Most people realize their insurance premiums might increase after an at-fault accident, and often, these rate increases are quite steep. The amount of the increase will depend on the insurance laws in your state. Many people do not realize, however, that an accident that isn’t their fault can also increase insurance premiums, though not as much as an at-fault accident.
Read on for more information about insurance rates and why they increase after an accident, even when you were not to blame. If someone else caused a crash and you suffered injuries, consult with a car accident lawyer about your legal rights as soon as possible.
Factors That Cause Insurance Rates to Go up When You’re Not At-Fault
Insurance premiums may increase up to 73 percent after a single at-fault accident. A recent insurance analysis revealed that insurance premiums can increase by more than $100 a year after not-at-fault accidents. These increases occur when your policy renews.
Many states, including Nevada, are at-fault tort states for car accident claims. When someone else is to blame for an accident, you can file a claim with their insurance to cover your losses. Your insurance company might not have any outlay regarding the accident. So why can your insurance company raise your rates if they paid nothing?
Some factors that can increase insurance costs in this situation include:
- The at-fault party’s insurance coverage – If the individual who caused your accident does not have insurance or has inadequate insurance to cover your claim, your insurance company might cover some expenses through your uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist policy.
- Partial fault in the accident – Determining liability after a car accident can be challenging. Many accidents result from the careless actions of multiple parties. Whatever percentage of your fault is the percentage your insurer will cover. If you had any degree of fault, you can expect your insurance premiums to increase, even if the other driver was more responsible than you.
- You were in past not-at-fault accidents – All accidents you report to the police go on your driving record, whether you were at fault or not. Even if all accidents happened because of someone else’s careless or reckless actions, having those accidents on your record can cause your insurance company to deem you as high-risk, which results in higher premiums.
- Failing to report the accident to your insurance carrier – Even if you do not file a claim with your insurance company, you should report the accident. Most insurance companies require this in the policy contract you signed when you purchased the policy. If the accident involves a police report, the chances are that your insurance company will learn about it, and its response can be worse than increased rates. It can drop your policy altogether for breach of contract.
Not all insurance companies have a surcharge in the policy renewal for not-at-fault accidents. If your insurance carrier does, you might want to look for a different company. If you are soliciting quotes from different companies, ask them if they add a surcharge for not-at-fault accidents.
Certain not-at-fault accidents rarely result in rate increases, including those involving damage to a legally parked car, collisions with animals, or if a court issued a judgment against the person responsible.
Proving You Weren’t At-Fault
Because higher premiums are costlier with at-fault accidents, and this surcharge can last for three to five years, you want to prove to your insurance company that you were not at fault.
Evidence of another’s fault might include:
- An official police report stating that another driver was at fault.
- A statement from the other driver’s insurance company stating that its insured was liable.
- A legal document stating received compensation for your damages.
- The at-fault driver’s written and sworn statement attesting to their fault.
Retain a copy of any or all of these documents for your records. If the at-fault party’s insurance company fails to pay for the damages you incurred in the accident, particularly if you suffered injuries, any documentation that proves liability will help if you file a car accident lawsuit.
If you have difficulty proving someone else’s fault to your insurer, seek help from a car accident lawyer. The right lawyer can help prove fault to your insurer and the other insurance companies that should cover your claim. An accident attorney will know what evidence will prove liability and can put together your claim package for you.
Ways to Avoid Paying More for Insurance After a Not-At-Fault Accident
If you are facing increased premiums after your not-at-fault accident, there are some things you can do to reduce your rates.
These tips include:
- Find an insurance carrier who does not increase your rates after a not-at-fault accident.
- Ask your insurance carrier about accident forgiveness. Many insurance companies will forgive one at-fault accident per policy after a certain time without any moving violations or crashes. Even though you likely do not want to use this on the not-at-fault accident, remember that all your accidents for three to five years will be on your driving record. Accident forgiveness can, in some cases, prevent the insurance company from classifying you as a high-risk driver.
- Consider increasing your deductible. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium. The lower the deductible, the higher the premium. If you have a surcharge that increases your premium, the higher deductible can reduce it again.
- Do not file insurance claims for small things. The main factor an insurance company will consider when setting a driver’s premium is the financial risk they will place on the company. The more claims you file, the more payouts the insurance provider must pay, and the higher the risk.
Let a car accident attorney help with all aspects of your insurance claim following an accident that someone else caused. A lawyer can evaluate your rights, gather evidence of liability, foresee possible issues with your insurance policy, and more.