accident claimed. Therefore, if you cannot prove that another party caused your accident—and you may hire a car accident lawyer in Chicago to prove this case—you can expect to pay more to insure your vehicle.

Important questions then include: How much more can I expect to pay, and what will my auto insurer consider when calculating the increase in my premiums?

Some factors auto insurers will consider when calculating premium increases after a car accident include the following.

Car Accident insurance

How and Why the Accident Happened

Insurance companies rely on actuaries who use complex models to calculate customer-specific insurance rates. Therefore, the seemingly smallest of details about a car accident can factor into an adjusted auto insurance premium.

You may expect to be dinged especially heavily on auto insurance premiums if your accident involved:

  • Drunk driving
  • Drugged driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Any other traffic infraction

Insurers consider such actions egregious violations of safety. Premium adjusters may conclude that you lack basic risk assessment instincts if you engaged in such dangerous behaviors. You must prove you were either not at fault for your accident or that your accident resulted from hazards beyond your control—rather than from your own negligence.

How Much Damage You Caused 

Insurers also factor in the amount of damage their policyholder causes during a car accident. When you cost the insurer significant money, it views you as a financial liability.

Therefore, your adjusted premium payment will likely reflect:

  • The types of injuries anyone injured in the accident suffered
  • The severity of injuries individuals injured in the accident suffered
  • The total financial cost of accident victims’ medical bills
  • The total cost of property damage resulting from the accident

Minimal damage may mean your premium payments may increase very little or not at all. Generally, though, you’ll see some degree of rate hikes if you cause a car accident.

Your Driving Record Before the Car Accident

Auto insurers don’t just consider your most recent accident when calculating premiums. Generally, an auto insurer will look back several years to determine how safe of a driver you are (or aren’t).

If you have other accidents on your record in the recent past, speeding tickets, or other traffic violations, you can expect a compounding effect. With each additional violation or accident, the insurance company may increase your rate significantly.

A Clean Driving Record Saves You a Lot of Money on Auto Insurance Premiums

There is significant, tangible financial value in avoiding fault in an auto accident. One source found that, on average, auto insurance premiums increase by $665 per year for someone found to cause a car accident. That translates into more than $6,000 in additional premium payments over a decade (though insurers may not necessarily hold your accident against you for that long).

The same source notes that, on average, someone with a car accident on their record pays $2,212 in auto insurance per year. Meanwhile, an average motorist with no accidents on their record pays $1,547 in auto insurance premiums per year. When you cause an accident, insurance companies take it as a signal that you’re more likely to cause more accidents in the future, so they charge you more for insurance.

When you cause an accident (or simply accept fault for an accident you did not cause), it indicates that:

  • You are not a safe driver
  • You are statistically more likely to cause an accident than a motorist with a clean driving record
  • You should pay more for auto insurance because you present a greater financial risk to the auto insurance provider

Many aspects of auto insurance can seem unfair. However, it is completely reasonable for auto insurers to charge drivers with a history of accidents higher rates than motorists with no accident history—or, at least, a less problematic accident history.
The surest way to avoid substantial increases in auto insurance premiums is to prove you did not cause the car accident.

Call a Car Accident Lawyer to Avoid Fault for the Accident

    The data and evidence make it clear: The only way to avoid a notable increase in auto insurance premiums is to prove that you did not cause the car accident. If you can prove that the accident occurred beyond your control, an insurance company will generally grant financial forgiveness despite possibly having to cover your property damage and medical expenses.

    While Your Auto Insurance Premiums May Increase After a Non-at-Fault Accident, It Will Increase Less Than if You Cause an Accident

    Your insurance premiums can increase even if you are not responsible for causing the car accident. However, your premiums will increase far less than if you caused the accident.

    Once again, your priority should be to avoid accepting fault for the car accident. Even if you are subject to unavoidable premium increases, avoiding fault can minimize financial harm.

How Can I Prove I Was Not at Fault for My Car Accident?

First, understand that an attorney should defend you from untrue allegations that you caused an accident. Attorneys have extensive experience dealing with insurers, and a lawyer can prove you did not cause the collision.

A lawyer may prove fault for your car accident in several ways, including:

Documenting the Accident Scene

The scene of an accident can help establish fault for the collision, as an attorney may photograph damage to vehicles. Vehicle damage, skid marks, and other clues at the scene may indicate how the vehicles collided, and the details of the collision may indicate fault.

The most common example of an accident scene serving as evidence is a rear-end accident. If a lawyer arrives at a scene where one vehicle clearly hit the rear end of another, it is generally clear what happened—one motorist struck the rear of someone else's car. Generally, the rear-ending motorist is at fault for the accident.

Interviewing Witnesses to the Car Accident

An attorney will speak with anyone who saw:

  • The collision
  • The at-fault driver’s actions before the accident (such as tailgating or driving erratically)
  • Other events relevant to the accident (such as a motorist drinking heavily at a party just prior to the accident)

In most cases, eyewitnesses have no reason to lie. Therefore, their testimony can convince a jury.

Obtaining Video Footage of the Collision

Cameras are more abundant than ever, so there is a plausible chance that your lawyer will unearth video footage of your accident. Cameras mounted on traffic poles, security cameras, and dash cameras are sources attorneys check when their client is in a collision.

Other relevant evidence a lawyer may seek includes:

  • Cell phone records, which may indicate that the at-fault motorist was texting or speaking on the phone at the time of the accident
  • Social media posts, which may document (through video, photographs, or written posts) that the driver was distracted or driving dangerously
  • An expert’s reconstruction of the accident, which may serve as a suitable replacement or supplement to video footage

Attorneys approach their car accident investigations with open minds. While they may know the general types of evidence they should seek, they’ll make the most of the evidence available to them.

Other Than a Motorist, Who Else Can Be at Fault for a Car Accident?

As your personal injury lawyer investigates the car accident, they may find that another motorist did not cause your accident. Or, your lawyer may determine that the motorist bears only partial blame for the collision.

Other liable parties in a car accident case may include:

  • Motor vehicle manufacturers: Manufacturers of motor vehicles and vehicle components are at fault when defective products cause accidents. Brakes, tires, and steering components are among the components that may be especially likely to cause an accident when they contain defects.
  • Municipalities responsible for road safety: Motorists are only as safe as the roads they drive on. Roads with defective traffic signals, insufficient or fallen signage, uneven surfaces, potholes, and other hazards are likely to produce collisions. The municipality responsible for dangerous road conditions may also need to pay for car accidents.
  • Pedestrians, bicyclists, and scooter riders: When pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter riders, and other non-motorists ignore the traffic laws, they can cause motor vehicle collisions. Jaywalking, darting into traffic, and veering into vehicle lanes can cause motorists to swerve, striking other vehicles or fixed objects.

Lawyers must identify exactly how a car accident happened, then document the accident's cause to the greatest possible degree. Only then can the attorney prove that their client did not cause the accident.

Remember, the most important concern is that you are not liable for the accident. Your lawyer will seek all available evidence that one or more other parties are responsible for the collision. Your attorney will then seek fair compensation from these parties while ensuring your insurance premiums do not increase unfairly.

Car Accident

Not Only Should Your Insurance Premiums Remain Stable, but You May Also Deserve Compensation for Your Damages

An accident victim’s primary concern may be losing money because of the collision. Accidents can cost thousands, from rising insurance premiums to the cost of repairing vehicles and the loss of income. However, if you did not cause your accident, you may receive compensation.

A personal injury lawyer will seek fair monetary compensation for all of your accident-related damages, which may include:

Medical Bills

Any accident that causes injuries can quickly grow expensive.

You may face medical bills for all accident-related care, which may include:

  • Ambulance or Medevac transport (which may be necessary for the most serious car accidents)
  • Treatment in the emergency department
  • Medical imaging (CT scans, X-rays, MRIs, or other imaging specific to your injuries)
  • Surgery
  • Hospitalization
  • Medications 
  • Rehabilitation

Accident victims should not have to worry about the cost of medical care, but the reality is that medical bills can put great pressure on an accident survivor. An attorney will work urgently to provide financial relief through a settlement or verdict.

Lost Income

Car accident victims with injuries often miss work. Consequently, they lose essential income, cannot earn performance bonuses, progress toward promotions, and suffer other professional harm. Even if the accident survivor can return to work, they may earn less than before the accident.

Pain and Suffering

Car accident victims can pursue compensation for the various traumas an accident can cause, including:

Many attorneys hire mental health professionals to diagnose their clients’ trauma, develop a treatment plan, and help calculate the monetary cost of pain and suffering.

Property Costs 

Property expenses from a car accident may include:

  • Repairs for your car
  • Replacement for a totaled vehicle
  • Damage to any personal items in the vehicle, such as a laptop or sports equipment

These damages can be substantial, and you deserve to receive enough to cover your losses. An attorney will work hard to see that you receive every dollar you are entitled to.

Gary Annes Attorney for Car Accident in Chicago
Gary Annes Car Accident Lawyer in Chicago

Don’t Wait to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

An attorney can start your case today, but you must call first. You face a strict filing deadline for your lawsuit or claim, so don’t wait for a lawyer qualified to begin your case for compensation.

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